Barely over one year to the next general elections and almost three years since taking office, the Supreme Court, yesterday, in Abuja, dismissed an application filed by Friday Nwosu, praying the court to disqualify Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as democratically elected governor of Abia State.
Nwosu, a governorship aspirant in the 2014 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primaries, had challenged the nomination and emergence of Ikpeazu as the state governor on the grounds that he submitted “false” tax papers to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He had urged the court to nullify Ikpeazu’s election and declare him (Nwosu) the governor of the state.Justice Amina Adamu-Augie, in the lead judgment, described the appeal as “frivolous and lacking in merit.”
The Justice awarded a fine of N4 million against the appellant (Nwosu), to be paid N1 million each to four respondents to the appeal- Samson Ogah, PDP, Ikpeazu and the INEC.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Justice Sidi Bage read the lead judgment on behalf of Justice Augie.Nwosu had, in his appeal, challenged the judgment of the Court of Appeal, sitting in Owerri, which declined jurisdiction in the case.
The appellate court panel of five Justices, presided over by Justice Jimi Bada, had ruled that it lacked the jurisdiction to hear and determine the appeal. Specifically, the court held that Nwosu’s appeal was similar to the suit also filed against Ikpeazu by Uche Ogah, which the apex court had decided on May 12, last year.
Nwosu, who contested the December 8, 2014 PDP governorship primaries, had accused Ikpeazu of submitting false information and fake tax documents to INEC and instituted the suit at the Federal High Court, Owerri, presided over by Justice A.L. Lewis.
Justice Lewis had on July 8, 2016, dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.Dissatisfied with the verdict, Nwosu proceeded to the Court of Appeal and finally, the Supreme Court.