Nigerian Supreme Court Declares Politician Who Won 2 Out Of 27 Council Areas In The Polls Governor Of The State

Posted on January 24, 2020Comments Off on Nigerian Supreme Court Declares Politician Who Won 2 Out Of 27 Council Areas In The Polls Governor Of The State

Residents of Imo, a state in Southeast Nigeria are yet to recover from the rude shock of the Supreme Court ruling on January 14, 2020. The Nigerian Supreme Court ruled that Governor Mr. Emeka Ihedioha’s declaration as governor was invalid and said that Hope Uzodimma a member of the ruling party in the center was the duly elected governor of the state.

The election took place on March 9, 2019.

Ihedioha polled 273,404 votes to defeat his closest contender, Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance, AA, who polled 190,364 votes. Senator Hope Uzodimma of the All Progressives Congress, APC, finished third with 96,458 votes. Both the first and second runners-up went to the court to challenge this result. The first court of instance upheld the result. The Appeal Court upheld the result. Then the parties gathered at the Supreme Court for the final judgment. The election was marred with pockets of violence and minor irregularities but everyone thought it was a formality, the court case. But actually, everyone has just positioned their face for a sucker punch.

It came, the Supreme Court declared Hope Uzodinma, the candidate who came third winner of the election.

Saying that the person who got 96,458 votes is the winner over candidates who scored 273,404 and 190,364 votes respectively is not the biggest shocker. Here is a breakdown of how the candidates fared in the 27 local council that makes up the state.

Emeka Ihedioha of PDP: 11 local council areas won

Henry Nwosu of AA: 10 local council areas won

Ifeanyi Ararume of APGA: 4 local council areas won

Hope Uzodimma: 2 local council areas won

Now, the candidate who was declared the winner is the one who won two local councils.

How the platform for the weird judgment was created

Before the judgment, the opposition and the media have accused the Supreme Court under President Buhari as bias and unduly partisan. It started with the manner with which the Chief Judge was appointed. The former Chief Justice was sacked over claims of corruption just one week before the Justice was to inaugurate the judges that would hear election disputed cases.

The Chief Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen, a Christain, is from the Southern part of the country. He was replaced by Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, a Muslim from the Northern part of the country same region and religion as the president. The southern part mostly voted for Buhari’s opponent Atiku Abubakar of the PDP in the hotly disputed election that many felt was won by the opposition. The presidency apparently didn’t trust a southerner to inaugurate the judges. And he has so many records of abuse of power that a section of Nigeria media addresses him as a dictator and calls his government a junta.

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The person president Buhari appointed Chief Justice only has a Sharia Law degree and rumors said he didn’t pass English Nigerian official language. Nigeria is a secular state.

As Chief Justice despite the allegations of massive fraud against the election of President Buhari, the Supreme Court refused to hear Atiku’s appeal challenging the election of Buhari. That is not all. The Supreme Court affirmed the gubernatorial results in Osun and Kano States where the president’s party candidates won in elections that both local and international observers called daylight robberies.

But the Supreme Court annulled the election in Imo State which wasn’t close and gave the victory to the president party’s candidate who didn’t even come second and who won less than ten percent of the local councils in the state.

The fallout of the judgment

For the first time in Nigerian democratic dispensation, there were protests against the ruling of the Supreme Court. And not just protests, there were mass protests. And not just in the affected Imo States. There were protests in states in the South East, South-South, South West and Northern regions of Nigeria. It was a shocker and word on the street from both supporters of the ruling party and the opposition say it was robbery ordered from the presidency. There is a saying in Nigeria that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. Now, the latest saying is “not anymore”.

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There were protests in Nigerian embassies in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

When approached by the media, the now-former governor Ihedioha said: “We are as shocked as you [journalist]; it was never anticipated” because the results were clear. The aggrieved political party released a statement saying, in part: “The party finds it difficult to understand how Hope who came 4th will suddenly defeat Emeka who came first… It is lamentable that the destiny of the people of Imo State is being taken from the governor they chose and handed over to individuals that do not have their mandate.”

It wasn’t just politicians that were in shock. The Association of Anglican Bishops in Imo State rejected the judgment of the court. They said the judgment brought up a lot of unanswered questions: “We are deeply worried at what will be the fate of future elections in Nigeria if the courts are allowed to use technicalities to subvert the will of the electorate.”

Image source: Vanguard