APGA: Imo Election Tribunal Judgment Mockery of Judiciary, Democracy


Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja

The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) said yesterday that the judgment of the Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal delivered on Saturday, was a mockery of the nation’s judiciary and democracy, and wondered why the judges overlook the “avalanche of monumental evidence’’ presented at the tribunal for the cancellation of the election.

The Imo State Election Tribunal, sitting at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Jabi, Abuja, had dismissed petitions filed by APGA, APC and AA, seeking to upturn the election of Emeka Ihedioha as governor of the state.

The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Umar Dogondaji, in its ruling on Saturday, affirmed the election of Ihedioha as the lawfully elected governor of the state.

But addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, Dr. Henry Uzo Okafor and Emma Nwosu, the Chairman and the Organising Secretary of Imo State Chapter of APGA respectively, said the judgment was a “clear case of travesty of justice, a total miscarriage of justice and a slap/rape on the face’’ of the country’s judicial system.

“How can learned justices close their eyes on constitutional issues? The issue of Ihedioha not getting the mandatory 25 per cent of the 2/3 of LGA’s in Imo State is in the public domain; such that every Imo person is aware of that including, the Governor Emeka Ihedioha and his supporters. As a result, the least the people expected to be the outcome of the judgment was a cancellation and fresh election directed.

“Even the evidence of expert witnesses on the issue of spread were thrown overboard, stating that they were not the makers of the documents. The glaring evidence of scoring 25 per cent in 11 LGAs of Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise, Ezirihitte Mbaise, Ikeduru, Mbaitoli, Ngor Okpalla, Owerri West, Owerri Municipal. Owerri North, Oguta and Obowo, and in 16 LGAs where he failed woefully to garner the 25 per cent viz, Isiala Mbano, Ehime Mbano, Onuimo, Okigwe, Ihitte Uboma, Oru East, Oru West, Orlu, Ohaji/Egbema, Orsu,Ideato North, Ideato South, Nkwerre, Nwangele, Isu and Njaba cannot be controverted’’, the party said.

The party further stated that in law, there is the principle/legal maxim of res ipsa loquito, that is, the fact speaks for itself is available, arguing that the tribunal in the course of the proceeding was invited to take judicial notice of form EC8D, which were the summary results from the 27 LGAs of Imo State in which the scores of every candidate in each of the LGAs are contained.

APGA further explained that what this means is that the tribunal can on its volition take a critical look at the document to confirm if the issue raised was right or wrong to form their opinion, questioning what led the tribunal to such judgement.

Describing the judgment as a charade and injustice to the party’s candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, the party, and the people of Imo State, the party said it has started the process to appeal the case and also called on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to investigate the case.