The Supreme Court on Tuesday, in a unanimous Judgment sacked Emeka Ihedioha as Governor of Imo State and ordered the immediate swearing in of candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Senator Hope Uzodinma, as lawful winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had in March declared Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the governorship election.
However miffed by the decision of INEC, Uzodinma and his party had approached the Imo State Election Petition Tribunal to nullify Ihedioha’s election on grounds that he did not win majority of votes cast in the election.
He also cited the issue of noncompliance with the electoral guidelines as another grounds for the sack of Ihedioha.
In his ruling the tribunal however dismissed Uzodinma’s appeal on grounds that he was unable to prove allegations made against the election.
Similarly, the Court of Appeal which sat in Abuja had on November 19 upheld the decision of the tribunal, forcing Uzodinma to approach the apex court to get justice.
In the Court’s unanimous Judgment which was delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the Supreme Court held that the case of the appellants had merit and consequently granted the reliefs as prayed by the appellants.
According to the apex court, the concurrent judgments of the lower court erred in law when it excluded votes totalling 213,295 from 388 polling units from the total scores at the election.
According to the apex court, Ihedioha was returned as Governor of Imo State based on wrong computation of the election results in the state.
Justice Kekere-Ekun said the lower court misconstrued the case of the appellants that he was challenging the validity of the election whereas he was challenging the unlawful exclusion of votes in the 388 polling units.
The apex court further held that the lower courts were also wrong in holding that PW 54, a police officer who was on subpoena was not the appropriate person to have tendered documents that showed the exclusion of votes in the 388 polling units during collation.
The apex court consequently set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal which upheld the election of Emeka Ihedioha on the grounds that he did not win majority of the votes cast during the March 9 governorship election.
In addition, the court held that the excluded votes from the 388 polling units be ascribed to the appellants. Consequently the apex court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Ihedioha and issued a fresh Certificate of Return to candidate of the APC on grounds that he won majority of lawful votes cast at the election