by Mitchelle Uzorka
Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu who is the lead Attorney of Labour Party was born in Onitsha, Anambra State on 15th April, 1959, trained in the United States of America and attended Evanston College, Lake Forest College and Oklahoma City University where he obtained the degree of Doctor of Juridical Science in 1982 In 1984, he was called to the Nigerian Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu has been in active legal practice till date and has served as Chairman of the Onitsha Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association and a NEC (National Executive Council) member of the national body, NBA.
In recognition of his advocacy skills in 2002 he was conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN) and in 2007, he was honoured by the Federal Republic of Nigeria under President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua with the National Honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger, (OON). He is a fellow at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is also a member of the Nigerian Body of Benchers.
Some of the landmark cases handled by Dr. Ikpeazu include MOJEKWU V. MOJEKWU; MOJEKWU V. IWUCHUKWU preserving the inheritance right of a woman; NGIGE V OBI reported in (2006) 14 NWLR (Part 999) 1, a decision that brought Mr. Peter Obi to office as the duly elected Governor of Anambra State.
His adroit display of rare forensic advocacy skills led to the trail-blazing decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of OBI v INEC (2007)11NWLR (Part 1046)565, which case effectively re-calibrated the election metric rule in the hitherto uniform quadrennial elections into the office of Governors of States in Nigeria.
Consequently, a candidate who was wrongly kept out of office after an election he rightly won, would still enjoy un-interrupted his four-year tenure guaranteed under the extant Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with effect from the date he took Oath of Office as the Governor of the State, barring such other circumstances as death and impeachment. Dr. Ikpeazu conducted the defence of INEC in several election Petitions including the Presidential Election Petition that arose from the General Election in 2011 He also led the defence of INEC in several Governorship Election Petitions arising from the 2015 General election, including; RIVERS STATE, AKWA IBOM STATE, DELTA STATE, ABIA STATE, EBONYI STATE, ENUGU STATE, BAYELSA STATE, EDO STATE.
He equally led the team of lawyers that represented Senator Ademola Adeleke in the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Dr. Ikpeazu, is also a lead counsel in several State Governorship Election Petitions and appeals arising from the recently concluded General Elections 2019; OGUN STATE, AKWA IBOM STATE, RIVERS STATE, ENUGU STATE, EBONYI STATE, ABIA STATE, CROSS RIVER STATE, OYO STATE, IMO STATE.
He is also part of several Senatorial and National Assembly Election Petitions across the country. Besides election cases, Dr. Ikpeazu has also provided legal representation in International Arbitrations across several jurisdictions. With regards to criminal cases, Dr. Ikpeazu has successfully defended notable individuals in allegations of crimes, among them are Hon. Justice Adeniyi Ademola, former Judge of the Federal High Court, and Late Justice Umezulike, former Chief Judge of Enugu State.