EMEKA Ihedioha has lost his battle to reclaim the governorship on Imo State after the Supreme Court dismissed his application challenging its earlier ruling which proclaimed Senator Hope Uzodinma as the duly elected governor of the state.
Last month, Senator Uzodinma, the former Imo West Senatorial District lawmaker was sworn-in as governor 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 Hon 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 however, the Supreme Court declared Senator Uzodinma the winner of the election after accepting his plea that his votes had not been counted.
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.
Refusing to accept the decision, the Hon Ihedioha, the former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, filed a fresh appeal with the Supreme Court. Today, his appeal was rejected in a six-to-one judgement as the Supreme Court dismissed his appeal.
Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, the chief justice of Nigeria, led five others to dismiss the application on the grounds that the court’s decision is final. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who read the lead ruling, held that the Supreme Court lacked the jurisdiction to review its judgment once it is delivered, adding that there is no law that mandates the court to reverse itself.
However, in a dissenting opinion, Justice Centus Nweze held that the court change its mind on any decision, having done so in the past. Justice Nweze held that the portion of judgment of the Court of Appeal, which struck out the petition by Senator Uzodinma, was not resolved by the Supreme Court.
He held that the Supreme Court was without jurisdiction to have given the judgment it gave declaring Senator Uzodinma winner. However, his ruling was a minority one, so the judgement declaring Senator Uzodinma the duly elected governor stands.