By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Justice Chima Nweze on Tuesday gave a dissenting ruling when the Supreme Court in Abuja dismissed the application for review of its January 14, 2020 judgment which removed Emeka Ihedioha as Imo State Governor, and declared Hope Uzodinma as the valid winner of the last governorship election in the state.
A seven-man panel of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, in a split ruling of six-to-one, described the application by Ihedioha as an invitation to sit in an appeal over its judgment.
But Justice Nweze, in disagreeing with the majority judgment, held that the Supreme Court had the power to overrule itself in a desirous situation.
He affirmed the Court of Appeal’s decision which upheld Ihedioha’s victory, adding that the apex court in the January 14, 2020 judgment wrongly declared Uzodima winner of the last governorship election.
“The reasoning in the judgment will sooner or later haunt our electoral jurisprudence,” Nweze said.
He said although his opinion was dissenting, “it is an appeal to the brooding spirit of the law.”
He noted that Uzodinma misled the court to accept the allegedly excluded results in 388 polling units without indicating the votes polled by other political parties.
He also faulted the results from the said polling units without indicating the number of accredited voters in the polling units.
Justice Nweze recalled how Uzodinma admitted at the election tribunal that he hijacked the result sheets from the Independent National Electoral Commission’s officials and completed the result sheets by himself.
He said the results could not be valid without indicating the number of accredited voters.
Justice Nweze, who commended Ihedioha’s lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN) for having the courage to file the application for the review of the judgment, said the apex court’s verdict gave rise to having the number of votes cast exceeding the number of accredited voters.