(Up Dated)Supreme Court Sacks Ihedioha, Declares Uzodinma Imo State Governor
…Orders Withdrawal Of Ihedioha’s Certificate Of Return
The Supreme Court today sacked Governor Ihedioha of Imo State, declaring that he was not duly elected the governor of the state, thereby declaring Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the duly elected governor of the state in the governorship election held in March.
This just as the also ordered that the Certificate of Return issued Ihedioha by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) be withdrawn.
A new Certificate of Return, the court also ordered should be issued to Uzodinma forthwith and that he should be sworn-in immediately as the governor of Imo state.
Supreme Court, in a unanimous judgement by a seven-man panel of justices headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, held that Ihedioha, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was not duly elected in the election.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who delivered the lead judgement declared Uzodinma of the APC, as the valid winner of the governorship contest that held in Imo state on March 9, 2019.
The Appeal Court in Abuja had in November 2019 dismissed three appeals challenging the election of Ihedioha.
A five-man panel of justices presided over by Justice Oyebisi Omoyele had dismissed the appeal by the Action Alliance (AA) candidate, Uche Nwosu; APC’s candidate, Hope Uzodinma and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ifeanyi Ararume challenging the election of Ihedioha.
The appeal by the AA and APGA were dismissed by unanimous judgements, While that APC candidate Hope Uzodinma was decided by a four to one split judgement.
The appellants had in their appeals against the judgement of the Imo State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Owerri argued that the election was marred by corrupt practices, non-compliance with the electoral laws and failure to secure the majority of lawful votes cast.
However, the Appeal Court upheld the findings and conclusions of the tribunal in the March 9 election where Ihedioha polled 273,404 votes to emerge victorious.
INEC had declared Ihedioha winner of the governorship election in Imo as he scored a total of 273, 404 to defeat the candidate of the AA, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, who got 190, 364, leaving a difference of 83, 040. The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Senator Ifeanyi Araraume got 114, 676, followed by the candidate of the APC, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who polled 96, 458. In the results announced by the Returning Officer, Prof. Francis Otunta, out of 2, 210,008 registered voters, 823, 743 were accredited out of which the election had 741, 355 valid votes cast and 25, 130 rejected votes.