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The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, upheld Senator Hope Uzodinma‘s status as the Governor of Imo State, dismissing calls for his removal.
The Peoples Democratic Party and its gubernatorial candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, presented a plea to the Supreme Court, asking for the execution of its 2019 judgment that disqualified Uche Nwosu based on his dual nomination by both the AA and the All Progressives Congress.
A 5-man panel of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Inyang Okoro, rejected an application aiming to unseat Uzodinma, asserting that he wasn’t properly nominated by the APC for the election that secured his initial tenure in 2019.
The Supreme Court stated that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the appeal, dismissing it as frivolous and highly vexatious.
The panel imposed a personal cost of N40 million against Chief Mike Ozehkome, SAN, who represented the PDP and Ihedioha in the case.
The case, which had been in the Supreme Court docket for over 3 years was initially fixed for hearing on October 31, but was later rescheduled till after the 2023 governorship poll in the state that led to Uzodinma’s re-election.
By the application, the applicants further sought to invalidate the years that Uzodinma spent in office as the Governor of Imo state.
Though the appeal was initially brought before the apex court by Mr. Uche Nwosu who was the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance, AA, in the 2019 election, however, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, who won the said contest, applied to be joined as interested parties in the matter.
The Appellants argued that if the apex court recognised Nwosu as the candidate of the APC, there was no legal basis for its subsequent judgement that sacked Ihedioha and declared Uzodinma who was also sponsored by the same APC, as the valid winner of the governorship poll.
As a result, the PDP urged the apex court to restore its candidate, Ihedioha, back to office, since the APC was precluded from sponsoring two candidates in the election.
In an affidavit deposed to by one Adedamola Farokun, the PDP averred: ‘The third Respondent/Applicant (PDP) is neither in any way seeking a review of the valid, subsisting and well-considered judgement of this court delivered in this appeal in 2019, nor seeking a review of the judgement of this court delivered on January 14, 2020, in SC/462/2019, but humbly seeking that this court give effect to its judgement delivered on December 20, 2019.’
The applicants maintained that there was no rationale for the recent election held in the state on November 11 since Ihedioha had not finished his tenure.
‘That this court has the constitutional, inherent powers and jurisdiction to grant the reliefs sought and give effects to its judgement.’
‘That it is in the interest of justice for this court to exercise its wide discretionary powers in favour of granting this application as prayed.’
Farokun, in the affidavit, stated that Uzodinma was not the APC candidate, referring to the court’s decision that Nwosu was nominated by both the APC and the AA.