The Supreme Court has sacked Emeka Ihedioha as Governor of Imo State and declares Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him with certificate of return.
A seven-member panel of the apex court gave the verdict in a unanimous judgment on Tuesday in Abuja.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun also ordered the immediate swearing in of Uzodinma as lawful winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State. It said the lower court erred in law when it rejected evidence tendered before them to the extent that votes from 388 polling units were not credited to the APC and Hope Uzodinma.
The judgment set aside the judgment of the Imo election petition tribunal and that of the Court of Appeal which declined to recognise and accept the votes of the 388 polling units as being unlawfully excluded in the general collation.
Uzodinma and APC had in their appeal pleaded with the apex court to review the judgment of the two lower courts against them and restore their victory in the March 9, 2019 governorship election.
The apex court earlier dismissed the appeal against the election of Ihedioha by Uche Nwosu the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) after he withdrew the suit.
Reacting to the judgment, Uzodinma, through his spokesperson, Declan Emelumba, said his stolen mandate has been recovered by the Supreme Court even as he accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of not having good plans for the state.
Meanwhile, former governor of Imo State, Sen. Rochas Okorocha, has hailed the Supreme Court judgment and congratulated Uzodinma, even as he promised to support his government to succeed in Imo.
The PDP however described the verdict of the apex court as “yet another very sad commentary on Nigeria’s democratic order.”
PDP, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Tuesday said that the PDP and Nigerians were still at a loss as to understand the basis upon which the court arrived at its decision.