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p38 for planning Oga’s shocker for Ikpeazu in Abia By Hamza Idris The mention of his name, especially in the political arena, will elicit an…

p38 for planning

Oga’s shocker for Ikpeazu in Abia

By Hamza Idris

The mention of his name, especially in the political arena, will elicit an enquiry, mainly because he is a new entrant into the public space.

Yet, the young but highly industrious Uchechukwu S. Ogah, 47, yesterday, appeared from the blues and dislodged governor Ikpeazu of Abia State.

Though Ikpeazu has said he will contest his ouster at the Court of Appeal, pundits believe that the governor had easily got himself entangled in what could be a long drawn legal battle.

But in the meantime, Ogar is only waiting for INEC to formally receive the court judgment before writing his name on the Certificate of Return. This first step will clear the course for Ogar to be sworn-in as governor.

Oga’s main legal grouse against governor Ikpeazu was his failure to pay his personal income tax in 2010 and 2011, in line with Section 24(f) of the 1999 Constitution, which states: “It shall be the duty of every citizen to … declare his income honestly to appropriate and lawful agencies and pay his tax promptly.”

Rightly, in most developed countries, tax evasion is a serious crime and can end ambition of politicians. Taxes are major source of income that sustain economy of nations, create job, support healthcare delivery and provide infrastructure.

Sadly, in many third world countries, Nigeria inclusive, mainly due to corruption, tax evasion is not seen as a serious crime.

What’s more, in our own case, where petro dollars is mostly relied upon, tax collectors and other relevant government authorities care even less about income from taxes.

More often than not, politicians and businessmen think of settling their tax obligations only when they want to vie for office or seek for contracts.

During the hotly contested PDP primary poll at the Umuahia Township Stadium, Ikpeazu scored 487, while Ogar came a distant second with 103 votes.

Others like Emeka Wogu came third with 33 votes, Marc Wabara got 3 votes, Okey Emuchy 3 votes, Iheanacho Okezie Orji 1 vote,Friday Nwosu 5 votes, former deputy governor, Acho Nwakanma 5 votes.

However, while most of the candidates accepted the result in good faith, Ogar vehemently rejected, describing the primary poll as hoarse.

“I know there was no formal accreditation and people were just given tags to go and vote,” Ogar said. “Everything in Abia is a fraud, everything from the beginning to the end, why?”

Ogar headed for the court. And while others struggled to unseat Ikpeazu at the election petition tribunal, the oil magnet, realising that his case against the governor was a pre-election matter, simply headed to the Federal High Court in Abuja, which now granted his prayers.

In his ruling, yesterday, Justice Okon Abang slammed the big hammer and held that Ikpeazu was not qualified to contest the primary election of the PDP, held on December 8, 2014.

And unless Ikpeazu gets a counteracting order from the court, Ogar will be sworn-in.

In a text message, the spokesman of the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said the commission has not been served with a copy of the judgment.

He said: “It is only when the commission is served with a copy of the judgment by the appropriate authority that any action could be taken. In other words, when INEC receives a valid copy of the said judgment from the appropriate authority, the commission will carefully study the details and do the needful.”

Born on December 22, 1969, Ogar is an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, with a conglomerate of over 15 subsidiaries and interests across a variety of industries.

He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Lagos, Institute of Management Technology Enugu and Ogun State University.

Ogar holds the Nigerian national honour of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).

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