Anxiety as Supreme Court reviews verdict on Imo today
• Uzodinma, IPOB trade words over alleged imposition
• I have done no wrong on Lyon, says Olanipekun
There is anxiety in Imo State as the Supreme Court begins hearing today in the application for the review of its January 14 judgment that removed Emeka Ihedioha from office as the governor.
Ihedioha, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), through his lead legal team, Kanu Agabi (SAN), approached the apex court to reverse the judgment in which it ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Ihedioha and issue it to Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The court relied on the admission of the votes from the 388 polling units, the computation of which made Uzodinma to be declared as the winner.
During the court’s sitting on the 18th of February, Agabi asked for an adjournment to enable his client to file more processes. It was granted and the case was adjourned to March 2.
In many parts of the state, at public and private gatherings, discussions yesterday were on the issue. Members of both camps were justifying their positions.
Last week, Ihedioha’s supporters led by the Director-General of the Ihedioha 2019 Campaign and immediate past Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vin Udokwu, held a prayer session at the Kanu Nwankwo Sports Centre, Owerri, seeking divine intervention to restore Ihedioha to power. A similar activity was going on in Uzodinma’s camp.
As Ihedioha’s supporters were praying, social media news filtered in that the former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives had withdrawn the case after knowing the outcome of the apex court’s ruling on a similar application for a review of its judgment on the governorship election in Bayelsa State. The report was swiftly countered by Udokwu, describing it as “the mother of all lies.”
Unperturbed, Uzodinma has continued with the governance of the state with the appointment of nine special advisers and postings of 22 permanent secretaries, among others. He is also hopeful of emerging victorious at the apex court at the end of the day.
The leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, said that the alleged forceful takeover of the Imo governorship seat by the APC was more religious than political.
According to Kanu, the decision to “foist” Uzodinma on the state as governor is part of a grand conspiracy against the Southeast geopolitical zone by forces loyal to the caliphate and the presidency. To him, the better option for the court would have been to order a repeat election in the disputed polling units.
The IPOB leader, who spoke on the 19th edition of his international broadcast from the United Kingdom monitored in Lagos on February 29, 2020, stated: “Uzodinma is an imposition, a caliphate stooge, and Fulani slave. The forces want to determine what happens in Imo State. What they want to occupy is Owerri, the spiritual nerve centre of Biafraland, because they believe they can strangulate us from Imo
“Uzodinma is a stooge of the caliphate like Okorocha before him. Their plan cannot stand, I don’t know who Ihedioha is and I don’t care, but we won’t allow the imposition of a stooge to stand. In order to avert disaster, the best thing they (justices of apex court) should do to redeem themselves is to call for a fresh election in the disputed areas. The imposition of the governor is unsustainable in law, before man and God. Justice must be served.”
He disclosed that in a bid to sustain the lies and fraud in Imo State, some people with fake Igbo-sounding names have been ranting on the social media, particularly on Facebook, to shore up support for Uzodinma
“We warn them and those who may want to use the Bayelsa scenario to justify the travesty in Imo State. Only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is charged to state the number of voters in an election in Nigeria.
“The question the apex court judges should answer today is: from where did they get the votes they credited to Uzodinma because INEC has denounced the number quoted by the apex court? “
In a swift reaction, Uzodinma, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Oguwike Nwachukwu, dismissed Kanu’s claim of imposition, saying that he duly won the election, but was denied victory, before the apex court did the right thing by restoring his mandate.
Nwachukwu said: “You should ask them who is imposing who? Is it the caliphate that voted for Governor Uzodinma? Is the caliphate, which is in Sokoto? Is the caliphate a member of the Supreme Court?
“When you hear some of these things, you ask pertinent questions to inform the people appropriately and for the credible platform you represent. You know what happened, pose such questions to them.
“The governor was duly elected, but they did not declare him, they blatantly robbed him of victory and the Supreme Court did the needful and returned his mandate to him, and somebody is talking of imposition by the caliphate. Does the caliphate have voters card in Imo State? Uzodinma was duly elected.”
Meanwhile, following protests by some politicians against some judgments of the Supreme Court, a group, Patriots for the Advancement of Peace and Social Development (PAPSD), has charged the justices to remain steadfast in their dispensation of justice no matter whose ox is gored.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the Executive Director, Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi, the group commended the Supreme Court justices for their courage in the discharge of their duties, noting that the decision of the court remains final.
Meanwhile, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) has said that he has done no wrong concerning the judicial review sought at the Supreme Court by the All Progressives Congress (APC) governor-elect in Bayelsa State, Chief David Lyon, jus as he promised to speak about it at the appropriate time.
In the suit seeking the review, Olanipekun had appeared alongside Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) and Lateef Fagbemi(SAN). The Supreme Court, however, dismissed the suit and awarded N30million fine against each of the litigants’ lawyers to be paid directly to the Peoples Democratic Party in the issue.
Olanipekun spoke in Ikere, Ekiti State yesterday during a thanksgiving service commemorating the dedication of a church auditorium which he donated to Saint Peter’s Anglican Church in the town.
“I have never regretted any of my actions since I started my legal practice because I always abide by the ethics of the job.
“The truth about the matter will be revealed soon, but I have the conviction that I have done no wrong, because this is a profession I love so much.
“I saw legal profession as a ministry. I am convinced and knew that what we did was within the best tradition in law. I can tell anyone about this. But I will speak about the whole thing at the appropriate time. I won’t say more than that now,” he said.