Security beefed up in Owerri ahead of Supreme Court’s verdict on Imo Governor’s Ihedioha-Uzodinma review request at 3pm

Security beefed up in Owerri ahead of Supreme Court’s verdict on Imo Governor’s Ihedioha-Uzodinma review request at 3pm

Security in Imo State has been stepped up ahead of the Supreme Court judgement in the Imo State governorship dispute between ousted Governor Emeka Ihedioha and Governor Hope Uzodinma.

Heavily armed security agents including soldiers are stationed at strategic junctions in Owerri, the state capital.

Armed security agents are also stationed at the entrance to the Imo State Government House.

The presence of security agents is to forestall any breach of the peace as a result of the politically volatile atmosphere in the state, Daily Sun has learnt.

The Supreme Court has stood down its proceedings till 3 pm when it will deliver judgement on the fresh application seeking to set aside its January 14 judgment that removed Emeka Ihedioha of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as governor of Imo State.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Mohammed, who led six other justices of the apex court, stood down after they heard all the parties on whether or not its January 14 judgement that sacked Ihedioha and installed Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as state governor should be set-aside.

Meanwhile, Ihedioha and the PDP, through their lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, urged the apex court to review and set-aside the judgement they argued was entered in error.

But responding, Uzodinma and the APC, through their lawyer, Mr Damian Dodo, SAN, prayed the court to reaffirm its decision by dismissing the fresh application they said constituted an abuse of court process.

On its part, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which is the 3rd Respondent, through its lawyer, Mr Taminu Inuwa, SAN, said it would abide by the decision of the apex court.

Earlier in the course of the proceedings, Agabi withdrew the initial review application his clients filed on February 5 and substituted it with another one dated February 17.

The previous application was accordingly struck out.

Arguing his case, Agabi said his clients were only praying the apex court to correct a mistake that occasioned a great miscarriage of justice against them.

“We are not here to challenge the authority of this court. We respect the supremacy of this court and we recognise that your judgement is final.

“If we can go to God in prayer to change his mind, so also we have come before this court to change its mind.”

The former Attorney-General of the Federation argued that judgment of the Court of Appeal that struck out Uzodinma’s petition for being incompetent was not decided by the Supreme Court.

Agabi noted that whereas only results from 366 polling units were in issue, the apex court panel erroneously made reference to 388 polling units.

He queried the whereabouts of the balance of results from 22 polling units in the state, saying “no indication was given as to what the results were in respect of the 22 polling units.

“It was a fatal error,” Agabi submitted, adding that from the computation of the apex court, the total number of votes cast at the election exceeded the total number of accredited voters by over 100,000 votes.

Besides, Agabi argued that Uzodinma had in his substantive petition before the Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, maintained that the gubernatorial contest that held in the state on March 9, 2019, was invalid by reason of corrupt practices and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

Ihedioha’s lawyer, therefore, contended that it was wrong for the apex court to declare Uzodinma winner of an election he adjudged to be flawed.

“He got a benefit for what he did not seek,” Agabi stated, urging the court to set aside its judgement that favoured Uzodinma and the APC and restore the Court of Appeal verdict that affirmed Ihedioha as the valid winner of the Imo state governorship election.

He insisted that the Supreme Court was adequately empowered by section 6(6) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, to reverse itself on the matter.

“My lords, when I was a child my father will beat me to cry and also beat me to stop. My lords, please we are crying, do not treat us like my father did. I urge you to set aside that judgement.

“My lords are human and can make mistakes, but the law has given you the power to correct yourselves so that your mistakes are not immortalised,” Agabi pleaded.

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