Barrister Ody Ajike, in this interview with Kunle Olasanmi, speaks on the legal battle over who takes charge of Government House in Abia State between Governor Okezie ikpeazu and Dr. Uche Ogah.
Appeal Court Judgment On Abia
The judgment of the court of appeal was fraught with errors which I believe the Supreme Court will correct. How could the court have held that the burden of proof was on Dr. Uche Ogah to prove that the documents were falsified? Yes, it is true that he who alleges must prove but this burden of proof was already transferred to Ikpeazu whose appointment letter was tendered in evidence. The appointment letter showed when he became a General Manager of the State Agency and the letter was clear that the information he had therein in his form was false. As citizens, we must abide by the judgment until, the Supreme Court sets it aside.
The Court of Appeal took a different and unknown legal route in arriving at their decision on this matter and this maybe because they didn’t have time to go through the matter comprehensively. The court refused to understand that it is about false information submitted by Ikpeazu in his tax clearance certificates and nothing more. It had nothing to do with forgery and false information that carries penal consequences but strictly false information which he presented to have an advantage of being issued the governorship ticket of the party in Abia State.
Ogah Can Reclaim His Mandate At The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court will certainly return judgment in favour of Dr Ogah because the facts are clear and will not quit easily. The Court of Appeal erred when they held that you need oral evidence to alter, clarify or modify documentary evidence. This is unheard of in our jurisprudence that oral evidence can modify documentary evidence. It is a case of res ipsa loquitur. The case speaks for itself. An appointment letter dated 17th July 2011 and taxes paid when he was not even appointed. This is a case of false information not forgery and it is grossly different from making false information under the criminal jurisprudence.
It is also important to note that the likelihood of this tax being paid by Ikpeazu at all is very minimal. The way agencies work in Abia leaves us with a lot to worry. Can Ikpeazu even evidence the bank teller used to pay the taxes in question? What they do in Abia is Champerty. They collect the revenue and pay to government and pay themselves. They don’t pay taxes. Am sure the government in Abia will have no records to show anyone of actual taxes paid because these were more or less like serfs working for the owner of the manor and they kept no records. However, the legal issues are enough to have this judgment upturned by the Supreme Court.
Alex Otti Of Apga And The Legal Battle Between Governor Ikpeazu And Ogah
Alex Otti had no business in the matter at the Court of Appeal. He only came to shop and failed. He had no business there.
Ogah’s success at the apex court
Yes I see Dr Ogah succeeding in the Supreme Court because it is the last legal structure that maintains the balance of peace and Justice in our society. It is simply for the Supreme Court to consider if Ikpeazu actually filed false information based on the errors made visible by the Court of Appeal in arriving at their judgment. Also, it is imperative that the SC will correct any misleading belief occasioned by the Court of Appeal judgment that Nigerians do not need to honour their civic responsibilities before vying for elective offices. I believe that on the grounds of appeal filed before the SC, they will find it very meriteous
Rule Of Law
The Judiciary has been doing very well in Nigeria but there is more to do in terms of judicial activism. The Judiciary comprises of very sound minds and committed Nigerians. Our history cannot be complete without an acknowledgment of the achievements of these men and women in our national development.