By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—PROMINENT Igbo leader and member of Board of Trustees of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, has described the attempt to remove Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as the governor of Abia State following the order of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja as treasonable.
He condemned the role of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, security agents and some judicial officers in the attempt to remove the governor.
Iwuanyanwu called on the National Judicial Council, NJC, to probe the ruling of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, saying that those involved in the plot should be tried for treason.
Iwuanyanwu who spoke when he visited Governor Ikpeazu at the Government House, Umuahia, said: “I have come as a leader of Ndi Igbo to say congratulations. I want to talk about the experience we are having currently. We were shocked to hear that somebody, a judge ruled in Abuja that you should be removed from office.
“In some countries, this is treason, and those involved should be tried for treason. This is a matter that should go to the Appeal Court, from the Appeal Court to Supreme Court. But INEC hastily obeyed such an order that could potentially throw Abia State into bloodletting. No wonder people are saying that INEC is corrupt. President Muhammadu Buhari should look into this matter.
“The Chief Justice of Nigeria should call his people to order. This is corruption and something should be done about it. This judge would have plunged this state (Abia) into anarchy.
“The laws of our country are clear; it is only the Supreme Court that can take a final decision in such issues. When a court of first instance takes decision beyond its jurisdiction, we know something is wrong and we are all watching to know what this Federal Government will do about this type of judgment, this type of judge.
“I can’t believe that this judge does not know that he has overstepped his bounds. I don’t believe anybody who is a judge doesn’t know that he acted as if he is the Supreme Court. And of course the Supreme Court has a number of judges that sit to decide a case; it is not only one judge that takes such decision. They vote before they reach a decision.
“I am surprised that only one man said the election of the governor is fouled, cancelled it, ordered INEC to swear in another and even prevented the other man from exercising his right of appeal. Even at tribunals, it cannot be taken this way, yet this is a high court judge acting alone here. What type of inducement was he [allegedly]given to declare such Judgment?
“But I thank God that the country has come to realise this. I think even those who are not members of PDP are quite worried. People have come out to fault this kind of judgment; even those that are not in PDP are showing their disapproval.
“We are very disappointed; people have been accusing INEC of corruption. I can’t understand how INEC said they did what they had done because they were following a court order. I am surprised. This is a big embarrassment to the country. An ordinary high court cannot give final decision on the issue. INEC has a legal department. Their legal department should have advised the INEC chairman on what the laws says”.
In his response, Governor Ikpeazu commended Chief Iwuanyanwu for his role in ensuring Igbo unity, adding that his administration in Abia was serious about opening up Aba.