Home SOCIETY GIST COMMUNITY GIST HOW UZODINMA BECAME GOVERNOR OF IMO STATE DESPITE COMING FOURTH IN THE ELECTION

HOW UZODINMA BECAME GOVERNOR OF IMO STATE DESPITE COMING FOURTH IN THE ELECTION

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Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State on Tuesday by the Supreme court, and this has brought the question of how someone who came fourth could replace the person who came first to the minds of Nigerians.

This article will However clarify the thoughts and hopefully answer the questions.

On Tuesday, the election of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was nullified by the Supreme Court, and Uzodinma was ordered to be sworn in immediately.

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In the judgment made by the seven-member panel, read by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the Supreme Court held that results in 388 polling units were unlawfully excluded during result collation.

According the Judge, when the excluded results were added, it meant that Uzodinma polled a majority of the lawful votes cast and should have been declared winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Ihedioha’s election was therefore voided by the supreme court, declaring that the certificate of return which was wrongly issued to him be immediately withdrawn and a fresh one issued to Uzodinma.

“It is thereby ordered that the appellant’s votes from 388 polling units unlawfully excluded from the appellant vote declared shall be added and that the first respondent, Emeka Ihedioha, was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast at the said election,” the Supreme Court said.

The Court of Appeal had last November 19 affirmed Ihedioha’s victory.

It disagreed with the appellants, who had argued that he did not obtain the constitutionally required one-quarter of the votes cast in at least two-thirds of the 27 Local Government Areas (LGAs) as provided under Section 179 of the 1999 Constitution.

Last March 11, the Returning Officer, Vice-Chancellor, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Prof Francis Otunta, said Ihedioha scored the highest number of votes (273,404).

He declared him the winner “having satisfied all the requirements of the law and scored the highest number of votes”.

Action Alliance (AA) candidate Uche Nwosu polled 190,364 votes; All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate Ifeanyi Ararume scored 114,676 votes.

Uzodinma, who came fourth, polled 96,458, while Ikedi Ohakim of the Accord Party (AP) got 6,846 votes.

Dissatisfied, Nwosu, Ararume and Uzodinma petitioned the Election Tribunal.

In Uzodinma’s petition, He sought to be declared the winner claiming he scored the majority of lawful votes cast.

He argued that he satisfied the mandatory constitutional requirement of LGA spread, adding that the election was heavily manipulated by collation officers of Mbaise extraction allegedly recruited hurriedly by INEC.

The Senator claimed that the collation officers deliberately omitted to collate the results from 388 polling units that were his stronghold.

He claimed that by the results declared at the polling unit level by the presiding officers, he got 213, 695 votes in the 388 polling units.

Uzodinma then prayed the tribunal to retrieve the excluded votes, add them to the figures declared by INEC, which will make him the candidate with the highest votes.

In the main, Uzodinma’s petition was predicated on his claim that INEC unlawfully cancelled results in most polling units where he scored majority votes.

He contended that INEC lacked the power to nullify the election of a polling unit after the presiding officer had declared the result.

Uzodinma contended that when the votes in the polling units unlawfully cancelled by INEC are added to the 96,458 allocated to him, he would have the highest number of valid votes cast.

However the Supreme court came to Uzodinma’s rescue after the allegations were confirmed to be True, Ihediohas victory was nullified and Uzodinma Emerged the Winner.

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THE NATION.

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