Imo: More questions as protests rock Imo, Katsina, Anambra other states

Hundreds of people of Imo, Anambra and Katsina States on Sunday took to the streets of their state capitals to protest against the Supreme Court judgement that sacked the Emeka Ihedioha as governor of Imo State.

Apart from the three states, there were also protests in Abia, Taraba, Gombe and some other states of the federation.

This is just as more posers were raised on the judgement on how the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hope Uzodinma, satisfied the constitutional provisions that would have made him to be declared the governor of the state.

The people of the states trooped out with many people put on black attires to protest against what they termed miscarriage of justice by the apex court.

Chanting various anti-establishment songs, the protesters said they would continue with the action until the court reverses the decision.

The protesters including many chieftains and members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the Supreme Court had laid a bad precedence in the determination of election matters in the country.

In Owerri, the protesters, who walked through major streets of the state capital, asked the panel, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Mohammed, to revisit the judgement.

Some members of the party, including the woman leader in the state, Maria Mbakwe, could not control their emotions as they burst into tears during the protest, saying the party was “robbed” by the judgement.

Speaking during the protest, a member of the House of Representatives, representing Mbaitoli/Ikedduru Federal Constituency of Imo State, Henry Nwawuba, said the panel had murdered democracy in the state with their judgment.

He lamented that the atmosphere in the state had been turned to that of graveyard since the supreme court delivered the ruling.

He said, ”I am a lawmaker and I believe that the Supreme Court must redeem the judiciary. Since the judgment was delivered, the state has become a graveyard, this is unlike what was happening when PDP was holding sway.

“How the Supreme Court justices gave victory to a candidate who came fourth in an election remains a mystery to many of us. We call on them to revisit the Imo case and do justice.”

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In Anambra State, PDP chairman Chief Ndubisi Nwobu, said the judgement was a clear travesty of justice that must not be allowed to stand in the interest of the nation’s democracy.

He said the party in the state had given the seven-man panel ​of the Supreme Court seven days to reverse itself or face serious protest to right the wrong.

He said: “The judgement of Supreme Court on 14th of January 2020 was a mockery on the Nigerian democracy.

“President Muhammadu Buhari should use his good offices to call the panel members at the Supreme Court to order and ​reverse itself and allow Hon Emeka Ihedioha to return to his position freely given to him by the Imo people.”

According to him, many people in the country were still in disbelief on how the apex court got figures that were awarded to Uzodinma.

In the same vein, a former governorship candidate in Anambra State, Obaze Oseloka, said that the Supreme Court should save democracy from being truncated in the country by reversing the judgement.

He stated that the judges are human beings that can make mistake, adding that they should own up to their “mistakes” and save the country unnecessary constitutional crisis.

In Katsina State, protesters displayed placards to register their displeasure with the ruling of the apex court.

Some of the placards read “the Supreme Court must be neutral”, “don’t truncate democracy in Nigeria” among others.

However, many people have continued to question the judgement. Some wondered if the APC candidate satisfied the constitutional provisions before he was declared the lawful winner of the election.

One of the issues raised was whether, with the judgement, Uzodinma secured the required 25 per cent votes in two-thirds of the local government areas in the state.

An analyst said: “Emerging facts from the results of the Imo State gubernatorial elections indicate that the Supreme Court judgement declaring the All Peoples Congress (APC) candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma, winner of the election is constitutionally defective.

“An examination of Section 179 (2) (a) and (b) of the Amended 1999 Constitutional provides that for a candidate to be declared as duly elected, he or she not only has to have the highest number of valid votes but also should have a spread of 25 per cent of the votes in two-thirds (2/3) of the local governments in a state.

“Specifically it provides that a candidate for an election to the office of a governor of a state shall be deemed to have been duly elected where, there being two or more candidates – (a) he has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and – (b) he has not less than one-quarter of all the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the local government areas in the state.”

These statutes are the unambiguous requisites for the emergence of a winner in a governorship election. From available facts, whereas 25 per cent of votes in 18 local government areas are the minimum requirements to emerge as governor in Imo State, but shockingly, Senator Uzodinma was declared by Supreme Court despite the concurrent findings of both Tribunal and Appeal Court only secured two local governments having scored above 25 per cent in Oru East and Oru West LGAs, In Oru East LGA, he scored 64.2 per cent, while in Oru West he scored 27 per cent of the votes according to the records of INEC.

“From these figures it is clear that Senator Hope Uzodinma’s declaration as the winner by the Supreme Court is unconstitutional, null and void by virtue of sections 179 (2) (b) of the constitution.”