Supreme Court justices: No going back on our earlier decision
The Supreme Court Tuesday put an end to the controversy that followed its sacking of Emeka Ihedioha, as the governor of Imo as it refused to reverse its earlier judgment.
The apex court had on January 14, sacked Ihedioha and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Hope Uzodinma.
The embattled former governor and his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), approached the Supreme Court to reverse its judgment, adding that the verdict was given in error.
After looking at the argument presented by the lawyers to Ihedioha and the PDP, the Supreme Court dismissed the application for review of its January 14, judgment that sacked Ihedioha, at former deputy speaker of House of Representatives.
The apex court said the application for review of the judgment was lacking in merit, hence the seven-man panel of justices led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammadu, dismissed the suit on Tuesday, March 3.
The court said it lacked the competence to overturn it judgment, saying its decision is final.
Six of the judges on the panel agreed with the apex court’s verdict while Justice Chima Nweze, gave a dissenting judgment, stressing that the decision ought to be reviewed.
Justice Nweze held that the court has the power to overrule itself in a situation where such a judgment was not seen to have met the justice of the case.
He added that the Imo state governor, Hope Uzodinma, misled the court in arriving at the judgment which removed Ihedioha from office after eight months.
According to the judge, there is no evidence that Governor Uzodinma satisfied the required spread to have been declared the winner of the election.
He, therefore, told other judges on the panel that the judgment upholding Uzodinma’s victory in the March 9, 2019 poll would continue to haunt the nation’s electoral jurisprudence.
The apex court had earlier in the day suspended proceedings after taking arguments from parties on the application by Ihedioha, for a review of the court’s January 14 judgment.
The Appeal Court declared Uzodinma’s petition at the governorship election tribunal as incompetent and declared Ihedioha winner of the election held in Imo late last year.
It will be recalled that the Supreme Court had declared on Wednesday, February 26, that in line with its rules, it shall not review any of its judgment and its decision is final no matter how anybody feels.
The apex court stated that cases can only be reviewed if “there is a clerical mistake or some error.
Meanwhile, the victorious Governor Uzodinma, Tuesday called on all Imo people to forget their political differences, and unite to move the state to the next level.
In the same vein, the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole, has urged the people of Imo state to unite behind Governor Uzodinma to ensure the rapid development of the state.
He said the judgment met the expectations of the majority of Imo electorate who voted for the candidate of the APC to become governor of the state.
Oshiomhole who spoke to State House Correspondents in Abuja, after conferring with President Muhammadu Buhari, commended the apex court for upholding its judgment of January 14, which sacked Ihedioha as governor of Imo state.
He said that it was common knowledge that Ihedioha did not win one quarter of the votes cast in two-thirds of the 27 local government areas that make up the state.
However, the main opposition PDP has disagreed with the judgment of the apex court, saying that Uzodinma got victory through fraudulent means.