Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad led Supreme Court seven-man panel on Tuesday delivered a very shocking judgement on the Imo State Governorship Election held on March 9, 2019.
The apex court nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate who was declared winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The CJN Muhammad led panel unanimously declared Hope Uzodinma, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who came fourth in the election as the authentic winner of the poll.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, one of the Supreme Court justices who read the judgement, ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate earlier issued to Ihedioha and issue a fresh certificate of return to Uzodinma.
The ruling was so shocking that Ihedioha’s lawyers remained shocked and unable to move in the court room for several minutes even after the judgement.
The apex court upheld that votes secured by APC’s Uzodinma in 388 polling units in the state were excluded in the final collation of the result. Consequently, the Supreme Court noted that with the inclusion of the votes, Uzodinma polled the highest lawful votes in the state.
The apex court nullified the ruling of the election tribunal and the Appeal Court which upheld Ihedioha’s election, saying that the lower courts misunderstood the petition of the APC candidate.
“The lower court misunderstood the case of the appellants. The case was not a case of exclusion from the election but exclusion of votes from final results,” the court ruled.
The lawyers of the PDP candidate also argued that based on the judgement delivered on December 20, 2019, by the Supreme Court, Hope Uzodinma is not the candidate of the APC. The lawyers noted that the apex court declared Uche Nwosu as the candidate of both the APC and Action Alliance and consequently nullified the nomination of Mr. Nwosu, which means the APC and AA had no candidate in the election.
However, the judge noted that the issue of nomination was a pre-election issue that could not be raised in a post-election litigation.
Does that mean that the nullification of Uzodinma’s candidacy by the same Supreme Court is no more valid?
According to the result announced by the Imo State Returning Officer, Prof. Francis Atunta who is the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Umundike, Abia State, the total registered voters across the state’s 27 local government areas of the state is 2,221,008 and the total accredited voters as 823,743
He stated that of the accredited voters, 739,485 votes were cast, 714,355 were valid votes and 25,130 votes were cancelled across the state.
The PDP candidate, Emeke Ihedioha, got 273,404 votes, while his closest rival Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance, got 190,364 votes.
The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ifeanyi Ararume came third with 114,676 votes, while Uzondima of the All Progressives Congress (APC) came fourth with 96,458.
Read the shocking ruling below in parts;
“The judgment of the lower court which declared the first appellant as the winner with the majority of lawful votes is hereby set aside.
“It is hereby declared that votes due to the appellants – Hope Uzodinma and the All Progressives Congress – were wrongfully excluded.
“It is ordered that the votes unlawfully excluded should be added.
“The first respondent (Ihedioha) was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes and his return as the winner of the election is hereby declared null and void.
“The first appellant (Uzodinma) polled the majority of the Imo State governorship election held on March 9, 2019 and got the required spread across the state.
“The first appellant is the winner of the governorship election held on March 9, 2019 in Imo State.”
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.