There seems to be no end to the controversy generated by the January 14, 2020 Imo State guber Supreme Court judgment. This is as a result of reliable feelers we are getting on the March 2, 2020 Imo State guber Supreme Court review.
A source close to the All Progressives Congress (APC) hierarchy has revealed to us a plot to arm-twist the Supreme Court to order a rerun in the controversial 388 polling units where the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had maintained that elections did not take place.
Recall that INEC had tendered Form EC 40G before the Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal, the Court of Appeal and even the Supreme Court showing that there were no elections in those polling units.
The allocation of these votes increased the total number of accredited voters as published by INEC to 945, 180 which is 121, 437 votes higher than the 823, 743 released by INEC. This is clearly a case of over voting.
This also is in addition to the fact that the results of the 388 polling units were apparently wrongfully admitted as it was tendered by a policeman who is not an INEC official.
The law says only INEC officials who participated in the very elections in dispute are legally allowed to tender result sheets of the polling units where they worked. However, the Supreme Court also ignored these glaring discrepancies and went ahead to declare Uzodinma winner.
According to our source, the APC are mindful of the controversy the flawed judgment had generated both within and outside the country, and as a result have devised a subtle strategy to arm-twist the Supreme Court Justices to give them a soft landing by ordering a rerun in the 388 polling units.
In that way, they hope to avoid the imminent sanctions that may follow from the US, EU and the International Community should the judgment go otherwise.
However, some prominent lawyers are of the opinion that declaring a rerun would be a worse injustice than the earlier judgment.
This according to them, is based on several cogent reasons which includes the fact that the Supreme Court had in an earlier judgment ruled that Hon Uche Nwosu was the authentic APC candidate in the March 9, 2019 Governorship Election.
However, he was disqualified for double nomination since he was also nominated by the Action Alliance (AA) as their candidate.
The connotation of this judgment is that the APC never fielded any candidate in that election. Therefore on what bases will the Supreme Court order a rerun when the Respondent (Uzodinma) was not a candidate in the election?
However, we were also reliably informed by our source that the APC are desperate to retain a State in the Southeast and would try every means possible to pressure the Supreme Court to order a rerun at all cost.
According our source, this accounts for the reason Uzodinma visited President Muhammadu Buhari recently to request for a refund of N32bn which he claimed his predecessor and political ally, ex-gov Rochas Okorocha expended on Federal projects in the State. The actual plan is that as soon as the Supreme Court orders a rerun, the Federal Government would release about N10bn to Uzodinma which he will use to fund the rerun election. With N10bn in his war chest, the APC is confident that they would stampede the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and retain their control over the State.
Nonetheless many political pundits have advised against the Supreme Court allowing the APC to further drag the noble judiciary in to the pit of ignominy by giving another controversial judgment. They opined that it is pertinent for the Supreme Court to consider the local and international tension which was occassioned by the last judgment and reverse same, so as to douse the tension. Stressing that in failing to do the right thing the Supreme Court may trigger a national and international crisis of high magnitude, which Nigeria may not recover from.
They also advised the Supreme Court to refer to late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa’s remark that the Supreme Court, though infallible, is still comprised of men who are fallible and as a result prone to mistakes. Oputa also counseled that it is the duty of the Supreme Court to correct such mistakes when identified in order not to legalize what is unlawful. Consequently, it is fit and proper for the Supreme Court to take the path of honour and seize this second chance to redeem it’s badly damaged image and save the country further embarrassment, before it is too late.
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