Constitute new panel, review, nullify Imo guber judgement, CSOs tell Supreme Court
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) is calling on the Supreme Court to review the Imo State gubernatorial judgement that sacked Emeka Ihedioha and made Senator Hope Uzodinma, the governor of Imo State.
The coalition said the Supreme Court should nullify the gubernatorial election in its review because the votes are invalid as declared by the Appeal Court and this has not been overturned by the Supreme Court.
Co-convener of the Alliance of Civil Societies in Review of Supreme Court Judgement on the Imo state Governorship, Livinus Ibiang said the alliance seeks a review that would be based on the clarity of judgement.
The group which addressed the media on Sunday at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Utako Abuja, said the judgement was rather confusing because the total figure of the result is higher than the number of accredited voters.
His words: “The Court owes Imolites and Nigerians, in general, the clarity as to what happened to the votes of the PDP and other parties in the 388 units tendered by the APC and its candidate.
“That the Court of Appeal had earlier dismissed the petition of Senator Hope Uzodinma as incompetent and struck it out. However, the Supreme Court did not consider the appeal of Hope Uzodinma on this point and so the judgement of the Court of Appeal dismissing the petition still stands or subsists. There was, therefore, no basis for the Supreme Court to pronounce on the Appeal and declare Hope Uzodinma, elected.
“That the judgement was delivered without jurisdiction in that by virtue of S.140(2) of the Electoral Act, once the Court says that the election was invalid, the only possible judgement the Court is allowed to give is a nullification of the election, and not to declare Hope Uzodinma the winner.
“That there was no proof before the Court nor did the Supreme Court state how it arrived at the declaration that Hope Uzodinma met the constitutionally required geographical spread. To meet this requirement, the Supreme Court ought to state the scores and percentages of all the 70 candidates that contested the election, Local Government by Local Government. This was not done by the Supreme Court and therefore had no basis and jurisdiction to declare Hope Uzodinma winner of the election.
“That the judgement was a nullity having been obtained by fraud or deceit in that Hope Uzodinma fraudulently misled the Supreme Court into holding that a total of 213,495 were unlawfully excluded from his votes. The fraud was further orchestrated by the fact that the total votes cast were more than the number of voters accredited to vote. The fraud was further demonstrated by the document tendered by INEC (FORM EC40G) which clearly showed that there were no valid elections in the disputed 388 polling units.
“That the judgement was a nullity because it was given per incuriam, which means that the Supreme Court did not advert its attention to some existing laws and facts even on the face of the proceedings. For instance;
“By Exhibit A1 (Form EC8D) the total number of voters accredited for the Governorship Election held on 9th March 2019 in Imo State was 823,743, while the total valid votes cast was 731,485. Note that the Petitioner did not plead or lead evidence of a different accreditation figure from the 388 disputed polling units.
“With the inclusion of 213,695 votes for Hope Uzodinma and 1,903 to the votes of Emeka Ihedioha, as ordered by the Supreme Court, the total number of votes cast at the election now stands at 953,083 (i.e. 731,485 + 213,695 + 1,903) making the total number of votes cast at the election to be far in excess of the total number of voters accredited for the election, 129,340.
“It is unlawful for the total number of votes cast in an election to exceed the number of accredited voters and that illegality rendered the judgment sought to be set aside null and void,” he said.