Ikoro Mbaise Global Forum, a world-wide Forum of prominent Mbaise people of Imo State, Nigeria has rejected the Supreme Court Ruling that removed Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as Governor of Imo State and made Senator Hope Uzodinma the governor, stating that it is a grand conspiracy to legitimize “notorious illegality in the March 09, 2019 elections.”
A statement on the issue, by Arch. Chukwunyere Ikwu (President & Global Admin) and Hon. Uzoma Nwagwu (Secretary-General), released Saturday, January 25, 2019 said:
“The judgement by the Supreme Court in the Imo State governorship election appeal petition has continued to raise fundamental issues about law and justice in Nigeria.
“Ikoro Mbaise Global Forum, a world-wide Forum of prominent and patriotic Mbaise people of Nigeria, having painstakingly reviewed the petition and pleadings, rejects the ruling of the Supreme Court which upheld the petition challenging the declaration of Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the last governorship election in Imo State, stating that the judgment remains a grand conspiracy to legitimize “notorious illegality in the March 09, 2019 elections.
“With a heart filled with rude shock on the verdict, we stress that no matter how anybody or group tries to rationalize this perceived aberration, it does not retract from the truth that the sanctuary of justice has been desecrated by the panel of judges.
“The justification of this brazen act of judicial recklessness is not only lame and pedantic; but triggers alarm in our faith in Nigeria’s judicial system. Justice they say, cannot just be seen, it must be felt, in the hearts of the people and in the soul of the country The Forum further laments that a country where the system encourages selective justice; where even renowned fraudsters define the boundaries of justice, the country can only be doomed.
“The Supreme Court ruling on the petition held that the votes due to the appellant, senator Hope Uzodinma and the APC , from 388 polling units were wrongly excluded from scores ascribed to the appellant, ordered that the appellant votes from the 388 polling units unlawfully excluded from the appellant votes declared shall be added, which upturned the first respondent, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha,’s victory as duly elected Governor of Imo state as affirmed by the Tribunal and Appeal Court.
“At the risk of not boring you with the facts of the petition, which lack any ambiguity, it is evident the Supreme Court based its ruling on the evidence produced by a police officer DCP Husseini who testified at the Appeal Court as PW-54. In the eyes of the judges, the 388 polling unit results that were cancelled when calculated, amounted to 213, 695 votes. When all the results were added, including the new number admitted by the Supreme Court, all the votes went up to about 888, 617 – a total count over and above the accredited voters. This would therefore become a clear case of over-voting. It has been overwhelmingly acknowledged that the judges erred in not adhering to the provisions of Electoral Act Section 53 (2) Where the votes cast at an election in any polling unit exceed the number of registered votes in that polling unit, the result of the election may be conducted at a date to be fixed by the Commission, where the result of that polling unit may affect the overall result in the constituency”.
“The most intriguing aspect of the judgment is the judicial double- speaking, which remains highly regrettable and condemnable. It is obvious the ruling runs contrary to their earlier decisions, especially in Atiku v Buhari & Ors (2019) where they maintained that to prove exclusion or over voting, evidence from each polling unit involved must be produced and witnesses called from all such affected polling units. Again, in the Supreme Court latest Sokoto State gubernatorial elections judgment, held Jan 20th, 2020, same court had, inter alia, asserted emphatically that the Supreme Court has no powers to count votes and allocate votes. What happened here? How do we rationalize the allocation of purported votes from a police officer then? If the judgment is allowed to stand, the court may have succeeded in basing the political edifice on fraud and in the long run, this infamy will not go away. What the Supreme Court has done is in fact to accord judicial recognition to rigging and falsification. This is really worrisome.
“There is no doubt whatsoever that the judgment, which was based on mere technicalities portends curious pitfalls. Yet the justices of the Supreme Court in many of their rulings have said that, the era of technicalities are gone forever. We wonder why a technical judgment that is not in the overall interest of the Imo voters. Indeed, the judgment was delivered in a very cavalier manner; hostile to the respondent. The whole judgment looked more or less like the final submission of APC and Senator Hope Uzodinma’s lawyers; a lot of fundamental issues were glossed over. We would not want to believe the judgment went all out to fish for excuses to uphold the petitioner’s claim at all cost.
“Our people are very outraged by the effrontery of the barefaced stolen mandate, agitated and restless, hence the call for correction of the judgment and consequent upholding of justice for the good people of Imo State, who rightly voted for the PDP candidate. For crying out loud, the judiciary should save Imo state and Nigeria the agony of the looming inferno. The court cannot simply give the impression that the principles of fair hearing and equitable justice is working when in fact the roof is leaking – a suggestion of vindictive process to silence the opposition. In all, we see an inconsistent judiciary that is not capable of rising above the shenanigans of political expediency, a judiciary that is committed to the decapitation of every thing our people hold sacrosanct and summarily, the suffocation of the noble struggle to rebuild the bleeding heart of Imo state. This is not the Nigerian Supreme Court we know, neither can the integrity of the apex court as an impartial judge be tarnished.
“In view of the foregoing, we observe that there are specified procedures to deal with this type of issue as enshrined in the Supreme Court rules. No doubt, the Judges are not mechanized robots and cannot claim the wide known fact that humans are not infallible. Judges are humans and humans are bound to make mistakes. Mistake once done has to be given a chance for correction as well. Under Order 8 Rule 16 Supreme Rules, the Supreme Court may revisit its judgment to correct clerical errors or omissions or gabs to give meaning to the judgment. This is however without prejudice to the inherent power of the Supreme Court to set aside its judgment in appropriate cases, when the judgment is obtained by fraud or deceit, either on the court or by any of the parties. Such judgment can be impeached or set aside. We note, the decided case, Olorunfemi v Asho where the Supreme Court set aside its judgment delivered in January 8, 1999 on the ground that, it failed to consider the respondents’ cross-appeal before allowing the appellant’s appeal. It is obvious that where the Court was misled into giving judgment under a mistaken belief, it may reverse itself. The case of Johnson v Lawanson (1971) 7 NSCC 82 regarded as the trailblazer case in which the Supreme Court exercised the power to overrule itself, and ordered that the appeal be re-heard, stand also as a point of reference.
“It is in this sense that the judiciary affirms its role as an impartial arbiter, an impartial adjudicator that has led to the pedestrian cliché that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. The guarantee of justice in any given society is anchored on the entrenchment and observance of the rule of law. We join our apex socio-cultural organization, Ezuruezu Mbaise representing the three Local Government Areas in Mbaise, Imo state voters, Nigeria’s leading Newspapers’ editorials, Eminent Constitutional Senior Advocates of Nigeria, to appeal for the correction of the loopholes and restore the mandate freely given by the good people of Imo State.
“Ikoro Mbaise Global Forum will not be slowed down, distracted, or intimidated. We will remain vigilant, vocal, determined and focused in the struggle to reclaim our political space. We maintain our counseled patience, while urging that the Supreme Court to correct the manifestly and patently miscarriage of justice, to reflect the clear choice of the Imo electorate at the 2019 governorship election.”