Abia State elders and traditional rulers have described the issuance of Certificate of Return to Mr. Uche Ogah by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the order of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja, as perverse and reckless.
The elders, who declared their full support for Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, appealed to Abians and every interest group in the tussle for leadership of the state, to remain calm for the good of the state.
Addressing journalists on Monday in Abuja, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, who read the communique of a meeting they held at Asokoro, home of Prince Vincent Ogbulafo in Abuja, commended the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for his quick and timely intervention which the elders said, has helped to reduced tension in the State.
It reads: “We, the concerned elders of Abia State, worried by the developments in the last five days which threatened to plunge our State into anarchy, violence and bloodshed, met today in Abuja to review the situation”
“We reviewed the judgement of Justice Okon Abang, which was the beginning of the unfortunate crisis and INEC’s decision to issue a certificate of return to our son Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, which decision exacerbated the crisis.
“We came to the conclusion, unanimously, that Justice Abang’s order to issue a certificate of return to someone who never contested the governorship election against the Electoral Act and well known decisions of superior courts was perverse and reckless and we condemn it in its entirety.”
“We have also noted the unseeming haste of INEC to issue the certificate just a few hours after the Justice Abang order, and in spite of the fact that INEC had been duly served with a notice of appeal of the said order and the motion for a stay of execution.
“We are worried by the impression created of a conspiracy involving INEC to throw Abia into confusion and anarchy.
“We condemn in very strong terms the attempt to set Abia on fire and create a situation which can only compound the problems which our country is currently having to bring an end to violence in the North East and Niger Delta.
“We have also noted with appreciation the intervention of the Attorney General of the Federation, Malami, who has urged all parties to follow the rule of law and wait the conclusion of proceedings in the appellate courts.
“We join in this appeal for peace and urge all parties involved in this matter to calm down and await the conclusion of matters at the courts.”
“We also commend our people, the people of Abia who have remained peaceful in the face of recent provocations. We urge them to remain calm and maintain the peace as we wait the courts to conclude their processes”, they said.
The elders stated that they have “faith in the Nigerian judiciary and believe that in the end, Justice will be done.”
They also used the opportunity to commiserate with families of notable Abia citizens who lost their lives recently, among who is Chief Ojo Maduekwe.
“We also discussed our recent bereavement as a people, especially the demise of Ambassador Ojo Maduekwe, just as our state was being thrown into confusion as well as the earlier death of Senator Onyeka Okoroafor.
“We offer our sincere condolences to their respective families and pray that Almighty God will comfort and strengthen them and the State.”
The meeting was attended by notable Abia elders and traditional rulers among who are all the current serving Abia Senators including Former Governor, Theodore Orji, (Abia Central,) Mao Ohuabunwa, (Abia North,) Enyi Abaribe, (Abia South).
Others are Senator Adolfus Wabara, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, Chief Empire Kanu, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, HRH, Eze Ngozi Marthias Nwoko, Professor S.O. Igwe, Hon. Uzoma Nkem Abonta, and Professor Herbert O. Orji.
Other monarchs present at the meeting include, HRH Eze J O Akaliro, HRH Eze Dr. Eberechi Dick and HRH Eze P M Okponku, amongst other personalities.