Ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled review of its judgement on the Imo State governorship tussle, the Supreme Court has been called upon by the Alliance of Civil Societies to constitute another panel of Justices, with a view to upturning the verdict in favour of Emeka Ihedioha.
The Supreme Court had last month nullified the election of Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and awarded the governorship to Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by recognising hundreds of votes hitherto rejected by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Describing this as miscarriage of justice, the Alliance of Civil Societies at a press briefing in Abuja on Sunday, highlighted some reasons for a review, and asked the Supreme Court to admit its error for the sake of justice, and to address a possible dent on the credibility of Nigerian judiciary.
At the conference entitled: ‘Ending Judicial Opprobrium and Securing Sanctity’, the group, represented by Livinus Ibiang and Ugochuckwu Hanks-Ezekiel, urged the apex court to demonstrate courage and fairness by carefully reconsidering the many aspects of its earlier judgement that the group sees as very flawed.
According to Ibiang: “Our demands are simple:
*A new panel should look into the review. *The Court owes Imolites and Nigerians in general the clarity as to what happened to the votes of the PDP and other parties in the 388 units tendered by the APC and its candidate.
*That the Court of Appeal had earlier dismissed the petition of Senator Hope Uzodinma as incompetent and struck it out. However, the Supreme Court did not consider the appeal of Hope Uzodinma on this point and so the judgement of the Court of Appeal dismissing the petition still stands or subsists. There was therefore no basis for the Supreme Court to pronounce on the Appeal and declare Hope Uzodinma, elected.
*That the judgement was delivered without jurisdiction in that by virtue of S.140(2) of the Electoral Act, once the Court says that the election was invalid, the only possible judgement the Court is allowed to give is a nullification of the election, and not to declare Hope Uzodinma, winner.
*That there was no proof before the Court nor did the Supreme Court state how it arrived at the declaration that Hope Uzodinma met the constitutionally required geographical spread. To meet this requirement, the Supreme Court ought to state the scores and percentages of all the 70 candidates that contested the election, Local Government by Local Government. This was not done by the Supreme Court and therefore had no basis and jurisdiction to declare Hope Uzodinma winner of the election.
*That the judgement was a nullity having been obtained by fraud or deceit in that Hope Uzodinma fraudulently misled the Supreme Court into holding that a total of 213,495 were unlawfully excluded from his votes. The fraud was further orchestrated by the fact that the total votes cast was more than the number of voters accredited to vote. The fraud was further demonstrated by the document tendered by INEC (FORM EC40G) which clearly showed that there were no valid elections in the disputed 388 polling units.
*That the judgement was a nullity because it was given per incuriam, which means that the Supreme Court did not advert its attention to some existing laws and facts even on the face of the proceedings.”
Ibiang added that “those who mean well for the nation will agree that we have here an opportunity for the Supreme Court to mitigate public misgiving of our courts and to rehabilitate her reputation and restore the good name of the judiciary by setting aside this judgment which seems to us to be a nullity.”