National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has described as expected and predictable the Supreme Court’s ruling validation of its earlier judgement upholding the election of Hope Uzodinma as Imo state governor.
Briefing newsmen on Tuesday after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, the APC boss also proposed an amendment to the Electoral Laws to prevent the nation’s courts from awarding electoral victories to politicians on the basis of legal technicalities.
According to him: “We know that (Emeka) Ihedioha did not have the required number and that is a fact that nobody has ever disputed. How anybody thought he can impose someone who did not meet the spread is only known to PDP; because, they specialize in rigging and they see rigging as their birth right and that is why they could have the guts to be protesting in front of foreign embassies as if Nigeria is a colony under the supervision of some foreign powers.
“So, I think what the Supreme Court has done today is just to reaffirm that they are Supreme and whatever they did the last time was on the basis of what was before them. They did not make mistakes; there are no gaps; no ambiguity and therefore there was no basis to re-approach them to sit on the appeal in their own judgement. I think they are just being consistent with the position they took in previous cases.”
Oshiomhole also dismissed claims by the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that the votes affirmed by the Supreme Court to make Uzodinma winner of the Imo governorship election were more than the registered voters in the state.
He said that “those are not proven because if they were, it was up to their counsel to provide evidence that it was more than the registered votes, not to go and sit on television. Matters before the court are canvassed before the court. Issues not raised in the court cannot be raised on television. I assume your question is informed by those uninformed, self-serving speculations. They don’t merit my reaction.”
On courts awarding victories to politicians, Oshiomhole said: “what I think that we must discuss as a people, which concerns you and I as Nigerians, who believe in democracy, is that the law should be amended, such that no matter what happens, when people have voted, they cannot be dismissed as ‘April Fool’.
“Court should not impose. If the court finds out that the preferred candidate did not win, for me the only democratic option, legal option will be to repeat the exercise. Nothing should empower the court to impose a man rejected by the people, on the people. That goes to the heart of democracy and it destroys the fabric of our democratic process.
“So, in amending the Electoral Act, one of the things I’ll like to see the Parliament do, and we are going to make a representation,is that in the unlikely event that the people have voted in good faith, for a candidate that was validly put before them by INEC, and looking at the faces of the candidates they opted for a particular one, if anybody has any issue with that one that the people prefer and has won, the court cannot impose the person that was rejected.
“The very best the court can do is to order that the exercise be repeated because in a democracy, nobody, other than the people, can choose who governs them, not the courts. For me this is fundamental when it comes to who actually won the election. The issue of whether Muhammed, Muhammadu or Momoh, whether they are one and the same person is too technical for the real electorate to bother about, when there are no two people parading themselves as to suggest whether there’s a case of impersonation. This system should not be detained by technicalities.
“At the heart of every judicial pronouncement on elections must be who actually won the majority of lawful votes and if for any reason they found themselves compelled to nullify that person, they should not be empowered to award governorship to a man rejected by the electorate, otherwise, what is democracy about?
“Now, the man in Bayelsa is going to govern a state that did not mandate him, purely on technical grounds. Nations are not governed by technicalities, they are governed by people popularly elected. That is the democracy we chose. This is not partisan issue at all, it’s about democracy. Court cannot impose losers as winners, for me it’s too fundamental.”