FORMER Imo West Senatorial District lawmaker Senator Hope Uzodinma is to be sworn-in as the Imo State governor over the next few days after the supreme Court of Nigeria ruled that he was the bonafide winner of last March’s gubernatorial elections.
During the last Imo State governorship elections, Senator Uzodinma stood as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate but came fourth in the published results. he secured 96,458 votes behind Governor Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party who got 273,404 votes, Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance with 190,364 votes and Ifeanyi Ararume of the All Grand Progressive Alliance who received 114,676 votes.
In a shocking decision today, however, the supreme court declared Senator Uzodinma the winner of the election. A seven-man panel led by chief justice of Nigeria Tanko Mohammad. unanimously declared Senator Uzodinma the victor in the March 19 polls.
Senator Uzodinma had contended that he scored the highest number of votes in the election but the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) returned Governor Ihedioha as the winner. Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun who delivered the judgment on behalf of the panel, declared that the votes due to Senator Uzodinma were unlawfully excluded from the 318 polling units and should be added to his votes.
Before ruling on the matter, the court considered the submissions of a principal witness who was on a subpoena to present results. In his submission, he held that the lower court was wrong in its earlier ruling that affirmed Governor Ihedioha as the winner of the election.
Justice Kekere-Ekun declared Senator Uzodinma as the validly elected Imo State governor and ordered that the certificate of return issued to Governor Ihedioha be withdrawn immediately. Senator Uzodinma is expected to be sworn-in this week as the legal process has now reached its end.