Imo Judgement: PDP, Ihedioha back to Supreme Court, seeks NEC approval

*Judgement failed in mathematical computation – Investigation
*Declared more votes than accredited voters
*Failed to interrogate evidences
* Silent on figures

By Myke Uzendu

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Governorship candidate in Imo state, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha is set to approach the Supreme Court to revisit, review and reverse itself on its Judgement on Imo State election.

The party will also seek the approval of the highest organ of the party, The National Executive Council (NEC) during it’s 88th meeting holding today (Monday) of its plans to embark on such legal itinerary.

A source close to the party told our correspondent that NEC will also come out with strategies on the funding of the torturous judicial journey. It will also device better ways of making the party financially fluid as the governors of the party seems to have shown little or no commitments in the affairs of the party.

The Supreme Court had during the weekend, released details of its Judgement that dethroned Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as the elected governor of Imo State, and ordered the swearing in of Senator Hope Uzodimma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the dully elected governor of the state.

The Supreme Court panel comprising of seven-man panel of Justices namely Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, Olukayode Ariwoola, K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun, Amiru Sanusi, Amina Adamu Augie and Justice Uwani Abba-Aji, in a unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Kudirat Motonmori Olatokunbo Kekere-Ekun on the 14th of January declared that the neither the PDP nor the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) could presented any proof or results to counter the argument and results being paraded by Senator Uzodimma who was claiming that he won in 388 polling units but the results were excluded by the coalition officer after it has been declared by the Presiding Officer.

The Apex court maintained that both the tribunal and the Appeal court erred in law by rejecting the results from the 388 polling units presented by an Assistant Commissioner of Police which according to the apex court, was relevant and tenable to test the veracity of the parties’ contention on the issue of what in transpired at the polls.

Parts of it’s Judgement read, “In my considered view, the crux of this appeal is whether the lower court and by implication, the trial Tribunal misconstrued the applicants’ case and therefore misplaced the burden of proof. Having regard to the state of the pleadings, I am of the view and I so hold that the burden of proof was misplaced, as a result of which the bulk of evidence relied upon by the appellants was disregarded by the two lower courts.

“The evidence of PW11 and PW51 were rejected on the ground that they were unable to prove any anomalies in the 388 polling units. The appellants did not plead or base their claims on any anomalies in the polling units. Their case was that votes lawfully earned were unlawfully excluded from the collation at ward level. The documents relied upon were alleged to be fake or forged but none of the respondents was able to prove forgery.

“I hold that on a preponderance of evidence, the appellants discharged the burden on them of proving that the results from 388 polling units, which were in their favour, were excluded from the collation of results and that if the excluded votes were added to the results declared in their favour, they would have emerged as the winners of the election.

“This court does not lightly set aside concurrent findings of the two lower courts. I will however, disturb those findings where it is satisfied that there is an apparent error on the face of the proceedings showing or manifesting that such findings are perverse.

“On this basis, I hold that the two lower courts were wrong when they held that the appellants failed to prove their entitlement to the reliefs claimed. I find these two issues sufficient to determine the appeal” the Supreme Court maintained.

Not satisfied with these pronouncements, PDP is set to approached the apex court to review, revisit and if possible reverse itself.

The party’s National Chairman, had last week during a World Press Conference, expressed shock that the apex court went ahead to allocated fictitious votes to Senator Uzodimma who came fourth in the election to ensure he was declared winner. He also pointed out that the allocated votes over shot the total votes cast during the elections, arguing that over voting was part of the reasons the collation officer gave for cancelling the election result.

He said, “That the Supreme Court, as presently constituted under Justice Mohammed Tanko, has become heavily compromised; lost its credibility and is now annexed to execute ignoble agenda of the APC-led Federal Government against the Nigerian people.

“That the judgment of the Supreme Court voiding the lawful election of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha (who scored 276,404 votes) and awarding fictitious votes to declare Hope Uzodimma of the APC, who scored 96, 458 votes as governor of Imo state, is highly irrational, unfounded, a provocative product of executive manipulation and a recipe for crisis, which should not be allowed to stand.

“With the verdict, the Supreme Court executed a coup against the PDP and the people of Imo state as well as other Nigerians, and such must not be allowed to have a place in our democracy”.

Meanwhile, more facts have emerged that the Supreme Court failed to do foul-proof mathematical computation of the results of votes cast at the election, but relied only on the data personally compiled and submitted by Sen. Hope Uzodinma to declare him duly-elected governor of Imo State.

Our correspondents who obtained a copy of the certified-true-copy of the record of the appeal filed at the Supreme Court by Sen. Uzodunma and the All Progressives Congress (APC), which was issued by Nwana Ejike, Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Owerri, from an earlier record compiled by Ibrahim Garba, Secretary of the Imo State Election Petition Tribunal, observed that there were obvious mathematical and factual inconsistencies which the apex court waved aside.

It should be recalled that at the Governorship Election Tribunal, Sen. Uzodinma had from pages 9 to 27 of his petition drawn a table of votes allocation which he claimed were the figures obtained from the duplicate copies of Forms EC8A handed over to his party agents at the 388 polling units, which he claimed results were excluded in the overall result of the election.

From the table he compiled from the 388 polling units, there were 252,452 registered voters, who gave the APC 213,695 votes, and 1,903 to Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The table did not indicate the total number of accredited voters, nor the number of invalid votes, if any, and the votes allocated to the remaining 68 candidates that contested the election, aside from Uzodinma and Ihedioha.

However, from an analysis of the duplicate Forms EC8A tendered by PW54, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Rabiu Hussein, there were no fewer than six polling units where more votes were recorded above the registered voters.

For instance, on figure number 69 which showed votes cast at Eziama/Okpala (Umualum Village Square, Eziama), the total registered voters was put at 492, whereas the table showed that the APC scored 819 votes and PDP, 7 votes, providing 334 more votes than the registered voters, even without including the votes polled by the other candidates at the election.

Also on page 22 of the petition referencing polling unit 282, the registered voters was put at 591, whereas the tabulation showed that APC polled 586 votes and PDP 9 votes, with a total of 4 votes more than the registered voters, not including votes scored by the other candidates.

Similarly, at the same page 22 of the record, polling unit 285 (Obudi/Aro, Central Assembly Square, Unusable 11) with 449 registered voters, APC was credited with 780 votes and PDP with 4 votes, providing a total of 335 votes above the actual total registered voters at the unit.

In addition, figures obtained from page 79 of the record of appeal under item 384, APC scored 526 votes, while PDP was credited with 2 votes, and total votes cast was 526, which is two votes above total registered voters in the area. Both the EPT and the Appeal Court dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.

But in a unanimous 45 paged judgment delivered on 14th January and the 45-page judgment, the Court upturned the two lower courts’ decisions and declared Sen. Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as duly-elected governor of Imo State. The apex court said that votes from the disputed 388 polling units were wrongly excluded from the scores ascribed to Sen. Uzodinma, which was then added.

By relying on the faulty tabulation made by Sen. Uzodinma, the Supreme Court arrived at a figure of 950,952 votes, which is more than the 823,743 votes cast at the election, leading to 127,209 excess votes as affirmed by the Supreme Court.

It was also noticed that the Supreme Court avoided mentioning figures, details of announced results tabulation details, total number of votes cast, voided votes and the votes of the other political parties in the 388 polling units even as it added the disputed figures to the APC.

In the second order made in the judgment, Justice Kekere-Ekun simply declared: “It is hereby ordered that the appellants’ votes from the 388 polling units unlawfully excluded from the appellants’ score shall be added to the figure declared by the 3rd respondent (INEC)” and orders that he be immediately sworn-in.

Political pundits are of the view that the judgement of the Supreme Court on Imo election is a judicial precedence and that another precedence will be set if the apex court reverses itself.

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