- The Supreme Court sacked Ihedioha and declared Uzodinma as the governor of Imo state
- Many are, however, wondering why Uzodinma who came fourth in the election became the winner
- This piece highlights how the Supreme Court arrived at its ruling which declared Uzodinma as the duly elected governor of Imo state
The Supreme Court on Tuesday, January 14, sacked Emeka Ihedioha as the governor of Imo state and declared the All Progressives Congress (APC)'s candidate, Hope Uzodinma, as the state's duly elected governor.
Uzodinma had asked the tribunal, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court to nullify the election of Ihedioha who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and declare him the winner.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ihedioha polled 273,404 while Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA) polled 190,364 votes. The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)'s candidate, Ifeanyi Ararume, polled 114,676 while APC's Uzodimma came fourth with 96,458 votes.
While Uzodinma had lost at the tribunal and the appeal court, he eventually got a favourable judgment where it matters most; the apex court.
The court cited the illegal exclusion of votes and wrong ruling at the governorship election tribunal and the appeal court as the basis for its verdict.
The question many Nigerians are, however, asking is how someone who came fourth in an election will be declared winner, especially when the candidates who came second and third in the election also filed appeals at the Supreme Court.
The PDP in its official reaction to the judgement recalled how Uzodinma came fourth at the poll and wondered how such a person could be declared the winner.
This piece sheds light on how Uzodinma emerged the winner ahead of Nwosu who came second and Ararume who came third.
First, Nwosu, Ararume and Uzodinma all challenged Ihedioha's election, from the tribunal to the appeal court.
The trio lost at the tribunal and the appeal court and proceeded to the Supreme Court.
Why Nwosu was not declared the winner
Before even considering whether he has the majority votes to be declared the winner, the apex court had earlier nullified the candidature of Nwosu as the AA's candidate.
The apex court held that Nwosu was not validly nominated to participate in the election and ruled that he did not have the right to file an appeal concerning the election.
Based on this ruling, Nwosu (who has returned to the APC) withdrew his appeal filed against the election of Ihedioha.
So, since the apex court has ruled that Nwosu was not validly nominated as the candidate of the AA in the election, there was no way he could have been declared the winner even if he had the majority votes. And the subsequent withdrawal of his appeal, based on the Supreme Court judgement, means he was no longer part of the final verdict.
Why Ararume was not declared the winner
Though Ararume had more votes than Uzodinma, according to the INEC's result, the APC governorship candidate became the candidate with the highest votes after the apex court ruled that unlawfully excluded votes be added.
The polling units where the votes were excluded are believed to be Uzodinma's stronghold where Ihedioha and the PDP allegedly scored 1,903 out of the total votes.
In the light of the massive votes added back to Uzodinma's earlier score, the court stood down judgement on Ararume's appeal.
The court held that Ararume's appeal was no longer necessary in view of the court's decision in the Uzodinma's appeal.
Thus, Nwosu who came second in the election according to INEC's results was disqualified because, according to the Supreme Court's ruling, he was not validly nominated to contest in the election.
Also, Uzodinma beat Ihedioha and Ararume because he got more votes than the two after the addition of the unlawfully excluded votes.
The apex court, therefore, declared Uzodinma, the winner of the election, ruling that he polled the majority lawful votes cast and satisfied the mandatory constitutional threshold and spread across the state.
Meanwhile, Ihedioha has accused the Supreme Court of subverting the will of the people of the state.
In a statement made available to Legit.ng on Wednesday, January 15, the former governor claimed he was clearly elected by the people of Imo.
Ihedioha further alleged that the mandate given to him by the people of the state has now been truncated and cut short by the apex court.
While recalling what his administration has done in the last seven months since he assumed office, the former governor went spiritual as he said "God knows why he has allowed this current state of affairs".
The sacked governor said he does not agree with the verdict of the apex court which he said came to him as a rude shock, describing it as unfair, unjust and does not reflect the voting that took place during the elections.
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