The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia on Friday upheld the victory of Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the governor of Abia State.
The tribunal also dismissed the petition filed by Alex Otti of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
Chairman of the panel, Justice Lekan Ogumonye while delivering a unanimous judgement held that the petitioner failed to prove his allegations of over-voting and non compliance with the electoral act in the conduct of the election.
The Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has presented a budget proposal of N140 billion before the state House of Assembly.
The budget was tagged budget of partnerships and opportunities” to the state House of Assembly.
While presenting the budget, the governor disclosed that it is geared towards attracting the right partnerships and open up investment opportunities for development.
The budget represents a 28.15 percent increase from 2017 budget of N111 billion while the overall performance of 2017 budget indicated 70.1 percent achievement.
A budget breakdown of N140 billion naira shows that capital expenditure is to gulp N72 billion while the N68 billion is for the recurrent expenditure.
As at the third quarter of 2017, the revenue performance represents 59.35 percent performance as its internal revenue did not perform better.
“This budget is packaged to follow medium-term expenditure framework which looks at projections for a three-year period, that has projections for the year 2018 to 2020 and is compliant with the international public-sector accounting standard,” he said.
He added, “I must say that the state is committed to fiscal management process in line with international best practices making the state investment-friendly for foreign investors.
“Much of the economy of Nigeria is said to be out of recession, the economy indices such as the rate of inflation, interest rate, a decrease in foreign direct investment show that we are still not near, getting out of the hooks.
“This has greatly determined the direction of our projections and inform the theme of the 2018 budget tagged “Budget of Partnerships and Opportunities.”
Mr Ikpeazu further called for transparency and cooperation among the various tiers of government in seeing to its execution.
He said, “We must also take steps to show tenacity, frugal and transparency in our financial management because partnerships can only be attracted when the financial management is conducive.
“We also have prioritized our needs in line with the request harvested from the various communities and the five pillars of development of the state.
“We expect to boost trade and commerce, agriculture and agric business as well as catalyze the emergence of vibrant small and medium scale manufacturing enterprise in Abia State.”
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation and the acting Inspector General of Police have been asked to act swiftly and ensure that Mr Uche Ogah is sworn in as the Governor of Abia State.
Spokesman for the Uche Ogah Campaign Organisation, Mr Max Ozoaka, made the appeal while speaking to reporters on Sunday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
He insisted that it was necessary to address the issue which had created an administrative and constitutional vacuum in Abia State.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Acting Inspector General of Police have been asked to act swiftly and ensure that the declared Governor of Abia State is sworn in.
The spokesman of Uche Ogah Campaign Organisation, Max Ozoaka made this appeal when speaking with journalists in Abuja.
He said this step is necessary to check the administrative and constitution vacuum created in Abia State.
The commission, however, said that the documents it received did not contain a stay-of-execution order to stop the issuance of a Certificate of Return to Mr Sampson Ogah as the next Governor of Abia State.
The electoral body had on Thursday issued a Certificate of Return to Mr Ogah in line with the directives of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has admitted receiving a notice of appeal from the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu.
The commission, however, said that the documents it received did not contain a stay-of-execution order, to stop the issuance of a certificate of return to Sampson Ogah as the next governor of the state.
The electoral body had on Thursday issued a certificate of return to Mr. Ogah as directed by a federal high court in Abuja on Monday.
Justice Abang Okon had ruled that Mr. Ikpeazu submitted fraudulent tax documents when he filed papers to run for governorship ticket on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Mr. Ogah was Mr Ikpeazu’s main challenger in the gubernatorial primaries conducted in December 2014, and had asked the court to nullify Mr. Ikpeazu’s candidacy on the basis of the tax default.
Mr Ikpeazu says he has appealed the ruling, and that he remains Governor.
On Thursday, INEC said it issued a certificate of return to Mr Ogah because it had not been served Mr. Ikpeazu’s notice of appeal.
The electoral body through its spokesman Nick Dazang, on Friday however explained that Mr Ikpeazu’s failure to provide a stay-of-execution order left the commission with no choice than to issue the certificate of return to Mr Ogah.
The High Court sitting in Osisioma Ngwa Judicial Division has given an order of injunction restraining the electoral umpire, or the Chief Judge of the state or any other judge from swearing-in Samson Ogah as Abia Governor.
This comes as the state government has called for calm, insisting that Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu remains the Governor of Abia State.
In a statement, Governor Ikpeazu expressed concern over the action of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in issuing a certificate of return to Mr. Ogah as governor of Abia State, despite a notice of appeal and motion for stay of the orders made by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The statement adds: “our laws are clear on this matter. No one may be issued with a Certificate of Return let alone be sworn in as governor, when there is a subsisting appeal and application for stay.”
INEC’s Director of Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzi, said this followed an order by the Abuja Federal High Court mandating INEC to immediately issue Certificate of Return to Mr Ogah, who came second at the last Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries in Abia State.
Following the outbreak of Ebola Virus in Nigeria, the Abia State Government has organized a one-day sensitization and enlightenment campaign on Ebola disease for all the civil servants in the state.
This was to create more awareness on precautionary measures as well as attitudinal change towards handling things that involve mucus membranes of the body.
The Director, Public Health and Disease Control, State Ministry Of Health, Franklin Orji, disclosed that the campaign would ensure that Abia civil servants are equipped with adequate and genuine information concerning the diseases. It would also give information about how to check its spread from one person to another.
Some of the civil servants, after the seminar, disclosed that they had learnt a lot concerning the spread, symptoms and preventive measures of the Ebola Virus and promised to put it to work.
Some of them also shared how they intend to put the recommendations to work in their offices and homes.
In the mean time, prevention and careful precautionary measures might be the most effective and needed tools to minimize the spread of Ebola Disease.
The event was a collaborative effort by the State Government and stakeholders in the health sector.