- APC wants President, NASS to prosecute him, others
- As CSOs urge ex-Gov. to seek S’ Court judgment review
By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin and Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole says Imo State Resident Electoral Commissioner Prof. Francis Ezeonu declared the governorship Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Emeka Ihedioha as elected governor of Imo State in error during the March 9 2019 governorship election.
He stated however that the recent Supreme court verdict which that returned Mr Hope Uzodinma, Candidate of the All Progressives Congress as the validly elected governor of the State, adding that such infraction and other matters of concern in Nigeria’s electoral system informed President Muhammadu Buhari resolve to push for the reform of independent National Electoral Commission before the later leaves office in 2023.
Oshiomole stated this during a unification rally held on Saturday in Auchi, Etsako West Local Government of Edo State to receive defectors from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Edo North Senatorial District.
According to him President Buhari has said that he will take some steps to correct the lapses that has been observed in the electoral process before he leaves office so that the next election will be free and fair and no need to go to Court.
“What that means is that anybody who wants to rig election is not in Buhari’s country and APC Buhari said he will not rig election for any body and wants electoral process where votes counts in the Country,”
“APC will push the president and the National Assembly to insert in the electoral law that any INEC official who deliberately declared a loser as the winner of election should be charged to Court when the Court establishes that a fraud has been committed.
“Everybody knows that you need one quarter of the votes in at least two third local governments in a state to be declared a winner or governor, but INEC recruited a professor of crook who declared Emeka Ihedeoha of the PDP who scored one third in 12 Local Governments out of 27, so if the Professor goes free with his loot, another person will try it again,” he said.
He said “that was the mischief that the Supreme Court corrected that they are hiring people to come and make noise. We don’t steal votes, we win votes. So I congratulate the Supreme Court for upholding the constitution of the Country,”
He said the rally has reinforced his confidence in winning the forthcoming Edo state governorship election for the APC, adding that with the decampees, no one is left in PDP in Edo North.
“Some people asked me why I am playing local politics as a national chairman and I told them that every politics is local. I don’t want to be an Abuja political who cannot win his poling unit, Local Government and state in election,”
“I don’t want to be an Abuja politician because I am a national chairman and on the day of election, I can’t win my unit. I don’t want to be a chairman who campaign and win election in other states and on Election Day I can’t win my unit, ward, house of assembly member and national assembly member. If I don’t win my place, how will I deliver the president and how will I be a useful national chairman,” he said
Earlier, the leader of the decampees, Engr. Abubakar Momoh, said they were joining the APC to work with Oshiomole and Governor Godwin Obaseki to succeed in the development of the state.
“A minimum of 30,000 members are leaving the PDP to the APC today. There is nobody left in the PDP in Edo North because aside those who left the APC and are coming back, those who had not leave the PDP since 1999 are also joining us,” he said.
Other dignitaries at the unification rally were, former deputy governor, Pius Odubu, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Chris Ogiewonmyi, Lucky Imasuen, Deputy Majority leader House of Representive, Hon Peter Akpatanson, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, Hon. Julius Ihonvbere, among others.
Meanwhile, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations, Sunday, urged the embattled former Governor of Imo state, Emeka Ihedioha to go for Supreme Court review of its Judgement that sacked him.
The rights group, through its Executive Director of Abuja Discussion Group, Dr Manzo Abubakar, said that the judgement of the Apex court that declared Senator Hope Uzodinma as governor of Imo state is unreliable and unscientific.
Dr Abubakar, while briefing the press, yesterday, submitted that there was nowhere in the petition or evidence that Hope Uzodinma claimed that he met the constitutional requirement of the spread to be declared the winner.
“Uzodinma only claimed it in the reliefs without any supporting pleadings or evidence; it is one of the wonders of the world that the Supreme Court declared him winner without any evidence is spread”.
The group maintained that the highest court of the land has denied the Imo people the opportunity to choose their leader, adding that His Lordships are mortals and are prone to mistakes.
He therefore called on Ihedioha to approach the court to correct the errors they made in their decision and restore justice, peace and hope in the judicial system to restore public confidence in the judiciary.
It would be recalled that the Supreme Court, on January 14, 2020 sacked Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as Governor of Imo state on the ground that he did not score the lawful majority votes in the March 9, 2019 governorship election held in the state.
In his place, the apex court ordered that Sen Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressive Congress (APC) be immediately sworn in as the duly elected governor of the state, in place of Ihedioha.
In the unanimous judgement delivered 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.
Kekere-Ekun said with the result from the 388 polling units, the APC governorship candidate polled majority lawful votes and ought to have been declared winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).
She held that the lower courts erred in law when they rejected the evidence tendered before them to the extent that the votes from the cancelled polling units, totaling 213, 295 in 388 polling units were not credited to the APC and Hope Uzodinma.
The court held that Ihedioha was not dully elected, “His election void and illegal”.
The court ordered that the certificate of return wrongly issued to lhedioha be immediately withdrawn by INEC and a fresh one issued to Uzodinma as the elected governor of the state.
Kekere-Ekun in the judgment set aside the judgment of the Imo state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and that of the Court of Appeal, both of which had refused to recognize and accept the votes of the 388 polling units as being unlawfully excluded in the general collation.
Uzodinma and APC had in their appeal pleaded with the apex court to review the judgment of the two lower courts against them and restore their victory in the March 9 governorship election.
The two appellants maintained that the unlawful exclusion of votes from 388 polling units denied them victory in the election.