Godwin Tsa and Fred Itua, Abuja and Stanley Uzoaru and George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Fresh tension and uncertainty have again pervaded Imo State as the Supreme Court hears the fresh appeal filed by sacked governor, Emeka Iheadioha, tomorrow.
The state has been boiling in the last few weeks following the apex court’s ruling which replaced Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The verdict and subsequent inauguration of Uzodinma had sparked protests in different parts of the state and even Abuja, with the leadership and members of the opposition taking their protest to the offices of the United Nations, European Union and U.S Embassy.
Ihedioha had approached the apex court seeking the setting aside of the January 14 judgment that removed him from office.
In the motion dated February 5, Ihedioha prayed the apex court for an order setting aside “as a nullity the judgment delivered by it on the January 14, in Appeal No. SC.1462/ 2019 and Cross-Appeal No. SC.147Y0/ 2019.”
But Governor Hope Uzodimma, has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the application. His request is contained in his preliminary objection dated February 6,challenging the competence of Ihedioha’s motion.
Uzodinma, in a motion on notice brought pursuant to Section 6(6)(a) of the 1999, and his political platform, the All Progressive Congress (APC), predicated their objection on the grounds that “the application being a proceeding relating to or arising from election of a governor is barred by effluxion of time. The application constitutes an invitation to the Supreme Court to sit on an appeal over its final decision, Uzodimma posited. Besides, the objectors through their counsel, Damien Dodo (SAN) submitted that “having delivered its final decision on the first and second respondents’ Appeal No. SC. 1462/2019 between Senator Hope Uzodinma & Anor v Emeka Ihedioha & 2 Ors., the Supreme Court has become fuctus officio and divested of jurisdiction over the same subject matter.”
Elected local government officials from the 27 council areas under aegis of Association Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), will today, assemble in Owerri, for a one-million man march in support of Governor Uzodinma’s administration.
This is even as they commended the seven-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court for their landmark judgement of January 14,2020.
They also accused the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for stoking anti-Uzodinma and supreme Court protests in the state in a bid to breach the peace of the state.
Addressing a press conference in Owerri, Chairman of ALGON, Chief Emeka Osuoji, said the march became necessary considering the distractive protests by “a faction of PDP in Imo State and mainly hiring non-indigenes just to breach the public peace.”
The march, he disclosed, would be used to inform the world that the people of the state and ALGON in particular were in total support of Governor Uzodinma.
Meanwhile, an alliance of Civil Societies across the country have called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, to constitute a fresh Supreme Court panel to review its earlier judgment on Imo.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, coordinator of the alliance, Mr. Livinus Ibiang, listed a number of demands, which he said the Supreme Court should consider.
“A new panel should look into the review. The Court owes Imolites and Nigerians in general the clarity as to what happened to the votes of the PDP and other parties in the 388 units tendered by the APC and its candidate.
“The Court of Appeal had earlier dismissed the petition of Hope Uzodinma as incompetent and struck it out. However, the Supreme Court did not consider the appeal of Hope Uzodinma on this point, and so the judgment of the Court of Appeal dismissing the petition still stands or subsists. There was therefore no basis for the Supreme Court to pronounce on the appeal and declare Hope Uzodinma elected.
“The judgment was delivered without jurisdiction in that by virtue of S.140(2) of the Electoral Act, once the court says that the election was invalid, the only possible judgment the court is allowed to give is a nullification of the election, and not to declare Hope Uzodinma, winner.