As Imolites await the former governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, application hearing by Supreme Court tomorrow, Monday 2, 2020, the sacked governor, has maintained that condition around his case is different from the one the All Progressive Congress, APC, filed concerning the Bayelsa State governorship election.
He stated that the affidavit he filed in support of his application dated February 28, was not an invitation of the Supreme Court to sit on appeal over its judgment that ousted him from office on January 14, rather, he his praying the apex court, to set aside its January 14, 2020 that removed him from office for being a nullity.
Recall that, a seven-man panel of Justices of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, had on February 18, adjourned till Monday, 2nd March, 2020, to hear the fresh application Ihedioha and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, filed to set aside the verdict that sacked him from office as Imo state governor and installed Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressive Congress, APC.
Ihedioha, in his fresh five grounds of appeal, contended that the Supreme Court lacked the jurisdiction to declare Uzodinma governor in the absence of any proof that votes ascribed to him met the mandatory geographical spread.
He argued that the CJN-led panel failed to consider subsisting judgement of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal that dismissed Uzodinma’s petition after it affirmed the verdict of the Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
Meanwhile, corroborating on why his case in different, Ihedioha in a statement through his lead counsel and former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Kanu Agabi (SAN), Ihedioha said: “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.
“Contrary to the depositions by the respondents, there is nowhere in the judgment of this honourable 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 appellant/respondents misled this court to add to the 366 polling units to make up the 388 polling units”, he added.
It would also be recalled that, Uzodinma had since filed a preliminary objection wherein he urged the Supreme Court to dismiss Ihedioha’s application. Uzodinma maintained that the apex court has lost its powers to hear and determine any application relating to the governorship election that held in Imo state on March 9, 2019.
According to him, “The application constitutes an invitation to the Supreme Court to sit on appeal over its final decision.”
“Having delivered its final decision on the 1st and 2nd Respondents’ Appeal No. SC. 1462/2019 between Senator Hope Uzodinma & Anor v Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha & 2 Ors., the Supreme Court has become fuctus officio and divested of jurisdiction over the same subject matter.
“Order 8 Rule 16 of the Supreme Court Rules 2014 prohibits this Honourable Court from reviewing its judgment once given and delivered, save to correct clerical mistakes or accidental slip.
“The judgment sought to be set aside having been given effect by the inauguration of the 1st Respondent/Objector as Governor of Imo State, this Honourable Court lacks the jurisdiction to grant the prayer sought”, he added.