The Supreme Court has adjourned until Tuesday hearing in application filed by Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party asking it to review a judgment on the Imo State governorship that declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress winner of the March 9, 2019 election.
Ihedioha and the PDP had approached the court after the apex court on January 14, 2020 nullified his victory and declared Uzodinma as the winner.
Ihedioha was earlier declared the winner of the election by the electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission.
The apex court had resumed hearing on Monday.
However, after announcing appearances, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), lead counsel to Ihedioha, asked for adjournment because they were served with court processes in the court.
The seven-man panel of justices, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammed, adjourned the case until March 3 to allow the lawyers time to study the process served.
NAN reports that the application, which was was slated for hearing on February 18, was adjourned to March 2 based on the applicant’s counsel request.
The lawyer representing Uzodinma and the APC, Damian Dodo (SAN), and that of INEC, Taminu Inuwa (SAN), did not oppose the application for adjournment.
The News Agency Nigeria reports that the apex court had in an unanimous judgment nullified the election of Ihedioha and ordered that Uzodinma be sworn in as governor.
The apex court set aside the judgments of the state governorship election petition tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who read the unanimous decision of the apex court on January 14, held that the lower courts erred when they rejected the evidence tendered before them to the extent that the votes from the 388 polling units were not credited to the APC and Uzodinma.
Dissatisfied with the verdict of the apex court, Ihedioha, through his legal team, approached the Supreme Court in a motion on notice dated February 5 seeking to nullify the judgment delivered by the Court on January 14.
Ihedioha contended that the judgment sought to be set aside is a nullity in that it was delivered without jurisdiction by reason of the following:
“Having regard to Section 140(2) of the Electoral Act (as amended), the appellants/respondents divested this court of the relevant jurisdiction to declare the first appellant/ respondent as the winner of the gubernatorial election conducted in Imo State on March 9, 2019 by branding or stigmatising the entire election as invalid.”
Ihedioha and the PDP held that the apex court did not have the jurisdiction to declare that Uzodinma was duly elected in the absence of any proof that the votes ascribed to him met the mandatory geographical spread stipulated in section 179 (2) of the constitution.
NAN reports that Uzodinma in a preliminary objection dated February 5 asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the application filed by Ihedioha.
Uzodimma and APC’s preliminary objection against Ihedioha was brought pursuant to Section 6(6)(a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
The objection raised and argued the competence of the motion and the jurisdiction of the court to entertain same and therefore urged the apex court to strike out the motion filed by Ihedioha.
They said the application being a proceeding relating to or arising from the election of a governor is barred by expiration of time.
“The application constitutes an invitation to the Supreme Court to sit on appeal over its final decision,” Uzodimma posited.
They submitted that having delivered its final decision, the Supreme Court has become fuctus officio and divested of jurisdiction over the same subject matter.
They said Order 8 Rule 16 of the Supreme Court Rules 2014 prohibits the apex court from reviewing its judgment once given and delivered, save to correct clerical mistakes or accidental slip.