A former governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that its January 14 judgment that sacked him and declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progresives Congress the duly elected governor of the state was obtained by fraud or deceit.
He added that the apex court was misled to give the judgment.
Describing the judgment as a nullity, he asked the apex court to set it aside.
Ihedioha’s position was contained in an application which he filed before the apex court on Wednesday.
The application filed by Kanu Agabi (SAN) on behalf of Ihedioha and the Peoples Democratic Party, was brought in pursuant of Section 6 (6) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act 2004.
The application was supported with an affidavit sworn to by a lawyer, Uchenna Njoku.
A seven-man panel of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, had on January 14 unanimously declared Uzodinma of the APC winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election and the validly elected governor of the state.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who read the lead judgment, ordered that the certificate of return issued to Ihedioha be immediately withdrawn. She directed that a fresh certificate of return should be issued to Uzodinma.
In alleging fraud, however, Ihedioha and the PDP claimed that Uzodinma and his party fraudulently misled the apex court into holding that 213,495 votes were unlawfully excluded from the votes they scored in the governorship election held on March 9, 2019.
They said Uzodinma admitted under cross examination that he was the person, and not the Independent National Electoral Commission, who computed the result that gave him the 213,495 votes alleged to have been excluded from his total votes in the election.
They added, “The fraudulent nature of the additional votes was demonstrated by the fact that the total votes cast as shown in the first appellant/respondent’s computation was more than the total number of voters accredited for the election and in some polling units more than the total number of registered voters.
“The fraud was also demonstrated by the fact that the result computed by the first appellant/respondent showed only the votes of the first applicant and the first appellant/respondent without specifying the votes scored by the other 68 candidates who participated in the election.”
They further argued that the judgment sought to be set aside was a nullity in that it was given per incuriam.
They said by Exhibit A1, the total number of voters accredited for the election was 823, 743 while the total valid votes cast was 731, 485.
The inclusion of 213, 695 votes for the first appellant/respondent, they argued, made the total number of votes cast at the election to be more than the total number of votes accredited for the election.
The applicants also, among other grounds, argued that the judgment of the Court of Appeal dismissing Uzodinma’s petition as incompetent continues to subsist as the appeal against that decision was not considered by the apex court.
Justice Kekere-Ekun had ruled that with the addition of the excluded votes to the earlier declared final results, Uzodinma polled the highest lawful votes with the required spread of votes in the state.
Practical Considerations to Negotiate an Enforceable Joint Operating Agreement in Civil Law Jurisdictions (Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 2020) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, LL. B (1st Class), BL (1st Class), LL.M (Calgary), LL.M (Harvard), DPhil (Oxford), Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria, www.damilolaolawuyi.com. & Professor Eduardo G. Pereira, LL. B (Brazil), LL.M (Aberdeen), PhD (Aberdeen),www.eduardogpereira.com
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