It’s undemocratic for courts to award electoral victories –Oshiomhole

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Adams Oshiomhole
All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on Tuesday said it was undemocratic for the courts to award electoral victories.

He said victory should be based on the poll outcome, and where necessary, re-run should be ordered.

Oshiomhole speaking with State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said the APC would push for an amendment of the Electoral Act.

Oshiomhole said: “The court should not impose. If the court finds out that the preferred candidate did not win, for me, the only democratic option, the legal option will be to repeat the exercise.

“Nothing should empower the court to impose a man rejected by the people on the people. That goes to the heart of democracy and it destroys the fabric of our democratic process.

“So, in amending the Electoral Act, one of the things I’ll like to see the Parliament do, and we are going to make a representation, is that in the unlikely event that the people have voted in good faith for a candidate that was validly put before them by INEC, if anybody has any issue with that one that the people prefer and has won, the court cannot impose the person that was rejected.

“The very best the court can do is to order that the exercise be repeated because in a democracy, nobody, other than the people, can choose who governs them, not the courts.

“For me, this is fundamental when it comes to who actually won the election.”

The APC National Chairman said the Supreme Court’s refusal to reverse its judgment on the Imo State governorship election was “not unexpected”.

Oshiomhole said: “I think they are just being consistent with the position they took in previous cases.

“Of course, as a party chairman, APC members and indeed, all democrats and all those who believe in the rule of law, we believe that as imperfect as the Supreme Court can be, they remain supreme.

“We are happy and we thank God that the whole litigation process has come to an end.”

Also on Tuesday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the APC disagreed on the Supreme Court ruling.

The PDP said the ruling amounted to an endorsement of electoral fraud.

In a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party praised Justice Chima Nweze for his dissenting opinion.

PDP said: “Our party abides completely by every word of the judgment of Justice Nweze as treated facts, which are truly sacred.

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“Justice Nweze’s pronouncement, which went straight into the substance of our application, represents a universal view about the travesty of justice that occurred in the Imo State governorship election judgment.

“It is indeed, unfortunate that the Supreme Court had the wholesome opportunity to redeem itself and correct its errors, but chose to hide behind a technicality to justify and endorse an electoral fraud.

“What Nigerians expected of the Supreme Court, since the error in its earlier judgment had been fully established, was to summon the courage to affirm its infallibility by correcting the errors and handing over victory to the rightful winner. Sadly, it failed to do so.

“For the avoidance of doubt, what the Supreme Court had done in this judgment is to uphold and legalise the writing of election results by individual contestants against the will of the people as expressed at the poll.

“As a party, we hold that on this judgment, all election stakeholders must rally to create remedies for this pathetic situation created by the Supreme Court in the Imo governorship election before our entire electoral process becomes vanquished.”

But, the APC congratulated Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma on the ruling.

A statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, reads: “As a law-abiding party, we believe in the sanctity of the rule of law and will always accept the decisions of the apex court, whether favourable or not.

“The APC will never choose the route of impugning on the integrity of our Judiciary, undermining other public institutions and threatening our democracy with unpatriotic utterances and actions.

“However, recent developments in the polity have made electoral and judicial reforms a matter of urgency and necessity.

“These are the tasks before the ninth National Assembly as it embarks on the constitution review exercise.

“We are confident the Imo people have chosen the right man for the job. Our congratulations, therefore, go to the good people of Imo State as they begin a new journey into prosperity under the capable watch of Governor Uzodinma.”

Also on Tuesday, Governor Uzodimma hailed the Supreme Court for re-affirming his election.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser, Oguwike Nwachuku, the governor said: “The judgment represents the expectation of the mandate of the people.

“We give God all the glory that at the end of the day, the truth came out. We commend the wisdom of the Supreme Court in standing by the truth.”

Uzodimma reiterated his resolve to take the state to the next level.

He called on all Imo sons and daughters, both at home and abroad, to contribute their quota to the development of the state.

To his opponents, the governor said: “In this business, you must show the spirit of sportsmanship. It’s not every time you win, it’s not every time you lose.

“When you win, you carry the losers along; when you lose you follow those that won. My plea to my opponents is to bring their ideas. Let us team up and create a synergy that will develop Imo State and bring succour to our people.”

A group, the South-East Revival Group (SERG), in a statement by its President/National Coordinator, Chief Willy Ezugwu, hailed the Supreme Court for not ridiculing itself.

It said: “At the South East Revival Group, we have always maintained that the verdict of the Supreme Court declaring Senator Hope Uzodinma winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State was an act of God.

“For us, the dismissal of the review is nothing but an affirmation of an act of God for the second time.

“Now that the distraction is over, we urge Governor Hope Uzodinma to see his second victory at the apex court as a stamp of divine ordination and use this opportunity to work for the good people of Imo State in particular and the entire Southeast in general.

“We reiterate our strong belief that Governor Uzodinma will outperform all former governors of Imo State at the end of his tenure.

“The SERG wishes Governor Hope Uzodinma a fruitful tenure and we urge the governor to carry all Imolites along in the running of his administration.”

Former Imo House of Assembly Speaker, Godfrey Dikeocha, praised the Supreme Court on the ruling.

He described it as justice according to law rather than sentiment, adding that any contrary judgment would have amounted to an assault on the Constitution and the law.

“As a lawyer, I commend the noble judges for a sound and legal judgement. It’s a victory for the rule of law.

“The integrity of the Supreme Court has been upheld by this judgment,” he stated.

PT

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