A group, Eminent National Leaders of thoughts in the Nigerian Civil Society and Third Force Movement, has faulted the Supreme Court ruling that annulled the electoral victory of former Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.
In a joint statement issued following consultative meetings held in Abuja, Imo and Lagos, and signed by their Spokesperson, Dr. Olusegun Awe Obe, the leaders said the errors of the lordships at the apex court was capable of throwing the state into major political upheaval and anarchy, capable of derailing the peace hitherto enjoyed in the state and the entire South East.
The group said the contradictions inherent in the judgment was very glaring, making it clearly erroneous and faulty in foisting a candidate that came forth in an election on the people of the state.
The Eminent Civil Society Leaders argued that the apex court jettisoned the precedence it set in Abubakar Atiku vs Muhammadu Buhari that the petitioner ought to call witnesses in all the polling units he claimed he was rigged out to prove his case.
The body also averred that apart from the fact that the total valid votes, which the Supreme Court based its ruling on, erroneously exceeded the Total Accredited Voters by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the election, the declared winner, Hope Uzodinma, also did not fulfill the Constitutional requirements for a validly elected Governor of having to score at least one-quarter of all the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the Local Government Areas in the State.
The group also faulted the PW54, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Hussein, whose subpoena was lodged with the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and kept secret from the respondent.
The group said it amounted to a double standard that Uzodinma, whose candidature has been rendered null and void by their lordships who had earlier held in December in their ruling that the Action Alliance candidate, Uche Nwosu, was the validly nominated candidate of the All Progressives Congress, which Uzodinma was laying claim to.
The leaders said: “If their lordships have determined that Nwosu was the APC candidate, it’s then illogical to declare Uzodinma as the validly elected governor since there’s no provision for independent candidate in the constitution.
“Since, it’s not possible to build something on nothing, it amounts to approbate and reprobate on the part of the Supreme Court to declare Uzodinma whose candidature of the APC has been rendered a nullity.”
The Leaders, who described the judgment as: “MIRACLE Judgement,” claimed that it has completely overthrown all known judicial precedence and electoral jurisprudence in Nigeria, adding: “It would appear to be based on extra legal considerations, therefore requires a desired reversal by the supreme Court as dictated by precedence.”
The group while clarifying a poser about the Supreme Court powers to review or reverse its earlier decision, stated: “While delivering the lead judgment in Adegoke Motors Ltd. v. Adesanya (1989] 13 NWLR (Pt.109) 250 at page 275A, Justice Chukwudifo Oputa, also known as the ‘Socrates’ of the Supreme Court considered the powers of the Supreme Court (as the final Court in the land) to review its earlier decisions and said inter alia: We are final not because we are infallible; rather we are infallible because we are final. Justices of this Court are human-beings, capable of erring. It will certainly be short sighted arrogance not to accept this obvious truth. It is also true that this Court can do inestimable good through its wise decisions. Similarly, the Court can do incalculable harm through its mistakes. When therefore it appears to learned counsel that any decision of this Court has been given per incuriam, such counsel should have the boldness and courage to ask that such a decision be over-ruled.
“This Court has the power to overrule itself (and has done so in the past) for it gladly accepts that it is far better to admit an error than to persevere in error.”
The group therefore urged the Court to overrule itself and restore the mandate legitimately given by the Imo people but taken in error back to Ihedioha, its rightful owner, to avoid the precipitation of a major uprising and anarchy in Imo capable of spreading to the entire South East.