QUICK LESSONS FROM SUPREME COURT’S JUDGEMENT ON IMO GUBER TUSSLE – By ONWUASOANYA FCC JONES


I am one of those who felt from the earliest days of the Imo governorship legal debacle that Senator Hope Uzodimma’s 388 polling booths results could do some magic at the courts. However, I marked this magic off, seeing such chance as having been vitiated by the Supreme Court’s ruling that Ugwumba Uche Nwosu was DOUBLY NOMINATED, hence, disqualified. From a non-lawyer’s understanding, I thought it was all over for the duo of now Governor Uzodimma and my boss, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, because by commonsensical understanding of that ruling, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu’s nomination as APC guber candidate subsisted side by side with his nomination as AA governorship candidate.

I was therefore bemused when the Supreme Court gave that judgement in favour of Senator and have remained bemused, more than one week after. However, with the apex court coming out with its reasons for that interesting judgement, one can pick few vital lessons, going forward. Let us go:

1. Senator Hope Uzodimma did not merely rely on the expertise of lawyers to prosecute his case, but must have engaged some silent thinkers, who studied our electoral system properly and picked openings through which they could penetrate. It must not be taken for granted that Governor Uzodimma’s lawyers were also very strategic, as well as fortunate.

2. The Supreme Court judgement has also opened a vista of hope for politicians who might have favorable election results rejected at the point of collation, to keep such results and present same at the election tribunals.

3. The declaration of Returning Officers at elections are not final. A candidate in an election through his or her agents can actually use results generated at polling booths to make strong cases for themselves during electoral litigations.

4. It is obvious that the Supreme Court did not take into cognizance the number of PVCs collected at those polling booths, nor were the votes allocated to Governor Uzodimma in those polling booths interrogated to know if they conformed with the number of registered voters at those polling booths. Understandably, the court does not grant reliefs not sought. Both Ihedioha’s legal team and INEC legal team slept on their oars, maybe, believing that Governor Uzodimma’s results were fictitious, hence, would not be admitted. The Supreme Court has explained that its decision was based, not on sentiments, but on facts pleaded before it.

5. The Supreme Court panel that gave judgement on the Imo governorship matter didn’t seem to have considered the judgement of another Supreme Court panel on Ugwumba Uche Nwosu’s nomination and this is now understandable, because this issue was not part of the arguments originally advanced by any of the Parties at the tribunal. The Supreme Court’s business in the matter is to review the judgement of the tribunal and determine if it was in order and not to take new arguments.

6. Sometimes, it takes a smarter thief to catch a traitorous thief. Chief Emeka Ihedioha didn’t have any business been declared governor of Imo State in the first place, and I shouted about this severally. When he was erroneously declared and eventually sworn in, allegedly used State resources and all the apparatuses of State available to him to seek to sustain himself in power against the desires of majority of Imo people and the provisions of the laws of Nigeria. Sustaining Chief Ihedioha in power would have been a worst travesty than any judgement that had been given anywhere in this country in the past.

CONCLUSION: It must be conceded that Governor Uzodimma worked both hard enough and smart enough for his victory and he must be given every support he needs to succeed as the governor of Imo State. Personally, it is my earnest prayer that he devotes as much energy and creativity as he devoted to the politics that got him to power, to the governance of the State. If he does, Imo shall become ‘Paradise’ in not a long time from now.

MAY IMO MOVE FORWARD!

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