The supreme court has upheld the election of Okezie Ikpeazu as Abia state governor.
It would be recalled that Justice Okon Abang, of the federal high court, Abuja, on June 27, ordered Ikpeazu’s removal on the allegation that he submitted false tax documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
This followed a suit filed by Uche Ogah who placed second in the PDP governorship primary election Ikpeazu won.
Abang had directed INEC to issue Ogah with a certificate of return, but Ikpeazu filed an appeal against the judgment.
On August 8, the appeal court set aside the judgment of the lower court, and held that the judge ignored examining the tax documents which were tendered to his court as exhibits.
At the apex court on Friday, a five-man panel of judges led by Walter Onnoghen, chief of justice of Nigeria (CJN), faulted the lower court’s decision on the tax documents.
Onnoghen said Ikpeazu could not be held responsible for the discrepancies in his tax documents because there were given to him by the state.
“They said the information is false, no one is disputing the fact that it is false. I’m a government employee and it is also common knowledge that tax is deducted at source,” Onnoghen said.
“They give you a tax clearance certificate; you are not the person who produced the tax certificate. If they say bring you tax clearance, I have my file and my pay slip, if you ask I will say this is my pay slip.
“If they don’t send it on time I will ask for my tax clearance because I may need it. When they send it to me and there is anything wrong with it, why should I be held responsible? The long and short of it was that this case was a no case.”
The court then dismissed Ogah’ suit challenging the judgment of the appeal court which reversed the order of the high court sacking Ikpeazu.