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Abia: The Supreme Court judgement that rendered Uche Ogah's case an academic Distraction


Supreme Court already ruled on a similar issue to Uche Ogah's

By John Okiyi Kalu

I have observed the spike in Robin Hood styled social media noise against Governor Ikpeazu in the past 2 weeks and obviously know why.

The Supreme Court is expected to handle the Ogah versus Ikpeazu tax matter on the 11th of January 2017 and it is natural for those seeking to steal the mandate given to Dr Okezie Ikpeazu by Ndi Abia to make all the noise necessary to justify stealing of a mandate that was never given to them by the electorate.

Especially when their social media hirelings have received Xmas data money. That money has to be justified by being seen to be writing something, even if nonsensical or powered by crass ignorance.

Can stealing really be justified?

Truth is that even if you convince gullible folks that Governor Ikpeazu has not paved the streets of Abia in gold, in just 20 months, it still will not legally justify stealing his mandate. Only the law, as written and previously interpreted by the Supreme Court, will determine what will happen to his mandate.

Incidentally, I understand how the law ruled in other related matters with similar themes (or substance) and hence I call on all Abians to remain calm and continue to enjoy their new year celebrations while  preparing to make greater wealth and prosper under the watch of God fearing Dr Okezie Ikpeazu.

On the 9th of December 2016, the Supreme Court ruled on a matter involving the PDP primaries in Cross River State with allegations of false information at the heart of the suit instituted by Joe Agi, SAN, against Governor Ayoade.

That case was listed as SC. 256/2016 and after reading through it with my elementary knowledge of law laced with abundance of common sense, I can easily state, without fear of contradiction, that the Uche Ogah's case is for all intents and purposes academic and DOA.

The court, in that matter, after reviewing the issues including the merits and demerits of the allegations simply ruled that the constitution of Nigeria is superior to S31 (5) of the electoral act that Agi and, now Uche Ogah, relied on to bring their suits.

In simple terms, the Court spelt out the qualifications for the office of the Governor and emphasized that even if "false information" were to be assumed proven it is not enough to remove the dully elected Governor of a state who was qualified on the basis of the 1999 constitutions as amended. According to the Supreme Court, "the purport of the S31(5) is not designed disqualify a candidate who is otherwise qualified to contest the relevant election under the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria".

The Supreme Court further held that "even in a situation where a Governorship candidate makes "inconsistent statements in his form CF 001 and such a candidate is nevertheless qualified to contest the election under the provisions of S 177 (b) of the Constitution, he will not, withstanding the inconsistencies in his form, be disqualified to contest the election".

The supremacy of constitutional provisions to the electoral act guided the decision. It also re-emphasized the fact that "when allegations of crime is directly in issue in any civil of criminal proceedings it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt and the onus of proof is on the person who asserts"

Justice Abang and his friend raped the law and the Supreme Court hate rapists and their associates.

Sorry to apostles of Robin Hood.

If you read S177 of the constitution you will see the qualifications to run for office of Governor and I can boldly tell you that tax certificate is not even one of them. Even though I know for a fact that Governor Ikpeazu indeed paid his taxes and submitted the documents issued to him by those who should issue the tax certificates and clearance: Abia State Board of Internal Revenue.

Any elementary student of law must know and understand the "presumption of regularity" in law when a document is issued by those who should issue it. It is not my job to teach law.

The key point in the cited Supreme Court case is that whatever infractions that happened with respect to S31 (5) of the electoral act must be tangential to and negate the express provisions of S177 of the 1999 constitution.

In another recent but similar matter, the Supreme Court also dismissed the pre-election matter involving Zamfara State Governor. Just like in the matter involving Governor Ayo Fayose the supreme court also ruled on the basis of qualifications required by law as stated in the constitution.

I wish to call on all Abians and lovers of equity and good governance to go about their duties without any iota of fear or worry. Allow those paid to justify mandate stealing earn their pay while the Governor continues to focus on massive road infrastructure rehabilitation at Aba and other Abia towns.

Rather than approach me inbox to ask about SC matters please ask me about the next road that will experience Governor Okezie Ikpeazu's caterpillar revolution in Abia State.

Like my Akwa Ibom brothers will say: "court matters ibaha".

See you Robin Hoods in 2019. That is if you will dare run against the record Governor Ikpeazu would have set by then......otherwise "iwere nkea ego gi ala" na 2019.