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2019 S’Court Looming Verdict Raises Tension In Imo State – Uzodimma Jets To London

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From Joshua Chibuzo Andrew| Owerri

Imo State is gripped with anticipation and anxiety as the Supreme Court gears up to decide on a critical appeal challenging the legitimacy of Governor Hope Uzodimma’s years in office on December 5, 2023.

It has also been speculated in the state that the Governor, Hope Uzodimma has allegedly moved to London for an undisclosed reason.

The appeal, filed three years ago, has shed light on the sluggishness of the justice system and raises questions about the impact of the recent November 11, 2023 governorship election won by Uzodimma.

The case, initially scheduled for October 31, was deferred to December 5 to allow for the completion of the November 11 governorship election.

Despite Uzodimma securing a second term in that election, concerns persist about the Supreme Court’s resolve to address contentious matters that have lingered since 2019.

The legal saga began in January 2020 when the Supreme Court delivered a controversial judgment sacking Emeka Ihedioha as governor, replacing him with Uzodimma, who was not a candidate in the election according to the court’s earlier ruling. The decision left many bewildered and sparked ongoing legal battles.

In December 2019, the Supreme Court had disqualified Uche Nwosu for double nomination, being the candidate of both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Action Alliance (AA) in the March 9, 2019 governorship election.

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However, in a surprising turn of events in January 2020, the same court overturned its earlier judgment and declared Uzodimma the winner, disregarding its own stance on double nominations.

The contradictions in the court’s decisions prompted the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to file a motion seeking the removal of Governor Uzodimma from office and calling for a fresh election.

APGA argued that Uzodimma’s nomination by the APC was not established by the court, and therefore, Imo State had no duly and validly elected governor.

The court’s delayed response to enforce its judgment led to a subsequent contradictory judgment on January 14, 2020, recognizing Uzodimma as the governor based on the March 9, 2019 election.

APGA, along with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Alliance for Progressive Party (APP), filed fresh appeals urging the court to uphold its 2019 verdict disqualifying Nwosu and to restore Ihedioha as governor.

PDP is asking the apex court to restore its candidate, Ihedioha, back to office, since the APC was precluded from sponsoring two candidates in the Imo State governorship election.

In an affidavit filed in support of the application, which was deposed to by a legal practitioner, Adedamola Farokun, PDP averred: “The 3rd 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.

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“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 also averred that Uzodima was not the candidate of the APC based on the court’s judgement that Nwosu was nominated by both the APC and the AA.

PDP urged the Supreme Court to hold that “both the AA and APC did not sponsor and/or field any candidate for the governorship election held in Imo State on March 9, 2019 in view of the double nomination of the appellant/respondent by the two political parties aforesaid, and his subsequent disqualification as their gubernatorial candidate, as found by this honourable court in its judgement.”

It argued that in view of the fact that governor Uzodimma did not contest the election as an independent candidate, there was no legal basis for him to be recognised as the validly elected governor of Imo State.

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