Unease as Supreme Court reviews Ihedioha’s guber appeal
Barring any last minute change, Nigeria’s Supreme Court will on Tuesday hear the appeal of Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, to reverse its judgment of January 14, 2020 that removed him from office as Governor of Imo State.
The apex court had declared Hope Uzodinma, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the duly elected governor of the state on the grounds that results from 388 polling units were excluded when the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, announced the final tally in March 2019.
The court upheld the prayers of the APC candidate and affirmed him as the duly elected governor.
Among other reliefs he is seeking, Ihedioha has contended that “the Court of Appeal had earlier dismissed the petition of Senator Hope Uzodinma as incompetent and struck it out. However, the Supreme Court did not consider the appeal of Hope Uzodinma on this point and so the judgement of the Court of Appeal dismissing the petition still stands or subsists. There was therefore no basis for the Supreme Court to pronounce on the Appeal and declare Hope Uzodinma, elected,” a summary of the appeal reads.
Also, the former governor argued that “the judgement was delivered without jurisdiction in that by virtue of S.140(2) of the Electoral Act, once the Court says that the election was invalid, the only possible judgement the Court is allowed to give is a nullification of the election, and not to declare Hope Uzodinma, winner.
“That there was no proof before the Court nor did the Supreme Court state how it arrived at the declaration that Hope Uzodinma met the constitutionally required geographical spread. To meet this requirement, the Supreme Court ought to state the scores and percentages of all the 70 candidates that contested the election, Local Government by Local Government. This was not done by the Supreme Court and therefore had no basis and jurisdiction to declare Hope Uzodinma winner of the election.
That the judgement was a nullity having been obtained by fraud or deceit in that Hope Uzodinma fraudulently misled the Supreme Court into holding that a total of 213,495 were unlawfully excluded from his votes. The fraud was further orchestrated by the fact that the total votes cast was more than the number of voters accredited to vote. The fraud was further demonstrated by the document tendered by INEC (FORM EC40G) which clearly showed that there were no valid elections in the disputed 388 polling units.
“That the judgement was a nullity because it was given per incuriam, which means that the Supreme Court did not advert its attention to some existing laws and facts even on the face of the proceedings.”
Since the last Supreme Court judgment, there has been protests against it from different civil society groups in Owerri and other parts of Nigeria.
On Sunday in Abuja, a pro-Ihedioha group, Alliance of Civil Societies, argued “that there are judicial precedents for review as no human endeavour is infallible, it is our conviction that their Justices will demonstrate courageon Tuesday, December 18 and bring an end to the odium the court has endured and secure the sanctity of the courts.”
The international community has even weighed in on the Judgement, describing it as scandalous and incredible.
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