Imo: PDP, Ozekhome kick as Buhari hails Uzodinma’s Supreme Court victory/ Ihedioha and Uzodinma

President Muhammadu Buhari has hailed Supreme Court’s declaration of Hope Uzodinma, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the March 9 election in Imo State.

The Supreme Court had on Tuesday sacked Governor Emeka Ihedioha, ordering revocation of the certificate of return issued to him by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The presiding judge, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, while reading the final held “The votes due to the appellant, Hope Uzodinma and the All Progressives Congress (APC) from 388 polling units were wrongly excluded from scores ascribed to them.”

The judgement has been generating controversies across the country with many expressing shock over why Uzodinma who emerged fourth in the election results announced by INEC should be declared winner.

Commenting however, Buhari stated the court’s judgement was another evidence that the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man.

 He said: “The road to justice may be long and tortuous, but it is the best path for anyone aggrieved. Under the new administration, a new journey to build a new Imo with new energy is about to begin. In this outcome, it is the people of Imo State who have emerged victorious.”

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the judgement as unfortunate, alleging it further brought to the fore the country’s worsening democracy under the present administration.

The opposition party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said in a statement: “The party finds it difficult to understand how Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress, who came 4th in the March 9, 2019 governorship election, with just  96,458 votes, will suddenly, by the token of the judgment of the Supreme Court, defeat Chief Emeka Ihedioha/PDP who scored 276,404 votes.

“In fact, the PDP and indeed, most Nigerians are still at a loss as to understand the basis upon which the Supreme Court arrived at its decision.

“The party says it is lamentable that the destiny of the people of Imo state is being taken from the governor they chose and voted for and handed over to individuals and a political party that do not have their blessing and mandate and which they rejected at the election.”

Also commenting, a foremost lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), called for an interrogation of the court’s judgement.

His words: “There is ordinarily a presumption by the society that the supreme court, being the final court of the land, is supposed to be right in its decisions, after rigorous and painstaking perusal of cases brought before it between feuding parties.

“However, the next stage is for legal pundits, analysts and academicians, to dissect the judgement thoroughly, to decipher if it met the justice of the case, having regard to the available facts. I do not have these facts, not being one of the counsel in the appeal. They must interrogate whether the judgement actually delivered justice according to law. 

“After all, law is but a handmaid instituted by man to deliver justice. The two are siamese twins. One without the other is bare and vacuous. One area that needs critical analysis and  interrogation is what makes a candidate that came 4th in an election to be declared the winner of that election. Another area that requires an urgent answer is why INEC has so failed the nation that presidents and governors are now being packaged and delivered for the country and states, against  the clear choice of the electorate at the polls. 

“If INEC got its acts right, the judiciary’s frequent interventions would have been greatly minimised. Today, INEC is neither independent, impartial, nor well equipped to count the electorate’s votes and also allow such votes to count. That is the sorry state we are in today, especially since 2015. May God help Nigeria.” 

The APC, on its part, has commended Uzodinma’s victory, vowing to pursue its mandate in other states where the party’s mandate “was stolen.”

Speaking through a statement issued the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Lanre Issa-Onilu, the APC said: “The All Progressives Congress (APC) is ecstatic over the Supreme Court’s declaration of Senator Hope Uzodinma as the rightful winner of the 2019 Imo state Governorship election.

“Even as we are still wondering why we lost elections we clearly won in Zamfara State at the Supreme Court and how the same court ruled our party out of the electoral race in Rivers State, we have never, as a political party, lost faith in the judiciary.

“We salute Senator Hope Uzodinma, our supporters and members for their temperance displayed in the aftermath of the blatant rigging of the Imo Governorship election.

“We chose to focus on the judicial route to reclaim the Party’s mandate. We are confident that our other stolen electoral mandates will be restored by the courts. The APC calls on all Imo State APC stakeholders to come together in support of Senator Uzodinma to ensure the success of the Party’s Next Level agenda and to democratically entrench the APC in the state and entire South East.”


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