Amby Uneze writes that the Appeal Court’s verdict validating the election of Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State as winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election may have put to rest series of litigations challenging his election
At last the much talked about Appeal Court case to decide the fate of governorship election in Imo State held on March 9 has come and gone. To all lovers of democracy and good governance, it was a welcome development and an opportunity for Imolites to breathe fresh air. Apparently, it was a disappointment of sorts to some. However, the overall expectation of the people was met because the judgment of the Appeal Court justices was in tune with their anticipation.
Come to think of it, if the verdict had gone the other way, Imo State would have been taken several years backward. This would have been akin to starting afresh, probably for a re-run election, man-hours to be wasted in preparation, wasted of funds that would have been ploughed into useful developmental purposes, the insecurity such situation would have been generated, including possible politically motivated killings and thuggery. All these political calamities have been aborted and the impeccable judgment of the acclaimed five-man jurists has paved way for robust progress and development in the state.
It is not in doubt that majority of Imo people both those residing at home and in the Diaspora wanted for a change of governance through the March 9, 2019 governorship election and they actually trooped out to vote for the candidate of their choice. Having taken a closer and deeper examination individually and collectively of all the many governorship candidates from political parties, their most formidable choice was Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, who was then the governorship flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). From his very rich credentials, he happened to be their best bet, having been a former Nigerian Number Six citizen. As Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, he discharged his duties at the national level without blemish. In Ihedioha, Imo people saw a humble servant-leader, a due process icon, an intelligent public administrator and an achiever of inestimable dimension.
Therefore, the judgment has brought harmony, security of lives and property, promotion of ease of doing business, opened doors for numerous investors who were abintio skeptical of the would-be outcome of the ruling to express more interest to invest in the state, good governance awards and above all; rest of mind on the part of the citizens. No wonder, the ecstasy and aura that enveloped on the streets of Owerri, the Imo State capital on the day the judgment was delivered showed that God has really answered their prayers. At least, the boat of governance was not rocked. Everybody heaved a sigh of relief.
Thanking the people of the state and the judiciary, Ihedioha said the ‘Rebuild Imo Agenda’ of his administration was on course, just as he dedicated his victory at the Court of Appeal to God.
Ihedioha, also thanked the PDP family, the people of Imo state and the learned justices who vindicated his mandate.
According to him, “I wish to convey my sincere thanks to Almighty God over the disposal of the Imo state governorship appeal. The learned justices once again vindicated the mandate delivered to us by the good people of Imo State. We also tender our gratitude to the good people of Imo State, the PDP party faithful and our teeming supporters for your prayers, solidarity and faith all through the process of the election petitions tribunal hearings and subsequent appeal.
Ihedioha also said the judiciary has again demonstrated it is the last bastion of justice and liberty in a democracy. “Their judgment has reaffirmed our confidence in our judicial system.”
He reiterated that he bears no ill against those with different political leanings who challenged the mandate freely given to him by the good people of Imo State.
He maintained that, “The Rebuild Imo Agenda is on course. I bear none of my adversaries any ill will. I harbour neither bitterness nor rancour. I have maintained my earlier invitation that they should come and together, let us Rebuild Imo State.”
Affirming that effort to rebuild the state is a collective one, he noted that he was not unmindful that there would be opposition on path. “While I affirm that the effort is a collective one, I am not unmindful that there would be opposition on our path. But with God on our side, we shall rise above every mountain of antagonism, overcome layers of impediments and cross every Rubicon to deliver to our people quality infrastructure, functional welfare amenities and a prosperous economy.
“During the electioneering campaigns, I did assure our people that Imo state, under my watch would stand firmly on the rule of law. Indeed, this judgment today, once again, has strengthened our resolve to be guided by this solemn promise,” he stated.
Ihedioha assured that Imo State shall be great again, adding, “together, we shall make Imo great again. There is therefore, “no victor, nor vanquished. He quoted the Bible in Proverbs 21:31, “A horse prepared for the day of battle, but victory is of the lord,” he declared.
What should be urgent on the mind of indigenes and residents of the state is to achieve peace and make progress so that the state can be united and move forward. The essence of wanting to govern a state should not be anything more than peace and progress, hence all hands should be on deck to have a more united, peaceful and progressive Imo state.
In the word of the father of India, Mahatma Gandhi “there is a higher court than courts of justice, and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.” This advice is targeted at the three Imo sons, who are distinguished in their own rights and should also help the state by eschewing their grievances and come to terms to make peace and progress for the state.
The decision of the Appeal Court justices to unanimously uphold the decision of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which affirmed the election of Governor Ihedioha and dismissed the appeals filed by Chief Uche Nwosu of Action Alliance (AA), Senator Ifeanyi Araraume of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Senator Hope Uzodinma of All Progressives Congress (APC) against governor Ihedioha, with a fine of N500,000 against each the appellants, should be seen as a gallant effort by the trio to address a perceived electoral wrong. However, it is time for them to sheathe their swords and align with the governor to build a greater Imo State.
It is pertinent to note that the trio had fought a good battle, but one thing is very sacrosanct, and that is; winning does not come all time. It would also be a noble thing for them to ignore or withdraw further appeal of the matter to the Supreme Court, because so far they have done their best. What Imo people want now and urge them to do is to carry their shoulders high and return home and embrace the governor as brothers that mean well for the state.
The decision of the Appeal Court justices to unanimously uphold the ruling of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which affirmed the election of Governor Ihedioha and dismissed the appeals filed by Chief Uche Nwosu of Action Alliance (AA), Senator Ifeanyi Araraume of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Senator Hope Uzodinma of All Progressives Congress (APC) against governor Ihedioha, with a fine of N500,000 against each the appellants, should be seen as a gallant effort by the trio to address a perceived electoral wrong. However, it is time for them to sheathe their swords and align with the governor to build a greater Imo State