The judicial abracadabra beclouding the Abia State governorship seat seem to  have had no head as at press time.

The Nigeria Police Force on Friday said it was monitoring events in Abia State, where a political leadership crisis in unfolding, threatening the peace of the state.

The assurance came amid concerns of a potential breakdown of law and order that may arise as a result of INEC’s decision to issue the certificate of return to oil and gas executive, Sampson Ogah, in compliance with a Federal High Court ruling on Monday.

Mr. Ogah had challenged the emergence of the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, as the winner of the Peoples Democratic Party’s ticket in the gubernatorial primaries held in December 2014.

Mr. Ogah said Mr. Ikpeazu had defaulted on his taxes, adding that he submitted fraudulent tax documents to qualify as a candidate in the primaries.

In a verdict delivered by Abang Okon, the FHC in Abuja found Mr. Ikpeazu guilty of the charges and ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to Mr. Ogah to pave way for his swearing-in.

Mr. Ikpeazu appealed the judgment and notified INEC of the development.

But the electoral umpire went ahead to execute the order of the court, saying it never received any notice of appeal from Mr. Ikpeazu.

Soon as he was in receipt of his certificate of return, Mr. Ogah embarked on a journey to Umuahia, the state capital, to prepare grounds for his swearing-in on Friday.

But while on his way, Mr. Ogah received notifications that Mr. Ikpeazu had secured an injunction from an Abia State high court stopping the Chief Judge of the State, the President of the Customary Court of Appeal and any other judicial officer from swearing in Mr. Ogah as governor.

Mr. Ikpeazu also declared a public holiday for Friday and Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday had already been declared public holidays by the federal government.

Mr. Ogah’s efforts to get sworn-in as governor on Friday morning was thwarted by the absence of the state’s Chief Judge, Theresa Uzoukwu.

Also on Friday morning, INEC finally acknowleged it is in possession of a notice of appeal from Mr. Ikpeazu, but said it did not include a notice of stay-of-execution order from the court.

The uncertainties prompted the police to intensify security activities across the state, its spokesperson said.
Don Awunah, the newly-appointed Force Public Relations Officer, said the police were on the ground to ensure that a peaceful atmosphere is maintained.


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