The Supreme Court is set to deliver a judgement in an application filed by Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), asking it to set aside a judegment on Imo governorship election that declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner.
A seven-member panel of the court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Mohammed, announced a recess Tuesday after taking arguments from lawyers.
Mr Mohammed said the panel would reconvene at 3:00 p.m. to give its decision on the matter.
Mr Ihedioha and the PDP had approached the court after the apex court, on January 14, nullified his victory and declared Mr Uzodinma the winner of the election.
Mr Ihedioha was earlier declared the winner of the election by the electoral umpire, INEC.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how, in a unanimous judgment of the seven-member panel, read by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the apex court agreed that results in 388 polling units were unlawfully excluded during the collation of the final governorship election result in Imo State.
Mrs Kekere-Ekun said with the results from the 388 polling units added, Mr Uzodinma polled a majority of the lawful votes and ought to have been declared the winner of the election by the electoral commission.
Strangely, the court did not provide the details of the new votes scored by each of the candidates in the election after the addition of the results from the 388 polling units.
READ ALSO: Supreme Court sacks Imo governor Ihedioha
Consequently, the court voided and set aside the declaration of Mr lhedioha as the winner of the 2019 governorship election in the South-east state.
The court ordered that the certificate of return issued to Mr lhedioha be immediately withdrawn by INEC and a fresh one issued to Mr Uzodinma as the elected governor of the state.
“Vote due to the appellant Senator Hope Uzodinma and the APC from 388 Polling Units were wrongly excluded from scores ascribed to the appellant (to them),” the judges ruled.
During the court session on Tuesday, the lawyer for Mr Ihedioha and the PDP, Kanu Agabi, said they were not in court to challenge the Supreme Court. “This court is Supreme and your judgements are final. It is as we hope in God to change his mind that we came to you to change your mind, ” he added.
Mr Agabi further said, “It is better than those who feel aggrieved to come before your lordship, to show their grief, rather than stay at home and grumble.”
Arguing on their application dated and filed on February 17, the senior lawyer held that, the petition that had led to the apex court decision delivered on January 14, was earlier struck out by way of incompetence.
He said the appellants abandoned their appeal at the lower court.
Mr Agabi noted that “At least 34 times, the reference was made to 388 Polling Units (PU), where the appellant alleged that their votes were excluded, but they rendered results only in respect to 366 PU, whereas, give the credit for 388.”
He further argued that the number of votes cast exceeded the number of accredited voters by 129,000 votes.
According to Mr Agabi, the APC and Mr Uzodinma stigmatised the election as invalid, which is part of their grounds which they argued, he said.
He said the apex court judgement does not show that they have the required constitutional spread.
The lawyer pointed out that the appellants had said the election was invalid and held that election should be conducted in the 388 PUs.
He further told the apex court that their case is different from that of Bayelsa State.
Mr Agabi finally urged the court to set aside the apex court judgement.
He added that, “If this judgement is set aside, the judgment of the Court of Appeal would be restored.”
On his part, the lawyer for the APC and Mr Uzodinma, Damian Dodo, urged the court to dismiss Mr Ihedioha and his party’s application, “one on merit and the other on incompetence,” he added.
Mr Dodo argued that “There is the total lack of jurisdiction of this court to revisit its judgement of January 14, 2020, whether the application is characterised as an application for review or classified as an application to set aside or so, however dressed or clothed. This court has consistently and rightly so, held that there is a lack of jurisdiction to sit on appeal of its judgement,” he added.
The senior lawyer said there is no constitutional provision that allows the apex court to review its own decision.
This application falls short of what the supreme court rule states, in respect to reviewing a judgement, he said.
He urged the court to take particular note of the fact that the judgment of the court, delivered on January 14, clearly and categorically set aside the decision of the lower court, in all its ramifications.
Mr Damian held that the apex court’s decision was a clear pronouncement, adding that the setting aside of the lower court decision was not ambiguous but was clear.
He urged the court to dismiss the application on merit and finally said, “This application should fail.”
Following this, the apex court announced that the court would reconvene by 3: 00 pm to deliver judgement on the matter.
Present to witness the proceedings of the court on Tuesday is the APC’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
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