Umeadi v Uzodinma: Would the Supreme Court be contradicting itself by returning Ihedioha?

By Maazi Obinna Akuwudike

There has been this notion, that the Supreme Court would be contradicting itself, if it rules against Senator Hope Uzodinma in the suit filed by Philip Umeadi SAN, and subsequently reinstate Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, as the rightful govenror of Imo State. 

These are two separate rulings, no matter how related they are. In one ruling, the Supreme Court affirmed that Uche Nwosu was the candidate of the APC and the AA, and as such, for holding dual candidacy, he and the parties were disqualified. 

Now we have to understand that this suit was filed separately, from the suits, Hope Uzodinma, Uche Nwosu and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume filed at the Supreme Court, challenging the emergence of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, as govenror of Imo State. 

At this different ruling, the Supreme Court, affirmed that by the available votes present to them, the APC, now note this, the APC, not Hope Uzodinma, won the election.

Note that in our electoral system, until we start having independent candidacy, the party, not the individual wins at elections.

This is the outcome the PDP holds against the APC in Okigwe, where the candidates of the both factions of the APC, Frank Ibezim and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, were both disqualified on the eve of the election, meaning that the party went to the election without a candidate, and as such is disqualified. In Rivers State, when Omehia won the election, Rotimi Amaechi came and took the party ticket from him, having been proven to have won the party’s primaries. He became govenror without going to the polls.

It was the duty of Ihedioha’s lawyers, to object even before the ruling, based on this new evidence of a contradictory ruling by the Supreme Court. Had they done so then, Ihedioha would certainly not have been removed, and whatever votes were supposedly manufactured in the 388 wards, would have been wasted.

The Supreme Court worked with what was available to it, according to the case before it, which was not notified of Uche Nwosu’s disqualification based on dual candidacy.

With Philip Umeadi’s suit, it now lies on the Supreme Court, to harmonize the two judgements, and summarily disqualify the APC from the election tribunal suit, since the AA had earlier on that day, withdrawn from the case. The Supreme Court, without contradicting itself, can then stand by their earlier judgement that the APC won the election, but based on new evidence notifying them of the disqualification of the party, the second runner up, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP, would be returned as govenror of Imo State. 

This seems the expected ruling over this matter, and a contrary ruling, could now give indications to the people who are keenly watching, reason to doubt the credibility of the court.

The hearing of the suit filed by Philip Umeadi, was supposed to be yesterday 11th January, 2021. The reason it did not come up is unclear, and it heightens the apprehension in the state.

This is one case Imo people are waiting eagerly to hear the outcome, so that the ghosts of the 2019 Imo General Elections can finally be put to rest, with the choice of the people emerging Victorious in the end.

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