The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, sacked governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo state, even as it declared Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressive Congress, APC, as the valid winner of the governorship election that held in the state on March 9, 2019.
The apex court, in a unanimous judgement by a seven-man panel of justices that was led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, held that Ihedioha who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes.
The Supreme Court, therefore, ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Certificate of Return that was issued to Ihedioha by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
It ordered that a fresh Certificate of Return should be issued to Uzodinma forthwith, adding that he should be sworn in immediately as the governor of Imo state
The lead judgement was delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, while other members of the panel concurred.
The apex court said it was satisfied that the lower tribunal wrongly evaluated Uzodinma’s case, when it failed to countenance a proof of evidence that was brought before it by a police officer that testified before it as the PW-54.
It held that records before it proved that election results from 388 polling units were unlawfully excluded from the overall collated results.
It noted that results from the cancelled polling units amounted to 213, 295 votes, adding that Ihedioha was returned elected, based on wrong computation of results.
According to the apex court, finding by both the tribunal and the appellate court to the effect that Uzodinma did not prove his case, “was as a result of misapprehension of the case of the appellant”.
There is merit in this appeal, it is hereby allowed. Majority judgement of the lower court affirming the election of the 2nd Respondent is hereby set-aside”, Justice Kekere-Ekun held.
She further directed the addition of all the unlawfully cancelled votes that were due to the appellant, declaring that Ihedioha was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast.
“His election is declared null and void and is hereby set-aside”.
The court further held that Uzodinma satisfied the statutorily required spread.
Aside the CJN, other members of the panel that concurred with the lead verdict were Justices Sylvester Ngwuta, Kayode Ariwola, Uwani Abba Ajji and Amiru Sanusi.