George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
For several hours on Thursday, vehicular movement was ground to a halt in Owerri, the Imo State capital, as indigenes of the state continued their protest over January 14 the Supreme Court judgment which sacked Emeka Ihedioha and declared Senator Hope Uzodinma as Governor of the state.
This was accompanied by security agents being stationed at strategic junctions in the metropolis to ensure that the demonstration was not hijacked by hoodlums.
As early as 10 am, hundreds of Imo citizens and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) supporters had assembled at Ugwu Ekwema along the busy Mbaise-Egbu road in the state metropolis from where they proceeded on the protest march.
The protesters, who sang solidarity songs as they marched along the road, displayed placards with various inscription such as: ‘We totally reject the Supreme Court Imposition on Imo’, ‘Imo People will never accept an unelected governor’, ‘Supreme Court must reverse this dubious judgment’, ‘Imo people never elected Hope Uzodinma governor’, and ‘Ihedioha is our elected Governor’.
Addressing the protesters at the popular fire service roundabout, the former Secretary to the State Government, Hon Uche Onyeaguocha, said that the Supreme Court declared a man who did not win an election Governor of the state, adding that Senator Hope Uzodinma, who had finished a distant fourth in the 2019 governorship election, was wrongfully declared as Governor, and that the state will not accept such an imposition by the Supreme Court.
He maintained that the Supreme Court must redeem its image by reversing the judgment and restoring Ihedioha as the elected Governor, saying that the people will continue the protest until the Supreme reverses its judgement.
According to him, “the Supreme Court declared a man who did not win an election as a Governor and the Supreme Court knows that they have messed up. They know that they have brought shame to the Nigerian judiciary. The judgment is unacceptable to Nigerians and to Imo people in particular.
He added that “the protest is to give the Supreme Court the opportunity to correct the grave error in their judgment which has made the Nigerian judiciary a laughing stock in the comity of nations. We are asking them to vacate that dubious judgment by restoring Emeka Ihedioha as the duly elected Governor because it is inexplicable for the Supreme Court to declare a man who finished a distant fourth as a winner. We will continue this protest until we get justice.”
Speaking at the protest, the Acting Chairman of the Imo State PDP, Martins Ejiogu, insisted “that the Supreme Court should restore the duly elected Governor of the state Emeka Ihedioha. The Supreme Court has to restore their honour and the confidence of Nigerians in the judiciary by reversing the dubious judgment against the people of Imo State because what they did was a great disservice to the people of the state.”
Speaking, Mr Martins Opara, former Director-General, Imo State Orientation Agency, said that the people of Imo will not accept the imposition by the Supreme Court.
“Imo people have resolved not to accept any imposition by the Supreme Court because even the man they want to impose on the state knows that he did not even win any election in 2019,” he stated.