A high court sitting in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, few days ago, declared Dr Sampson Uche Ogah, as governor-elect of Abia state after sending Okezie Ikpeazu parking. Though Ikpeazu has appealed the judgement, Monday Ubani, the legal adviser to Ogah reveals his client’s next action in this interview with some journalists including Ogunbiyi Michael of 234forum.
Monday Ubani, legal adviser to Ogah How did Dr Uche Ogah react when the court proclaimed him the governor-elect of Abia state? Like every true Abia son and daughter, His Excellency believes that a new dawn has broken over Abia state. He is fully convinced that this historic victory is not his alone; it is the collective victory of all Abia patriots that believe in the sanctity of the rule of law, in the integrity and impartiality of the Nigerian judiciary, and in equity and justice. It has been a very difficult and sometimes frustrating legal road to travel but Dr Uche Ogah never for once wavered in his conviction that no matter the time it takes, justice will eventually be served and the wrong done him and the generality of Abia people righted. That day has finally come and the eloquent testament of the court has more than justified a struggle that lasted over a year. How about Abia indigenes? The outpouring of positive emotion has been truly astonishing and this is across party lines; and indeed by people, young and old, in all walks of life. As I speak with you celebrations and unbridled joy have broken out all over the state, from Aba to Umuahia and from Ukwa to Isikwuato. His Excellency is loved by Abians given his humility, humanitarian services, generosity of spirit and outstanding record of good works across the length and breadth of the state.
This accounts for the mass outpouring of happiness that followed this decisive judicial victory, from unceasing phone calls, text messages and powerful statements of support all over the social media. You just have to preview Facebook posts, tweets and social media community conversations and blogsphere dialogues to appreciate the indescribable degree of elation that accompanied his victory. Abians know that he is an achiever and that under his watch the state’s untapped potentials will be exploited to their fullest degree and that the possibilities of our people will be unfurled and unleashed in an unimaginable scale. Now that he has been declared governor, what next? The ball is firmly in the court of INEC and the chief judge of Abia state. His Excellency’s victory has a consequential impact. The pronouncement of the court was very decisive. INEC has been commanded to issue to him the certificate of return as the duly elected governor of the state and the chief judge has also been commanded to swear him in without delay. These two entities being law abiding have to obey the court and do what is needful without delay. You know that Nigeria being a nation of laws and not of men, judicial decisions must be applied to the full. There should be no possibility of cherry-picking in this regard. In essence, we expect INEC and the state chief judge to act promptly and with utmost urgency.
What is the governor-elect’s immediate plan of action? He will first work to ensure that the decisions of the court are carried out by INEC and the state chief judge to the letter. He will also be holding consultations with critical stakeholders from Abia state on his governance vision and a comprehensive programme of action directed at the social, political, economic, administrative and cultural renovation of the state under a scientific paradigm that derives from best global practices which he intends to launch as soon as possible. Once he secures the certificate of return and is sworn-in, he will hit the ground running because there is precious little time to waste in turning around the fortunes of our beleaguered state.