As the Supreme Court hears the application for a review of Imo governorship election ruling today, Emeka Ihedioha, the sacked governor of Imo State, has told the apex court that the facts and circumstances of his application before the court were different and distinguishable from the one filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, David Lyon, with respect to the governorship election in Bayelsa State.
Ihedioha made the distinction in his further affidavit in support of his application dated February 28, wherein he argued that his application before the apex court was not in any way seeking review of the court’s judgment or asking the apex court to sit on appeal over its judgment.
The former governor had approached the apex court to set aside the January 14 judgment which removed him from office as Imo State governor and installed the All Progressives Congress (APC) Hope Uzodinma as his replacement.
Ihedioha explained that his application was seeking the court “to set aside its January 14, 2020 that removed him from office for being a nullity.
“The application is not an academic exercise or an invitation to this honourable court to answer hypothetical questions as the issue of nullity of the judgment of January 14, 2020 is neither academic nor hypothetical.
“Contrary to the deposition by Governor Hope Uzodinma, he (Uzodinma) never stated the results of the other 68 candidates that participated in the election at the 388 polling units, as their scores were not indicated anywhere
He further argued that contrary to the depositions by the respondents, there is nowhere in the judgment of the apex court delivered on January 14, 2020 in which the decision of the lower court striking out the petition for incompetence was set aside or upturned.
“On the contrary, the judgment of this honourable court only set aside the judgment of the lower court affirming the judgment of the governorship election tribunal.
“The order of the lower court striking out the petition was not an affirmation of any decision of the governorship election tribunal.
“That the failure to state the results of the other 68 candidates that participated in the election in the disputed 388 polling units and the 1st appellant/respondent’s (Uzodinma) admission under cross examination of allocating to himself more votes than the total registered voters in the identified units are all manifest on the face of the record of the Supreme Court.
“That no evidence was led as to how Governor Uzodinma satisfied the mandatory spread required under section 179(2) of the 1999 constitution.
“That while Uzodinma and his APC claimed that results from 388 polling units were excluded which this court ordered to be added to him, PW54, whose evidence they relied upon, testified that he came to tender results of only 366 polling units.
“Under cross examination, PW54 admitted that the result he tendered was even less than the number (366) he alleged he had come to tender.
“Even going by the number of 366 polling units stated by PW54, nothing in the judgment of this court explained the difference, particularly the number of votes in 22 polling units that the appellants/ respondents misled this court to add to the 366 polling units to make up the 388 polling units,” Ihedioha stated.
It Won’t Upturn Imo Judgment— Sagay, Ubani
Nevertheless, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), has said it was likely that the judges would maintain their position as they did in the Bayelsa case.
Sagay said: “I don’t expect any difference from what happened in the Bayelsa case. The Supreme Court is likely to maintain its position.”
Also sharing Sagay’s view, Monday Ubani, a former 2nd Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said the judges might not upturn the judgment based on their pronouncements on the Bayelsa review.
“If you listen to the court vividly, it dismissed the application for the review of the Bayelsa case because, according to them, they don’t see anything they have done wrong.
“My understanding of what the Supreme Court is saying is that if we have to review our judgment, you have to show us the grounds for what was wrong; not for them to come and sit on appeal again.
“My view is that they may not upturn the judgment based on what we heard them say concerning the Bayelsa review,” he said.
Supreme Court Won’t Act Against Us — PDP
Meanwhile, as the Supreme Court decides Imo State governorship election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday said that the party is not confronting the apex court.
Recall that PDP and its governorship candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, had gone back to Supreme Court for review of its judgment after Ihedioha was sacked as the governor of the state.
Fielding questions from newsmen shortly after a press conference, the spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, explained that PDP’s case is different from that of the All Progressives Congress (APC) which challenged Supreme Court Judgment in Bayelsa State.
He said that unlike the APC, their lawyers will not be sanctioned because the Supreme Court was misled by the APC.
Emphasising that it’s not confronting the Supreme Court, the party said that PDP is only presenting its case before it for them to understand that they were misled into taking the decision, adding that it does not see Supreme Court acting against PDP.
The party said: “We hold firmly that there will be no sanctions against our lawyers. Because the reason we went to the Supreme Court is to state clearly that they were misled by the All Progressive Congress (APC) into their judgment.
“We are at the Supreme Court to state clearly that the votes the Supreme Court declared for the APC is even more than the total number of registered votes. The highest court in the land was misled into taking that decision.
“We are not confronting the Supreme Court as a political party, no. The PDP and our candidate, Rt. Hon. Emeka, who has a history of political participation in Nigeria, has had the opportunity of leading the House that has constitutional responsibility to make law, will not go like that. And our party that nurtured democracy for over 20 years will not confront the Supreme Court.”
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Lambasting the APC over the report circulating that PDP has withdrawn its court case in Imo, the party said, “One thing you must give to the APC is its capacity for manipulation. Whether in a political environment or in the judicial environment. They are just mere manipulators. There is nowhere the PDP sat down to contemplate or express fear over our decision to ask the Supreme Court to guard its own infallibility. Nowhere.
“What we are going back to say is that in your judgment you were misled and these are the facts. So are we not helping the course of justice by so doing? The PDP is helping the course of justice by so doing. And it’s helping the Supreme Court to further strengthen its infallibility.
“If the APC cannot conduct ordinary internal democracy and who will even fail to check its candidate to ensure that they do not bring candidates that have no certificate or that are certificate forgers now come to the public arena to claim that the PDP is afraid, afraid of what?
“We understand democracy better than the APC, we know the import of democracy, we know our right within the confines of democracy. And as such, we owe it a responsibility to our country because we all belong to the same nation.”