In a unanimous ruling, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Thursday upturned the judgments of Justice Okon Abang-led Federal High Court in Abuja which removed Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State from office.
Ikpeazu’s appeal was in regard to the ruling delivered by the Abuja High Court on July 8in which the judge insisted that he had jurisdiction to hear a motion for stay of execution of his earlier judgments delivered on June 27 even after the appeals against the judgments had been entered.
But in their ruling, the Justice Helen Ogunwumiju-led five-man bench agreed that Justice Abang erroneously assumed jurisdiction to hear the motion and adjourned it till a later date.
Reading out the lead judgment, Justice Philomina Ekpe stated that what Justice Abang ought to have done in line with time-honoured doctrine of “stari decisis” was to have transferred the motion to the Court of Appeal for determination.
She also held that the lower court wrongly interpreted the provisions of Order 4(10) and (11) of the Court of Appeal rules when he held that the said provisions were only applicable to an interlocutory ruling of the lower court and when a final judgment in a suit had been delivered.
She continued that Justice Abang lacked jurisdictions to interpret the provisions of the Court of Appeal being the rules of a superior court.
In her contribution, Justice Ogunwumiju, ruled that the trial judge “deliberately stood the law on its head” by justifying his jurisdiction to hear the motion when appeal has been entered.