Uzodinma remains governor of Imo State – Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has thrown out the appeal for review of its earlier judgment brought by Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP, saying it lacks the power to sit in appeal over its decision thus finally voiding any hope of Ihedioha returning as governor of Imo State. The application was thus dismissed without any cost awarded to any party.
The judgment which was read by Justice Olukayode Ariwola was concurred by all the other justices except Justice Cyril Chima Nweze who read a dissenting ruling in which he averred that Hope Uzodinma cannot profit from an election he wanted invalidated.
Justice Nweze said that Udodinma misled the Supreme Court into awarding him victory hence should return the Certificate of Return issued to him by INEC which in turn shall be issued to Ihedioha. But his ruling remains a minority ruling. The verdict is: Uzodinma remains the governor of Imo State.
The Supreme Court had adjourned until Tuesday, hearing in application filed by Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), asking it to review a judgment on Imo governorship that declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the March 9, 2019, election.
Ihedioha and the PDP had approached the court after the apex court on Jan, 14 nullified his victory and declared Uzodinma as the winner of the election. Ihedioha was earlier declared the winner of the election by the electoral umpire, INEC
The apex court had resumed hearing on Monday, however, after announcing appearances, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, counsel to Ihedioha asked for adjournment because they were served with court processes in the court. The seven-man panel of justices led by Justice Tanko Mohammed adjourned the case until March 2 to allow them time to study the process served.
The application which was slated for hearing on Feb. 18 was earlier adjourned to March 2, based on the applicant’s counsel request.
The lawyer representing Uzodinma and his party, the All Progressives Congress, Damian Dodo,SAN, and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Taminu Inuwa, SAN, did not oppose the application for adjournment.
The apex court had, in a unanimous judgment nullified the election of Ihedioha and ordered that Sen. Hope Uzodinma of the APC be sworn in as governor.
The apex court had nullified Ihedioha’s election as Imo governor and declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the winner of the March 9 governorship election in the state.
The apex court set aside the judgments of the state governorship election petition tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
The lower court which affirmed Iheodioha’s election, held that he was not validly elected as the governor of the state and consequently ordered that the certificate of return issued to him be retrieved and issued to Uzodinma.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who read the unanimous decision of the apex court on Jan. 14, held that the lower courts erred when it rejected the evidence tendered before them to the extent that the votes from the 388 polling units were not credited to the APC and Uzodinma.
Dissatisfied with the verdict of the apex court, Ihedioha, through his legal team, approached the Supreme Court in a motion on notice dated Feb. 5, seeking to nullify the judgment delivered by the Court on Jan. 14.