The immediate past governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, has filed a suit to stop the Imo State House of Assembly from investigating him over allegations of missing funds.
He filed the suit at the State High Court sitting in Owerri, the state capital.
In his prayers, the former governor sought a perpetual injunction restraining the lawmakers from probing him over the sum of N19.63 billion said to be missing from the Local Government account during his seven-month tenure.
Ihedioha, through an originating summon, also urged the court to grant him a perpetual injunction restraining the Imo State House of Assembly from inviting him and questioning him about the alleged missing fund.
Listed as defendants in the suit are the Imo State House of Assembly, the Speaker, and the Clerk of the House of Assembly.
The former governor filed the suit weeks after the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, announced that the sum of N19.63 billion was missing from the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) of the 27 Local Governments Areas of the state.
Governor Uzodinma had alleged that the money got missing under the watch of the immediate past administration led by Ihedioha.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo had, however, described the allegation by the governor as mischievous and a deliberate scheme of his administration to loot the resources of the state.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the verdict of the Supreme Court on the review of its judgment on the Imo state governorship election.
It faulted the judgement of the apex court in a statement on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.
The court had dismissed the application filed by the PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, seeking a review of its judgement which removed him from office after about 10 months.
Ihedioha faulted the declaration of Hope Uzodinma as the Imo State governor and asked the court to return him back into office.
But the application was dismissed in a majority judgement of a seven-man panel of judges led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad.
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.
In its reaction, the PDP described the judgement as “a disconcerting endorsement of electoral fraud,” saying it has placed a huge burden on the court and the justices.
It, however, noted that Justice Nweze’s judgment presented a glimpse of hope for the nation’s judiciary.
The statement said, “Our party abides completely by every word of the judgment of Justice Nweze as treated facts, which are truly sacred.
“Justice Nweze’s pronouncement, which went straight into the substance of our application represents a universal view about the travesty of justice that occurred in the Imo state governorship election judgment.
“It is indeed unfortunate that the Supreme Court had the wholesome opportunity to redeem itself and correct its errors but chose to hide behind technicality to justify and endorse an electoral fraud.”
According to the opposition party, Nigerians expected the Supreme Court correct the errors purportedly made earlier and handed over victory to the supposed rightful winner.
It alleged that the court failed to summon the courage to affirm its infallibility but upheld and legalise the writing of election results by individual contestants against the will of the people as expressed at the poll.
The PDP called on all election stakeholders to rally to create remedies for what it described as a pathetic situation before the nation’s entire electoral process became vanquished.
“This judgment will continue to haunt the Supreme Court. It has created a burden of precedence and fallibility on the court.
“More distressing is the fact that the judgment has heavily detracted from the confidence Nigerians and the international community reposed on the Supreme Court and our entire jurisprudence,” the statement added.
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.
INEC had declared Mr Ihedioha as the winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State on the ground that he won the majority of lawful votes cast at the governorship poll.
Meanwhile the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, during appeals filed by Senator Uzodinma, gave a concurrent decision, upheld Ihedioha’s election and dismissed Uzodinma’s petition on grounds that he did not prove his allegations against the election of Ihedioha.
But the apex court held otherwise and sacked Mr Ihedioha on the 14th of January.
The apex court in its judgment disagreed with the decisions of the appeal court on the grounds that they erred in law when they excluded votes from 388 polling units from the total scores at the poll.
The Supreme Court is hearing the application filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, over the January 14, 2020 judgment which sacked him as the Governor of Imo State.
Mr. Ihedioha and the PDP, in their applications, claim that the judgment of the apex court which installed Senator Hope Uzodinma as the Governor of Imo State was obtained by fraud.
They are therefore praying the seven-man panel of the apex court to review and set aside the judgment.
The panel, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammed, is currently hearing the application.
Lawyer to Mr. Ihedioha, Chief Kanu Agabi, in his argument, claims that fraud is evident in the judgment, as the appellant, Hope Uzodinma, claimed he was excluded from 388 polling units but tendered results from only 366 polling units
He adds that with the addition of votes from 388 polling units in favour of Senator Uzodinma exceeds the total number of accredited voters by 129,000 votes.
Countering the argument, Lawyer to Senator Hope Uzodinma says the application to revisit, review or set aside the judgment of the court is an incompetent one lacking in merit.
He argues further that the apex court lacks the jurisdiction to sit on appeal over any judgment delivered by the court except where cases of typographical errors or slips are noticed in the said judgment are established and in this case, no such errors have been established.
Mr Damian Dodo adds that the appellant approached the apex court in the face of compelling evidence that Senator Hope Uzodinma won the election, and therefore, has asked the court to dismiss the application.
Supreme Court has stood down Emeka Ihedioha’s application after listening to arguments from all the parties.
The apex court will deliver judgment by 3pm later today.
The judges resume to give judgement and Justice Olukayode Ariwoola is delivering judgment on Ihedioha’s application.
He says there is no constitutional provision empowering the apex court to sit on appeal over its own judgment, so the court does not have the competence to review its own judgment.
Justice Ariwoola states that the finality of the Supreme Court is entrenched in the constitution so the inherent powers of the court does not allow it to review or set aside its own judgment.
“The justices of the court are fallible but the judgment of the court is infallible to ask us to review the judgment will bring the court to disrepute.
The Supreme Court has dismissed Ihedioha’s application for review.
Six out of the seven judges upheld the earlier judgement, but a dissenting judgment by Justice Chima Nweze who believes the judgment ought to be reviewed.
He says the court has the power to overrule itself if such a judgment is not seen to have met the justice of the case.
He adds that Uzodinma misled the court in arriving at the judgment and that there is no evidence that he satisfied the required spread to have been declared the winner of the election.
Justice Nweze says this judgment will continue to haunt the nation’s electoral jurisprudence.
He set aside the judgment of January 14 and ordered Uzodinma to return the certificate of return issued to him as he affirms the election of Mr Ihedioha as the duly elected Governor of Imo state.
The Supreme Court is set to hear an application filed by Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), asking it to review its judgement on the Imo governorship that declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the March 9, 2020 election.
This comes a day after the top court adjourned the matter due to an application filed by Kanu Agabi, who is Ihedioha’s lead counsel.
Agabi, SAN, told the court that he had just been served with some processes by Governor Hope Uzodinma and needs time to respond.
The Supreme Court has adjourned till tomorrow, March 3, its hearing of the application filed by the Peoples Democratic Party’s Candidate in Imo State.
Mr. Emeka Ihedioha is asking the apex court to set aside its judgment of January 14, which sacked him as Governor of Imo State.
The top court adjourned the hearing due to an application filed by Kanu Agabi, who is Ihedioha’s lead counsel.
Agabi, SAN, told the court that he had just been served with some processes by Governor Hope Uzodinma and needs time to respond.
This is the second time the seven-man panel of the Supreme Court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, is adjourning the matter. It first adjourned the hearing on February 18 till today, March 2.
A group aligned with the All Progressive Congress (APC) is asking the Supreme Court not to rescind its judgement on the Imo governorship election which sacked the former governor of the State, Emeka Ihedioha.
The apex court will on Tuesday, hear an appeal filed by Mr Ihedioha seeking a review on the judgement issued in January 2020.
A former governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, will begin his quest to convince the Supreme Court to reverse itself on the judgement sacking him from office on Tuesday.
This comes as the apex court fixed the date to hear the appeal filed by Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asking it to review its judgement on the governorship election held on March 9, 2019, in Imo State.
“The Supreme Court has fixed the 18th of this month (February) for hearing of Chief Emeka Ihedioha’s appeal seeking a review of the apex court’s January 14 judgment,” a source confirmed to Channels Television on Saturday.
The Supreme Court fixed the date one month after it sacked Ihedioha on January 14 and declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Hope Uzodinma, as the duly elected governor of Imo State.
The decision was reached on the grounds that the results from 388 polling units were excluded when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the final result of the poll in 2019.
Ihedioha had later filed the appeal on the heel of protests by supporters of the PDP, demanding the review and reversal of the judgement by the apex court.
In their quest to reclaim the governorship seat, leaders of the main opposition party organised a protest across the country.
The demonstration in Abuja was led by the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, and the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, and other chieftains of the party.
The protest, however, recorded a sad incident elsewhere in the nation’s capital as two trucks conveying party supporters collided at a junction, although it could not be ascertained if there were casualties.
Leaders of the PDP also called on the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union to prevail on the Supreme Court to reverse its judgement on the Imo State governorship election.
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, says Mr. Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should not have been declared governor of Imo State.
Oshiomhole stated this on Friday when Governor Hope Uzodinma visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa.
The APC Chairman believes that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) erred in declaring Ihedioha governor since he did not meet the constitutional requirements of having polled two-third of the votes cast in the state.
“Ask INEC to give you the result of Imo, even excluding that of Governor Hope Uzodinma. You will find that Emeka ought not to have been declared. For me, it is shocking that nobody is interrogating INEC.
“And that is how they get away with this blue murder. This is to say nothing of the fact that INEC has not explained why did you not collate votes that were certified by the presiding officers, signed by the appointing officers appointed by INEC in each of the 388 polling units,” he stated.
His comments come shortly after the PDP protested the Supreme Court verdict that sacked Ihedioha as Imo State Governor.
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.