The Supreme Court has nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party as the governor of Imo State.
The apex court declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the March 9 governorship election in the state.
The seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad gave the unanimous decision on Tuesday in Abuja.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Mr Ihedioha, a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives winner of the governorship election in Imo.
INEC said Mr Ihedioha polled 273,404 ahead of his closest rival and candidate of the Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, who the electoral body said scored 190,364 votes.
Mr Nwosu is the son-in-law of Governor Rochas Okorocha who strongly backed his candidacy. Mr Nwosu lost his own case from the election petition tribunal to the Supreme Court.
By the INEC result, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ifeanyi Ararume, came third ahead of Hope Uzondinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The former polled 114, 676 while the latter polled 96,458. A total of 70 candidates representing various political parties took part in the election.
Mr Uzodinma had challenged the declaration of Mr Ihedioha as the winner, saying he actually won the election. He lost at the election petition tribunal and the appeal court.
But on Tuesday, the Supreme Court gave a shocking judgment saying Mr Uzodinma, a controversial businessman and politician, actually won the election and that he should be sworn in immediately.
Ahead of today’s judgment, controversial catholic cleric, Ejike Mbaka, had prophesied that the Supreme Court verdict would lead to Mr Ihedioha losing his position and Mr Uzodinma replacing him.
Mr Ihedioha is the first of the governors elected during the 2019 governorship elections to be so removed.
The Supreme Court also on Tuesday adjourned to Monday to deliver judgement in the appeal by APC’s Ahmed Aliyu against Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
The appeals on Bauchi, Benue and Plateau states, were also adjourned to a later date to be communicated to parties to the cases.
Details of the Supreme Court decision on Mr Ihedioha will come in our subsequent updates.