Supreme Court judgment portends grave implications for judiciary, democracy, electoral process ― Ihedioha
Sacked governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, on Sunday, broke his silence over last Tuesday’s Supreme Court judgment, noting that the judgment portended great implications for the nation’s electoral process, the judicial system and the future of democracy.
According to Ihedioha, in a statement he personally signed, the future of democracy was particularly threatened if “institutions that are critical to the entrenchment of the rule of law” thwarted the wishes of the people in a cynical manner.
Though Ihedioha decried that justice was still not served in the end, he pointed to the dissenting judgment delivered by Justice Centus Nweze as one that vindicated his stand that the Supreme Court judgement of 14th January 2020 should have been in his favour.
While noting that he was proud of having served out the genuine mandate given to him by Imo people, for a short while, Ihedioha said he hoped for the ultimate judgment by God and opportunities to serve people of Imo State.
He lampooned those “rejoicing about their successful political fraud at the expense of Imo people and brazenly stealing the people’s mandate”, noting that he took solace in God rendering the ultimate judgment.
It will be recalled that the Supreme Court had last week dismissed an application filed by Ihedioha asking it to set aside a judgement of 14th January 2020 that declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the Imo State governor.
Though one out of seven justices dissented, the court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Tanko Mohammed, had held that it lacked powers to sit on an appeal in its own judgment delivered on merit and in accordance with dictates of the law and justice.
The statement read, in parts, “Whatever may be the personal injury I suffer as a result of the miscarriage of justice, my main concern in this whole tragic episode is not about me.
“It has always been about the implications this judgement could have for the future of our democracy and the right of the electorate to have their votes count.
“If institutions that are critical to the entrenchment of the rule of law could thwart the wishes of the people in a cynical manner, where lies the future of our democracy? That was why I sought a review of the Supreme Court judgement.
“Even though justice was not served at the end, the well-articulated dissenting judgement delivered by His Lordship, Justice Centus Nweze, has vindicated our stand. I am sure that history and posterity will be kind to him.
‘To those who are rejoicing about their successful political fraud at the expense of Imo people, as well as their collaborators, let me leave them with the immortal words of the late journalist, Dele Giwa: “No evil deed will go unpunished; any evil done by man to man will be redressed; if not now then certainly later; if not by man, then by God for the victory of evil over good is temporary’.
“We believe that God will render the ultimate judgment. He has been with us through this peaceful struggle. And our future is in His hands.
“While it is disheartening to note that your desire to introduce good governance has been halted, at least for now, it is also gratifying that our modest efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“I, therefore, feel a sense of pride and gratitude for the wonderful energy and commitment that we deployed together to secure the mandate that has now been brazenly stolen from us.
“On this matter, the people of Imo State collectively rose to demand justice and fairness. Imo people rose up in defence of their right to elect leaders of their choice.
“Our people resoundingly rejected oppression and power grab, defied imposition, injustice and tyranny. I salute Imo people for this display of courage in the face of oppressive state power.
“I will forever be in the debt of Nigerians of all walks of life, across ethnic, religious and political divides, senior citizens, journalists, civil societies, ordinary men and women of a good conscience, who added their voice to condemn the injustice done in our case.
“It has been a great privilege to serve the people of Imo State as Governor. I am proud to have been the recipient of their genuine mandate. I will forever cherish the support, solidarity and cooperation given to me during my tenure.
“My belief in the ultimate triumph and supremacy of the will of the people remains intact. But I am firmly resolved NEVER to give up on the struggle for a better Imo State. And for a better governed Nigeria.”