The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has embarked on what it termed “mother of all protests” against last week’s Supreme Court judgement on Imo Governorship appeal.
The apex court on Tuesday last week nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha as the governor of Imo State and unanimously declared Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the winner of the March 9 governorship election.
A huge crowd of protesters, led by the national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, armed with placards, waving party flags, took off from the PDP headquarters annex in Abuja, to the Supreme Court to express their dissatisfaction with the judgement.
The ousted governor of Imo State, Mr Emeka Ihedioha, says the judgement of the Supreme Court remains a shock to him.
Although he noted that his faith in democracy remains resolute, Ihedioha stressed that the decision of the apex court on the governorship election in Imo left many questions unanswered.
He made the remarks when he received a national delegation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by the party’s national chairman, Uche Secondus, on Saturday in Abuja.
“I believe that event will define our democracy; I am certain that the judicial and electoral systems are well aware that they are on trial and what is fundamental about this is that the fact of the matter, as it relates to the Imo State governorship election, is at the foundation of our democratic processes,” he said.
A seven-man panel of justices led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammed, had sacked Ihedioha and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Party (APC).
In its reaction, the PDP rejected the judgement and wondered how Senator Uzodinma who came fourth could be declared as the winner of the election.
The ousted governor, on his part, believes the development would only strengthen democracy in the country.
He said, “For me, I am calm; we are calm and that is why you see that in Imo, there is calmness. The calmness is coming out of shock; it’s coming out of disbelief.”
“That event will not question our commitment to democracy, it will rather strengthen our resolve to march forward and to make Nigeria a greater nation and I am certain that from the events of that day, Nigeria would emerge stronger and greater country,” he added.
The candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) in the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State, Uche Nwosu, has withdrawn his second appeal filed against the election of Governor Emeka Ihedioha before the Supreme Court.
According to his counsel, Mr. Solomon Umoh (SAN), the withdrawal on Tuesday is based on the judgment of the apex court delivered on the 20th of December 2019.
The apex court canceled out the candidature of Mr. Nwosu under the flagship of the Action Alliance (AA) over the double nomination.
Mr Nwosu had won the nomination to contest under the All Progressives Congress (APC), but the internal wrangling within the ruling party made it impossible for him to be presented as the party’s candidate, which necessitated his defection to AA at the last minute.
The Supreme Court held that by virtue of Nwosu’s double candidature and in line with the clear provisions of the Electoral Act, he was bound to be disqualified from the election and affirmed the judgments of the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, has sworn in nine judges recommended for appointment by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The judicial officers were sworn in at an event held on Friday at the Sam Mbakwe Expanded Executive Council Chambers of the Government House in Owerri, the state capital.
They comprise seven judges of the State High Court while the two others are for the Customary Court of Appeal.
In his remarks at the event, Governor Ihedioha noted that the three arms of government must collaborate for good governance to thrive.
He gave an assurance that his administration would uphold the independence of the judiciary and abide by the rule of law.
“To ensure good governance, the three arms of government must coexist as separate organs of government independently, but collaboratively”, the governor was quoted as saying in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Chibuike Onyeukwu.
He said his administration has maintained a symbiotic relationship with other arms of government.
The governor also informed the gathering that plans were in top gear to enhance the status of the judicial system in the state.
Governor Ihedioha added, “We have reconstituted the Judicial Service Commission; renovation of Judges’ Quarters has begun.
“We have also ensured payment of salaries of judges as at when due and provided official guards for them. This administration achieved these feats within a short period of time, despite our financial constraints.”
The governor recalled that his administration took certain steps to boost the state judiciary, saying these led to the appointment of magistrates, inspectors of court, bailiffs and other judicial staff.
He explained that such measures were taken to ensure an effective justice delivery system in the state.
Governor Ihedioha advised the new judges to discharge their duties fairly and ensure they do justice to all manner of people without fear or favour.
Earlier, the Chief Justice of Imo State, Justice Paschal Nnadi, said the present administration has revitalised the judiciary in the state.
He thanked the governor for rejuvenating the judiciary and assured him that the arm of government would continue to serve justice to all.
Speaking on behalf of the newly inaugurated judges, Justice Ihuoma Chukwunyere assured the governor that they would uphold the law at all times.
Senator Okorocha boasted that “the first international cargo airport in Imo state, I built it and it was adjudged the best in the country by FAAN.
“I built 30 hospitals, some of them completed, while most are not completed, but they have all the roofs, tiled, except equipping; I built one of the best state high court, the best prison, the best police headquarters
“I know my nature, I am highly misunderstood in this country, and some people define me from different angles. If I do one-tenth of what the governor is doing there, the whole world will hear about it.”
On the rift he had with the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole, Senator Okorocha said he is yet to know the cause of the rift, stressing that he looks forward to hearing from the APC Chairman.
“If I was told in my dream that I’ll be treated this way, I’d have said it’s not possible. One day, the opportunity may occur that I might hear from Adams what really went wrong because till today I am very much confused as to what went wrong.
“I have tried to make an excuse for him that probably somebody must have gossiped or do something that he believed. Or alternatively, it must be a search for political power or relevance or it would have been who he is.
“But whatever happened in APC was still like a dream to me, because APC had no reason to lose Imo state.”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Okorocha, insisted that he will not leave the APC and if he will, it is not in his immediate plans because the party is more like a family to him.
Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, has ordered the immediate shutdown of a hotel and a water factory over an attack on officials of the Environmental Transformation Commission (ENTRACO) in the state.
M2 International Guest House and Tapa Pure Water factory are located in the Amakohia and Orji areas of the state.
A statement from the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Chibuike Onyeukwu, said the Ihedioha gave the order on Monday at a crucial meeting with the 27 Chairmen of the Local Government Areas (LGAs) and ENTRACO officials at the Government House in Owerri, the state capital.
Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha has said that the Appeal Court judgment has vindicated the mandate delivered by the people of the state.
A five-man panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, on Tuesday, affirmed Emeka Ihedioha’s victory as the Governor of Imo State.
Mr. Ihedioha while reacting to the judgement described it as a reaffirmation of confidence on Nigeria’s judicial system.
“The learned justices once again vindicated the mandate delivered to us by the good people of Imo State. We also tender our gratitude to the good people of Imo State, the PDP party faithful and our teeming supporters for your prayers, solidarity, and faith all through the process of the election petitions tribunal hearings and subsequent appeal.
“Their judgement today has reaffirmed our confidence in our judicial system.”
He reiterated that he bears no ill against those with different political leanings who challenged the mandate freely given to him by the good people of Imo State.
“The Rebuild Imo Agenda is on course. I bear none of my adversaries no ill will. I harbour neither bitterness nor rancour. Just as I am, without any other plea than my earlier invitation that they should come and together, let us Rebuild Imo State.
“While I affirm that the effort is a collective one, I am not unmindful that there would be opposition on our path. But with God on our side, we shall rise above every mountain of antagonism, overcome layers of impediments and cross every Rubicon to deliver to our people quality infrastructure, functional welfare amenities and a prosperous economy.
“During the electioneering campaigns, I did assure our people that Imo State, under my watch would stand firmly on the rule of law. Indeed, this judgement today, once again, has strengthened our resolve to be guided by this solemn promise.”
The Appeal Court has affirmed Emeka Ihedioha’s victory as the Governor of Imo State.
A five-man panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, delivered the judgment on Tuesday following an appeal filed by the Action Alliance, All Progressive Grand Alliance and the All Progressive Congress challenging the election of the governor.
All appellants argued in their appeal that the governor did not obtain the constitutionally required one-quarter of the votes cast in at least, two-thirds of the 27 local government areas of the state, as provided under Section 179 of the Constitution.
The appellants, therefore, prayed the court to set aside the decision of the tribunal and declare them the winner of the election or in the alternative order a rerun.
The court commenced the hearing with the appeal of Mr Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance but the later upheld the preliminary objection by the PDP and Governor Ihedioha that the appeal was faulty.
According to the court, it ought to ordinarily dismiss the appeal but in line with the Supreme Court’s guidelines it decided to go ahead and determine the appeal.
After listening to and resolving all the issues raised by Mr Nwosu and the Action Alliance against the PDP, Justice Omoleye, ordered him to pay a sum of N500,000.
Determining the appeal filed by Senator Hope Uzodinma and the All progressive Congress, the court held that the tribunal had looked at the evidence loophole placed before it and that it is settled law that hearsay evidence is not admissible in court.
Consequently, issues 1,2,3 and 4 are resolved against Senator Uzodinma and the APC.
On issue three which bordered on the dismissal of documents, the appeal court resolved it in favour of Senator Uzodinma.
According to the court, the tribunal went out of its jurisdiction to resolve the issues but that notwithstanding, the appeal was lacking in merit and was, therefore, dismissed.
Consequently, a cost of N500,000 was awarded against the appellants.
However, in a dissenting judgment, one of the judges rejected the cross-appeal, filed by Governor Emeka Ihedioha and ordered him to pay the sum of 1 million naira to Senator Uzodinma and his party.
The court also dismissed the appeal filed by Senator Ifeanyi Arareume and the All Progressive Grand Alliance. and equally awarded a cost of N500,000 against the appellants.
The Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, has reiterated his administration’s commitment to securing lives and property in the State.
While receiving the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 82 Division, Enugu, Brig. General Lasisi Adeboye and his entourage at the Government House, Owerri, Governor Ihedioha explained that although security had been a challenge in the state especially after the elections, there has been an improvement.
“It was challenging tackling insecurity in the state after the elections, but we have now found our rhythm in corroboration with the security agencies to deal with crime in the State.
“The Army has been working with us in tackling security challenges in the State” he said.
The governor further commended the Force for deploying General Adeboye to the 83 Division.
He said he was optimistic that with his wealth of experience, he would live up to expectation.
“We want to assure you of the commitment and readiness of the government and the good people of Imo State to corroborate with the Nigerian Army in general, the 82 Division and 32 Artillery Brigade, Obinze in particular”.
In his remarks, General Adeboye also commended the Governor for what he described as his unwavering commitment to ensuring the security of the people of the state.
The Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Owerri has granted the application filed by the Action Alliance party to withdraw from the suit challenging the election victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate and incumbent Governor, Emeka Ihedioha in the last governorship elections in the state.
While ruling on the application filed by AA national leadership which claimed that the party was not consulted by its governorship candidate, Uche Nwosu taking the action, Tribunal Chairman, Justice Mathew Adewara granted the request of the party’s counsel.
The Governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, says his government will respect the principles of separation of power by ensuring the duties of the executive arm of government do not hamper that of the legislature and Judiciary.
He said this at the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the state, Uche Onyeagocha and the Chief of Staff, Chris Okewulonu at the Government House Owerri the Imo State capital.
The governor stressed that his administration will adhere strictly to the Rule of Law and follow due process in order to restore sanity to the state.
Consequently, he advised the newly sworn-in government appointees to discharge their duties diligently, while calling for the support of Imo indigenes as he promised to run an all-inclusive government.