The final might not have been heard in regards to the contest for the Imo State governorship seat as Emeka Ihedioha returns to the Supreme Court docket at present to hunt a evaluate of the judgment that eliminated him from workplace.
The courtroom had on January 14, 2020 sacked Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Get together (PDP) on the bottom that he didn’t rating the lawful majority votes within the March 9, 2019 governorship election. In his place, the apex courtroom, after including the cancelled outcomes of the 388 polling items to the votes scored by Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC), ordered that he be instantly sworn in because the duly elected governor.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the apex courtroom held that Ihedioha was not duly elected and that “his election was void and unlawful.”
The courtroom consequently put aside the judgment of the Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and that of the Court docket of Enchantment, each of which had refused to recognise the votes from the 388 polling items and to just accept that the outcomes have been unlawfully excluded within the common collation.
The Guardian obtained a certified-true-copy of the report of the attraction filed on the Supreme Court docket by Uzodinma and APC, issued by Nwana Ejike, Registrar of the Court docket of Enchantment, Owerri, from an earlier report compiled by Ibrahim Garba, Secretary of the Imo State Election Petition Tribunal, which exhibits that there have been mathematical and factual inconsistencies which the apex courtroom ignored.
Within the data tendered on the tribunal, Uzodinma, from pages 9 to 27 of his petition, drew a desk of votes allocation which he claimed have been the figures obtained from the duplicate copies of Varieties EC8A handed over to his get together brokers on the 388 polling items, the outcomes of which have been excluded within the general results of the election.
From the desk he compiled from the 388 polling items, there have been 252,452 registered voters, out of which 213,695 voted for APC, and 1,903 voted for Ihedioha.
However the desk doesn’t point out both the whole variety of accredited voters or the variety of invalid votes, if any, and the votes allotted to the remaining 68 candidates that contested the election, except for Uzodinma and Ihedioha.
Additionally, the duplicate Varieties EC8A tendered by the PW54, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Rabiu Hussein, confirmed that there have been no fewer than six polling items the place extra votes have been recorded above the registered variety of voters.
As an example, on determine quantity 69 which exhibits votes solid at Eziama/Okpala (Umualum Village Sq., Eziama), the whole variety of registered voters was 492, whereas the desk exhibits that the APC scored 819 votes and PDP scored 7 votes, that means that 334 extra votes than the registered voters have been recorded, other than the votes polled by the opposite candidates on the election that weren’t proven on the desk.
Equally, on web page 22 of the petition referencing polling unit 282, the variety of registered voters was put at 591, whereas the tabulation exhibits that APC polled 586 votes and PDP 9 votes, indicating a complete of 4 votes larger than the registered variety of voters. This, once more, excluded the votes scored by the opposite candidates.
On the identical web page 22 of the report, on the polling unit 285 (Obudi/Aro, Central Meeting Sq., Unusable 11) with 449 registered voters, APC was credited with 780 votes and PDP with 4 votes, leaving a complete of 335 votes larger than the precise variety of registered voters.
Figures obtained from web page 79 of the report of attraction underneath merchandise 384 present that APC scored 526 votes, whereas PDP was credited with two votes, and the whole votes solid was put at 526, indicating two votes larger than the whole quantity registered voters within the space.
However in its judgment, the Supreme Court docket stated that the votes from the disputed 388 polling items have been wrongly excluded from the votes of Uzodinma.
By counting on the tabulation made by Uzodinma, the Supreme Court docket arrived at a determine of 950,952 votes, which is greater than the 823,743 votes solid on the election, thereby affirming 127,209 extra votes.
Criticism has continued to path the Supreme Court docket judgment because it was delivered, with protest rallies held in Imo and different states within the south east.
A coalition of civil society organisations yesterday referred to as on the Supreme Court docket to view the judgment.
The group held that going by way of the briefs of argument among the many events, it was apparent that as residents, “the judgment learn by the Supreme Court docket didn’t accord with widespread sense and didn’t appear to fulfill the ends of justice.”
The spokesman of the coalition of over 10 teams and Govt Director, Abuja Dialogue Group, Dr. Manzo Abubakar, chronicled a number of alleged anomalies within the judgment and requested the apex courtroom to rescind itself even when it means invoking the ‘judicial doctrine of necessity.’
In keeping with Abubakar, it’s only by so doing that the Supreme Court docket can restore justice, peace, hope and religion within the nation’s democracy and regain the boldness of the folks within the judiciary.
“The boldness of Nigerians within the judiciary is on the lowest and we imagine that the Supreme Court docket may help to revive it and save future elections. The judgment will go down in infamy and will make Nigeria a laughing inventory within the comity of countries if not reviewed.”
He added that Part 176 (2b) of the structure makes it clear that to be declared as governor, a candidate should not solely rating a majority of complete votes solid but additionally 1/four of the votes in 2/three of the native governments of the state.
“It’s axiomatic that nowhere within the petition or proof did the petitioner, (Uzodinma) declare that he met the constitutional requirement of unfold to be declared the winner”, the group stated.
The teams maintained that with the judgment of January 14, the apex courtroom had denied the Imo folks the chance to selected their leaders.
Whereas sympathising with their lordships over their heavy workload and quick time period inside which to learn briefs and provides judgment, the coalition stated such constraints would have led to the ‘defective’ judgment.
“To err is human. It will be virtually inconceivable for any human to have learn briefs and report of proceedings exceeding 5000 pages within the matter inside two hours after listening to, when he additionally had stress of time to ship judgment within the remaining pending governorship appeals. Little doubt, this accounted for the errors made by the apex courtroom.
“The Supreme Court docket is supreme and may creatively reinvent its guidelines to do justice. It’s crucial to take action now greater than ever to save lots of the Nigerian democracy, constitutionalism and retrieve the judicial and justice system from its current opprobrium,” the teams stated.
An Abuja-based authorized practitioner, Godwin Emagun, is of the view that the addition by the Supreme Court docket to Uzodinma’s votes made the whole variety of votes to exceed the whole variety of accredited voters in violation of Part 53 of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended), significantly Part 8 (b) of the Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) Pointers for the 2019 election.
“The Supreme Court docket can not settle for outcomes with out certification. This violates S. 89 (e) and (f ) and 90 (c ) of the Proof Act 2011 which states that each one public paperwork have to be licensed earlier than it may be tendered in proof.”
Emagun stated the outcomes from the disputed 388 polling items have been neither licensed by INEC, who’re the issuers of the doc, nor the police in whose custody they claimed the paperwork emanated.
Otome Adamidenyo, one other lawyer based mostly in Warri, Delta State and Nation Director, Residents Rights Initiative, stated the decision fell wanting the essential authorized indices for measuring a good and unbiased judgment.
He stated to have allowed a police officer to tender paperwork which he was not their creator and which served as the muse upon which the very case stood defeated the basic ideas of admissibility of paperwork.
The Head, Authorized Unit of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Princewill Akpakpan, stated: “Given the rising details arising from the Supreme Court docket judgment within the gubernatorial election in Imo State, the CLO is of the view that the request for the evaluate of the case is critical”.
He famous that this could allow the courtroom to have a look at all of the details to find out whether or not there have been details that weren’t at its disposal or the choice was reached per incuriam.
Akpakpan maintained that the evaluate would additionally make the aggrieved events and most people to see that justice has been achieved even when the courtroom would possibly nonetheless attain the identical conclusion within the case.
“The evaluate, although I’m not positive of the actual rule the PDP could also be coming underneath, would give the chance for the courtroom to revive what the general public sees as ‘a misplaced confidence within the case’,” he stated.
Already, Ihedioha and his authorized workforce have approached the Supreme Court docket in search of a evaluate of the judgment.