Alex Enumah in Abuja and Amby Uneze in Owerri
A former Imo State Governor, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has told the Supreme Court that the facts and circumstances of his application before the court are different and distinguishable from the one filed by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and i’s candidate, David Lyon with respect to the governorship election of Bayelsa State.
As the apex court delivers its judgment today, there is obvious anxiety among the people of the state, as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Okigwe has asked God for intervention.
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 Hope Uzodinma as his replacement, to March 2.
However the apex court had on February 18 adjourned hearing in the application to Monday March 2, following a request by Ihedioha’s lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN) for time to reply the respondents.
However, in between the adjourned date, a similar application brought by the APC and its sacked governor-elect for Bayelsa State, David Lyon and his deputy, Degi-Eremienyo for reversal of its judgment was dismissed by the court.
In a unanimous judgment, a seven-man panel of Justices of the apex court headed by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, dismissed the two different applications that sought the setting aside of the February 13 judgment that went against Lyon and his deputy.
Justice Amina Augie, who delivered the lead judgment, described the fresh applications that were filed by Lyon and his deputy, as well as the All Progressive Congress, APC, as “highly vexatious, frivolous and gross abuse of the judicial process”.
It held that the applications were aimed at “desecrating the sanctity of the court”, stressing that it was an invitation for the Supreme Court to sit on appeal over its final judgment in violation of the Constitution.
However Ihedioha explained that his application is seeking the court “to set aside it’s 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 by the appellants”, he said in the latest affidavit.
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”, he submitted.
Ahead of today’s decision, some people expressed mix feelings over the outcome of the review while supporters of both Ihedioha and Uzodinma argued with optimism that the review would be in their favour.
As Uzodinma’s men backed their argument on the finality of the apex court judgment, Ihedioha’s allies claimed that the judgement was bedevilled with errors, hence reversible.
Meanwhile at a protest held at Isiala Mbano Council area yesterday, civil society groups, PDP members and religious leaders sought God’s intervention through prayers.
Speaking Rev. Fr. Wence Isiguzo, Rev. Cletus Chinonso, Oma Pius Oma and Hon. Misheal Ozoemena, Chairmen of Isiala Mbano and Onuimo PDP, Maurice Emezue, among others insisted that Supreme Court should reverse its judgment in the interest of peace, posterity and justice.
Oma said: “We are calling on God to allow justice to reign. We believe that He will listen to our cries and grant us our prayers. No doubt, the entire Imo people want Ihedioha back because he is the one we massively voted for. And we have strong faith that the review on Monday will end in thanksgiving.”
The protest attracted party chieftains from the zone including Chief Linus Anyahara, Hon. Alex Onyemaobi, Mr. Longinus Emenalom, Hon. Charles Martins Ibekwe, Coordinator Team Ihedioha Isiala Mbano, Sir Chinedu Ahamfule and Mr. Emma Chukwuonye.