Abia gov tussle: Nwosu, the game changer


Since  1999, Sir Friday Nwosu had  warmed his way into the hearts of  Abians  as a man who had distinguished himself in the service of the people.  He had always been identified with pro- people causes. Described by many Abians as incorruptible and trustworthy,    Nwosu is the arrow head of the campaign for power shift to his native Ukwa/Ngwa bloc which before then had not produced governor. Friday Nwosu Through his Ikpeghiebeghi Nationalist Movement, from 2000 to 2003, he challenged the then powers,-that-be on the marginalization of the Ukwa/Ngwa bloc. As a result, he suffered many deprivations. “At a time in Abia State, I was chased away from my law office in Aba by agents of the then powers that be, for insisting on the truth and refusing to be bought over. I could have been killed, but God protected me”, he said. As a grassroots politician, Nwosu,  fondly called ‘Ikpeghiebeghi’, meaning ‘money cannot buy’, had, since 2012, prepared to serve Abia people. He had served in the PDP in many capacities which include his membership of the party’s congress committees in 5 states. When he  decided to contest for the Abia  governorship on the platform of the PDP, Nwosu reached out to all strata of the society. From 2012, he transverse the 17 council areas of the state, consulting youths, elders, women and opinion leaders; selling the programmes and policies he developed for a better Abia. Like other aspirants  who desired to  emerge Abia governor in 2015,Nwosu never underestimated that the battle would be easy. During the December 8, 2014 PDP primary, he mobilized his supporters and  was confident of victory, but things did not work out as he planned. At the primary, Gov.  Okezie Ikpeazu,  who was the preferred candidate of the then Governor Theodore Orji, emerged winner.  Although he came fourth in the primary, Nwosu accepted the result and asked his agent to append his signature when others refused to do so. Ikpeazu and Nwosu’s agents signed the result while others, including Uche Ogah, complained of one irregularity or the other. Ogah claimed that authentic delegates were locked out and never voted in the exercise and petitioned the party to conduct another one. Few days after the PDP primary, Nwosu said he discovered some discrepancies in the tax clearance certificate filed by Ikpeazu and alerted the PDP, but his complaints were ignored. “When the PDP ignored my complaints about the discrepancies in the tax certificates, I alerted elders of the Ukwa/Ngwa bloc, Elder Emmanuel Adaelu, Dr. Gershon Amuta, Eze Love Wogu and Eze Eberechi Dick who is now the chairman of the South East Council of Traditional Rulers, among others. They promised to investigate but nothing came out of it. I later filed a suit in  court seeking for the disqualification of the  governor  for allegedly submitting  forged  tax documents  and giving false information to the party and prayed  the court to declare  me  the authentic PDP candidate  since I and Ikpeazu were the only aspirants who accepted the result of the primary.” Having won the primary,  Ikpeazu  contested the governorship election  as PDP candidate, won and was sworn-in as governor of Abia State.  The battle has continued.   CASE DELAYED Sunday Vanguard gathered that the suit filed on March 2, 2015, which ought to have been decided before the 2015 general elections, suffered several delays as it went from one Division of the Federal High Court to another. It is on record that Nwosu was the first aspirant who filed the alleged tax forgery suit against Ikpeazu and joined Ogah as one of the respondents in Suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/184/2015; FHC/UM/CS/64/2015; and FHC/OW/CS/191/2015. The suit, assigned to Justice Adeniyi Ademola of Federal High Court 7, Abuja, was later transferred to the Umuahia Division presided over by Justice F.A. Olubanjo. At a time, Nwosu petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Justice Ibrahim Auta, accusing Justice Olubanjo of bias as the judge continued to adjourn the matter. Justice Auta later transferred the suit to Owerri Division, presided over by Justice Musa Shuaibu. However, Justice Shuaibu was shortly transferred to Kaduna Division, but was granted an assignment order to hear and conclude the matter. The order was later revoked by Justice Auta when Ikpeazu’s lawyer, Casmir Elele, protested. Presiding Judge of the Owerri Division, Justice Lewis Allagoa, who was directed to hear the matter, delivered judgment on July 8, dismissing Nwosu’s suit on the grounds that the governor was not the maker of the tax documents. “The Federal High Court, Owerri erred in law when it affirmed Ikpeazu’s election without considering the facts of the suit. I have already filed my appeal, I’m hopeful the appellate courts will vindicate me”, Nwosu said.   ‘ABUSE OF COURT PROCESS’ However,  he insists that it is clearly an abuse of court process for Ogah to have gone ahead to file another suit on the same subject matter when he was already a respondent in the suit instituted. “I filed my suit against Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on March 2, 2015 and joined the PDP, INEC and Uche Ogah, as respondents; but Ogah went and instituted another suit on the same subject matter on   April 20, 2015 and took some of the documents I served on him as a respondent in my suit to aid his own suit. I have challenged him in court to produce certified true copies of the documents he used to file his suit, but he is not forthcoming. This is clearly an abuse of court process”, he added.   ‘UKWA/NGWA PEOPLE SHOULD UNITE’ Lamenting the fate of the Ukwa/Ngwa people who have just spent one year on the Abia governorship seat, one of its  elders, Dr. Max Nduaguibe, said; “If Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu fails to retain the seat, pray that Barr. Nwosu grabs it; otherwise your tears and regrets will be many as mine.”

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