By Eric Elezuo
“After reading through the judgment several times, I was amazed at how the trial judge arrived at his conclusion of perjury against the appellant when there was no evidence of forgery. To say the least, his findings are ridiculous.
“The judge must have sat in his chamber, unilaterally assessed and computed the tax of the appellant and came to the conclusion that he did not pay the required tax. But let me say that courts are not allowed to speculate as the trial judge has done in the instant case.
“In another breath, the trial judge spoke from both sides of his mouth when in one breath, he claimed that he based his findings on supply of false information and in another breadth, he came to the conclusion that the appellant in this matter committed perjury, even when there was no allegation of forgery and no allegation that he did not pay tax.
“With respect, we disagree with him in this conclusion because it is the person that makes an allegation of falsehood that must prove it.
“From whatever angle one looks at the judgment of the trial judge, the decision of his court was grossly erroneous. The inadequacies of the tax receipt cannot be visited on Ikpeazu who scored the highest votes in the 2015 governorship election as doing so will amount to a rape of democracy.
Followers of judicial process in the country will be at home with the name Okon Abang, a Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; but whether for the right or wrong reason is based on the discretion of the individual.
Justice Okon Abang, a 1988 Law School graduate, was born in 1961 and began his professional career as a private legal practitioner in 1989, just after his one year compulsory national service. He was not privileged to serve under anyone in the legal field, a situation that may have affected his outlook to judicial process.
Recently, the Ebughu, Akwa Ibom State born legal luminary has been in the eye of the storm regarding his judgments and verdicts, which a cross section of respondents have claimed to be quite below legal practice. While it could be said that the judicial could termed as fearless in the discharge of his judgments, regardless of whose ox is gored, a lot of people believe that he is being motivated from quarters that remains inexplainable.
In the not too distant past, Abang has dished out judgments that have been questioned, among them the Abia State debacle and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) unending crisis.
In the words of the PDP spokesman after the renowned Justice came up with contrary verdict in the PDP leadership crisis, Abang’s ‘excesses are extremely absurd, strange and unbecoming of a Judge who enjoys putting the Judiciary on the spot’.
Many have described him as controversial. Others (especially the PDP) see him as a stooge of the rival APC party planted in the FCT court to do hatchet jobs for the ruling party while some he is just confused. But whichever way one looks at it, it is obvious that Abang is either notorious or famous at throwing the clog in the wheels either for a publicity stunt or to create controversy.