Supreme Court Dismisses Suit against Uzodimma

Supreme Court Dismisses Suit against Uzodimma

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Supreme Court, yesterday, dismissed a motion seeking to sack Senator Hope Uzodimma as Governor of Imo State, on grounds that he was not validly nominated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to contest the 2019 governorship election.

A five-man panel of the court, led by Justice Inyang Okoro, dismissed the motion for being frivilous, vexatious, incompetent and lacking in merit.

Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who was initially declared governor by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had brought the application challenging Uzodimma’s continued stay in office as governor, following the apex court judgment in another appeal, where the apex court voided the participation of Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA) on grounds of double nomination.

Although the motion was filed over three years ago, it was however listed for hearing few weeks back.

Ihedioha had applied to be joined as an interested party in the appeal initially filed by Nwosu.

Ihedioha and his party had specifically asked the Supreme Court to give effect to its 2019 verdict that disqualified Nwosu on the ground that he was nominated by both the AA and the All Progressives Congress (APC), to contest the election.

It was their submission that since the Supreme Court in its judgment had recognised Nwosu as candidate of the APC, there was no legal basis for its subsequent judgment that sacked Ihedioha and declared Uzodimma, who was also sponsored by the same APC, as the valid winner of the governorship poll.

Consequently, the PDP urged the apex court to restore its candidate, Ihedioha, back to office, since the APC was precluded from sponsoring two candidates in the election.

Delivering judgment in the appeal, the apex court held that it had no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal, which it described as frivolous and highly vexatious.

The apex court proceeded to award a personal cost of N40 million against Chief Mike Ozehkome, SAN, who represented the PDP and Ihedioha in the matter.

The applicants in an affidavit they filed in support of the motion and deposed to by one Adedamola Falokun, averred that, “The third Respondent/Applicant (PDP) is neither in any way seeking a review of the valid, subsisting and well-considered judgment of this court delivered in this appeal in 2019, nor seeking a review of the judgment of this court delivered on January 14, 2020 in SC/462/2019, but humbly seeking that this court give effect to its judgment delivered on December 20, 2019.

“That this court has the constitutional, inherent powers and jurisdiction to grant the reliefs sought and give effects to its judgment. That it is in the interest of justice for this court to exercise its wide discretionary powers in favour of granting this application as prayed.”

They argued further that Uzodimma was not the candidate of the APC based on the court’s judgment that Nwosu was nominated by both the APC and the AA.

The applicants then urged the apex court to hold that “both the AA and APC did not sponsor and/or field any candidate for the governorship election held in Imo State on March 9, 2019 in view of the double nomination of the Appellant/Respondent by the two political parties aforesaid, and his subsequent disqualification as their gubernatorial candidate, as found by this honourable court in its judgment.”

But the apex court in its judgment dismissed the application for want of jurisdiction and subsequently ordered counsel to the applicants to pay the respondents N40 million as cost for defending the appeal.

They respondents include the Action People’s Party (APP), Uche Nnadi, Uche Nwosu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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