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Ihedioha Vs Uzodinma: Civil Society Leaders Urge Supreme Court To Reverse Judgment

February 11, 2020

The apex court had on January 14, 2020 declared Uzodinma, who came fourth in the Imo governorship election in 2019 as winner of the exercise, removing Emeka Ihedioha from office in the process.



Leaders of civil society in Nigeria have asked the Supreme Court to set aside its judgment pronouncing Hope Uzodinma as duly elected governor of Imo State.

The apex court had on January 14, 2020 declared Uzodinma, who came fourth in the Imo governorship election in 2019 as winner of the exercise, removing Emeka Ihedioha from office in the process.

The group posited that the court erred in its judgment and faulted the process through which the apex court arrived at the decision.

In the statement signed by Dr Olusegun Awe Obe, the Concerned Leaders of Thoughts and Conscience in Project Nigeria, highlighted reasons the court should not have pronounced Uzodinma as winner of the election.

The group said that while Uzodinma’s petition was hinged on the Independent National Electoral Commission failing to record votes due to him from 388 polling units cut across the various local governments and electoral wards in Imo State, his arguments, evidences and witnesses did not back his claim.

The group said, “At the trial, no ward collation agent was called to show that at the collation centre, results were brought from the 388 polling units where the alleged exclusion took place and INEC refused to accept or collate them.

“The petitioner rather called 28 polling unit agents who came to identify some of the results tendered by the petitioner from the bar. All the electoral documents from Forms EC8A – EC8E were tendered from the bar and thus dumped on the court without anybody giving evidence correlating the contents of the result forms with the tabulation done by the petitioner himself.

“Each of the 18 polling unit agents under cross-examination, manifested ignorance of the contents of the documents and never convinced anybody of being present in their claimed polling units.”

The group further stated that the court failed to reckon with the argument of INEC that had in their reply to the petition disowned those result sheets and averred emphatically that no results were generated from those polling units as elections in those polling units were cancelled by presiding officers as a result of violence, over-voting, snatching of electoral materials etc.

The statement added, “It was on account of this and many other material contradictions that the Elections petition tribunal found as a fact that the evidence adduced by these 28 polling unit agents of the petitioner has been so contradicted under cross-examination and rendered so manifestly unreliable that no reasonable tribunal or court can ever rely on them for any purpose whatsoever.”

The coalition also highlighted contradictions in the election result tendered by Uzodinma as evidence, where election results are higher than voters.

The group said, “For us, the judgment constitutes nothing but an annulment of a valid election and judicial robbery of a popular mandate in a democracy, that can lead to the breakdown of democratic governance and the reign of civil disobedience and political anarchy in Imo State and the entire South-East region of Nigeria.

“For us, the judgment is a miracle as it completely overthrew all known judicial precedents and electoral jurisprudence in Nigeria.

“We therefore urge the court to do the right thing by correcting this error and pronounce Ihedioha as the rightful winner of the election.”

Uzodinma, who was declared governor of Imo on January 14 by the Supreme Court, said that he would no longer condone protests calling for his removal as governor.

He said, “My government will do all within the ambits of the law to maintain peace and order; those who are engaging in these incessant protests must stop forthwith.

"I took an oath to maintain peace and protect the lives and property of the citizens, I will not fail to deal with any group causing a breach of the peace in the state.”

Legal Politics