Ihedioha Returns to Supreme Court, Seeks Review of Ouster Verdict
Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, on Monday approached the Supreme Court for a review of the judgment of the court that sacked him as governor and declared Senator Hope Uzodinma as governor of Imo State.
The court had on January 14, 2020 sacked Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the ground that he did not score the lawful majority votes in the March 9, 2019 governorship election. In his place, the apex court, after adding the cancelled results of the 388 polling units to the votes scored by Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC), ordered that he be immediately sworn in as the duly elected governor.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the apex court held that Ihedioha was not duly elected and that “his election was void and illegal.”
Dr Manzo Abubakar, the Executive Director of the Abuja Discussion Group, told journalists on Sunday that Ihedioha was Supreme Court-bound to ask for a review of the judgment and if that is done, it will ensure constitutionalism and save the democracy of the country.
Abubakar noted that if the Supreme Court reviewed its decision in the Imo State governorship appeal, it would restore justice, peace, hope and faith the nation’s democracy and regain the confidence of the people in the judiciary.
He said: “The judgment will go down in infamy and may make Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of nations, if not reviewed,” adding that Section 176(2b) of the constitution is clear that to be declared as governor, a candidate must have not only the majority of total votes cast but also 1/4 of the votes in 2/3 of the local governments of the state.
“It is axiomatic that nowhere in the petition or evidence did the petitioner, (Uzodinma) claim that he met the constitutional requirement of spread to be declared the winner,” the group stated.
The CSOs noted that the Supreme Court, by the judgment, has denied the Imo people the opportunity to choose their leaders, adding that, “we sympathise with their Lordships, as mortals who are not infallible.
“To err is human. It would be practically impossible for any human to have read briefs and record of proceedings exceeding 5000 pages in the matter within two hours after hearing when it also had the pressure of time to deliver judgment in the remaining pending governorship appeals. No doubt, this accounted for the mistakes made by the Supreme Court,” the group stated.
Abubakar said, “the Supreme Court is supreme and can creatively reinvent its rules to do justice. It is necessary to do so now more than ever to save Nigerian democracy, constitutionalism and retrieve the judicial and justice system from its present opprobrium.”
The group said the apex court is left with no other option than to review and reverse the anomaly in the judgment, even if it means applying a judicial doctrine of necessity.
It would be recalled that the Supreme Court, on January 14, 2020, sacked Ihedioha, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governor of Imo State on the ground that he did not score the lawful majority votes in the March 9, 2019 governorship election held in the state.
In his place, the apex court ordered that Senator Uzodinma of the All Progressive Congress (APC) be immediately sworn-in as the duly elected governor of the state, in place of Ihedioha.
In the unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the apex court held that Ihedioha was not duly elected and adding that, “his election is void and illegal.”
The court also set aside the judgment of the Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and that of the Court of Appeal, both of which had refused to recognise and accept the votes of the 388 polling units as being unlawfully excluded in the general collation.
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