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Supreme Court adjourns hearing of Ihedioha’s appeal to March 2

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The Supreme Court yesterday adjourned hearing on the application filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha to Monday, March 2, 2020.

It had fixed hearing on Ihedioha’s appeal, seeking a review of the January 14, 2020 judgement that declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship poll in the state.

However, hearing on the appeal could not hold as Ihedioha’s lead counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), asked for an adjournment to enable him to respond to processes served him by the respondents. Ihedioha had in his appeal filed on February 6, prayed the apex court to review its judgment, which removed him from office on the ground that the ruling was a nullity and was liable for a review and subsequently reversed.

The request came immediately the parties to the matter announced their appearances before justices Sylvester Ngwuta, Kayode Ariwoola, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Amina Augie, Adamu Galinje and Uwani Aba-Aji.The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Ihedioha winner of the March 9 governorship election for winning majority of lawful votes cast at the poll.

But APC and its candidate, Uzodinma had approached the Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal. In their decisions, the courts upheld Ihedioha’s election and dismissed Uzodinma’s petitions on the ground that he failed prove his allegations against Ihedioha’s victory.

But the Supreme Court in its January 14 judgment voided the decisions of the lower court on the ground that they erred in law when they excluded votes from 388 polling units from the total valid votes at the poll. The apex court argued that when the excluded votes of over 200,000 were added, Uzodinma actually won majority of the lawful votes cast in the election.

Consequently, it declared Uzodinma governor of Imo State and ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued Ihedioha and issue a fresh one to him (Uzodinma.)Not comfortable with the verdict, Ihedioha filed a fresh appeal on February 6, asking the apex court to set aside the judgement on the ground that it was procured through fraud.

He argued that the court was misled because the petition against his election was speculative.And when the matter was called yesterday, Agabi informed the court that processes were still coming in and as such, he asked for a short adjournment to enable him to respond to them, adding that he was only served yesterday with the respondents’ process.

However, counsel to Uzodinma and APC, Damian Dodo (SAN) and INEC, Inuwa Tanimu (SAN) did not oppose the request.Consequently, the seven-man panel led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Ibrahim Muhammad, adjourned the matter till March 2 for further hearing. Meanwhile, hearing in another appeal filed by the APC in Zamfara State, also asking apex court to review its judgement was also adjourned to March 2.

The party is asking the court to review the consequential order, which barred it from participating in the 2019 general election due to its inability to conduct primary election within the stipulated time.


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