A group of eminent leaders of thoughts and front line leaders in the organised civil societies, as well as the Third Force Movement in Nigeria, have commended the Nigerian Supreme Court for its decision to review its ruling on the Imo State Governorship Elections, which had raised serious questions about the present state of the Nigerian Judiciary.
The group in a joint statement in Abuja on Sunday and signed by their Spokesperson, Dr Olusegun Awe Obe, said the latest decision of the Apex Court to review its earlier ruling was a sign of maturity and openness by the Judiciary that would go a long way to calm frayed nerves and douse the heightening political tension in South East and the country at large.
The group also hailed the International Community and concerned eminent Nigerians for their diplomatic vigilance and interventions respectively on the worrisome Supreme Court on the 2019 Governorship Elections in Imo State, a ruling, which had since foisted strong ripples among Nigerians over the survival of democracy and peace in South-East and Nigeria at large.
The group said they planned to further mobilise and rally National leaders of conscience like Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, Prof Ben Nwabueze, SAN, Former Head of State, Gen Abdusalami Abubarkar, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Bishop Mathew Kukah, Dr Kalu Idika Kalu, Solomon Asemota, SAN, Prof Pat Utomi, Dr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, Comrade Shehu Sanni, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Dr Obby Ezekwesili, the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA and the International Community, among others, to help monitor the Judicial review on Imo Governorship Elections coming up on Tuesday at the Supreme Court.
It will be recalled that the body, had previously avered that apart from the fact that the total valid votes, which the Supreme Court based its ruling on erroneously exceeded the Total Accredited Voters by INEC in the elections, Senator Hope Uzodinma may also not have fulfilled the constitutional requirements for a validly elected governor of having to score at least one-quarter of all the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the Local Government Areas in the State.
The group also raised the question of double standard in the Supreme Court judgement, “If their Lordships have already declared Uche Nwosu as the validly elected candidate of APC, it’s then illogical to again declare Hope Uzodinma as the validly elected governor on the platform of same APC, since there’s no provision for independent candidate in the Nigerian constitution, “Since it’s not possible to build something on nothing, it may amount to approbation and reprobation on the part of the Apex Court to declare Uzodinma whose candidature of the APC has been initially rendered a nullity,” the leaders opined.
The Leaders also asserted that the judgment completely overthrows all known judicial precedence and electoral jurisprudence in Nigeria and that It would appear to be based on extra-legal considerations and therefore requires a desired reversal by the Supreme Court to prevent the precipitation of a major uprising and anarchy in Imo capable of overwhelming security and stability in the entire South-East.
The group while making a case about the Supreme Court powers to review or reverse its earlier decision had also stated that “While delivering the lead judgment in Adegoke Motors Ltd. v. Adesanya (1989] 13 NWLR (Pt.109) 250 at page 275A, Justice Chukwudifo Oputa, also known as the ‘Socrates’ of the Supreme Court considered the powers of the Supreme Court (as the final Court in the land) to review its earlier decisions and said inter alia:
“We are final not because we are infallible; rather we are infallible because we are final. Justices of this court are human beings, capable of erring. It will certainly be short-sighted arrogance not to accept this obvious truth. It is also true that this court can do inestimable good through its wise decisions. Similarly, the court can do incalculable harm through its mistakes. When therefore it appears to learned counsel that any decision of this court has been given per incuriam, such counsel should have the boldness and courage to ask that such a decision be over-ruled.”
“This court has the power to over-rule itself (and has done so in the past) for it gladly accepts that it is far better to admit an error than to persevere in error,” the eminent leaders quoted.
The group then charged the people of Imo and the entire South-East to remain calm and be hopeful as they are quite optimistic that the Supreme Court will do justice to the matter during its epochal review on Tuesday.”