The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has said that Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State should retain his seat pending the time the court will hear his appeal challenging the judgment of a Federal High Court which removed him from office.
Justice Morenikeji Ogunwumiju, who presided over a five-member panel of judges, said the parties in the matter must “remain as they were” before the case got to the court.
However, she said the ruling did not mean a stay-of-execution order.
A Federal High Court had on June 27 nullified Ikpeazu’s election after holding that he submitted false information regarding his tax clearance certificate.
Justice Okon Abang also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Samson Ogah a certificate of return.
At the hearing of the appeal, yesterday, Dr Alex Izinyon, SAN, who represented Ogah, argued that Ikpeazu was not legally the de-facto occupant of the Abia State Government House, saying there were conflicting judgments on the matter.
Izinyon also protested the order of the court that parties should maintain their positions.
This protest made the court to ask him who is the de-facto occupier of the Abia government house.
Izinyon said he would not answer the question because to answer it would imply that he had conceded.
However, Justice Ogunwumiju, said the court considered it important to avoid a misinterpretation of its ruling.
She said the ruling of the court was for parties to remain as they were should not be misconstrued as implying that the court has issued an order for stay of execution.