Imo Lawyers Reflect On Supreme Court Judgement On Imo State | Nara

“It’s the proper of each man, in parliament or out of it, within the press or over the published, to make honest remark, even outspoken remark, on issues of public curiosity. Those that remark can deal faithfully with all that’s achieved in a court docket of justice “. – Lord Denning in R vs. Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Exparte Blackburn (No. 2) (1968) 2 Q.B. 150.

In an unanimous judgement in Swimsuit No: SC 1462/2019 (Senator Hope Uzodinma& Anor vs. Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha& 2 Others) delivered on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, a seven-man panel of the Supreme Courtroom of Nigeria nullified the election of the erstwhile governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, and ordered the rapid swearing in of Hope Uzodinma because the validly-elected governor of Imo State.With the above dictum of Lord Denning in thoughts, Imo Progressive Legal professionals Affiliation (IPLF) has deemed it essential to ask sure pertinent questions relating to the Supreme Courtroom rulingthat sacked Emeka Ihedioha.

First off, we make daring to state that each Ihedioha and Uzodinma are revered sons of NDI IMO. This reflection particularly responds to the controversy which the Supreme Courtroom judgement generated because it was delivered. And extra importantly, it’s not misplaced on us thatformer governor Ihediohahas approached the apex court docket for a evaluate of the judgement that ousted him. The consequence is that the matter having been submitted to the Supreme Courtroom stays subjudice. As attorneys, we’re conscious that commenting on circumstances sub judice are usually thought-about inappropriate. Nevertheless, we’re constrained to boost the next questions after having learn the total judgement of the apex court docket.

Earlier than delving into the info of the matter, it’s instructive to notice that Part 179 (2) of the Structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) offers with the votes {that a} candidate should garner at a gubernatorial election to be declared winner. That part supplies:

179 (2): A candidate for an election to the workplace of governor of a state shall be deemed to have been duly elected the place, there being two or extra candidates –

  • he has the very best variety of votes solid on the election; and
  • he has not lower than one-quarter of all votes solid in every of not less than two-thirds of all of the native authorities areas within the state.

Guided by the constitutional directives above, we study the undisputed info within the current judgement. The precise info to notice are:

  1. The first Appellant (Hope Uzodinma) filed a petition difficult the return of the first Respondent (Emeka Ihedioha) on two grounds:

(a) The first Respondent was not validly elected by majority of lawful votes solid; and

(b) The declaration and return of the first Respondent is invalid by cause of non-compliance with the Electoral Act. (See web page 2 of the lead judgement delivered byKudiratMotonmoriOlatokunboKekere-Ekun JSC).

  1. Elections have been held in 27 Native Authorities Areas, 305 electoral wards and three, 523 polling models. The third Respondent (INEC) cancelled the election in 252 polling models, collated outcomes from 2,883 polling models and excluded outcomes from 388 polling models. The first Respondent averred that he scored 213,695 votes from solely the 388 polling models excluded. (See pages 2-3 Kekere-Ekun JSC’s judgement).
  1. Paragraph 7, a, b, c, d, e and f of the third Respondent’s (INEC’s) Reply categorically denied the claims within the Appellant’s petition, particularly the inaccurate computationof election outcomes as alleged. (See pages 31-32 of Kekere-Ekun JSC’s judgement).

Having established the legislation and the undisputed info within the matter, we search to boost the next questions in regards to the judgement –

A. The Appellant (Hope Uzodinma) pleaded that he scored over 213,000 votes from 388 polling models. Nevertheless, throughout the trial, his star witness, PW54, a police officer, solely tendered the outcomes of 366 polling models as a substitute of 388. The findings by the Tribunal, Courtroom of Attraction and the Supreme Courtroom additionally established that PW54 tendered outcomes of 366 polling models as in opposition to 388 polling models. Does this discrepancy not place the Supreme Courtroom on its enquiry?

B. The court docket is sure to take judicial discover that the utmost variety of voters per polling unit is 500 until there are extra voting factors created. Once more, 500 voters multiplied by 388 polling models can’t be greater than 194,000.00 votes. That’s to say that 500 voters multiplied by 366 would additionally, give solely a most doable of solely 183,000 votes. Cognizant of the understanding of deaths, voter transfers and voter apathy, the potential of all 500 voters in every of the 388 (or 366) polling models voting throughout an election could be very distant, if not unimaginable. So, whether or not by 366 or 388 polling models, the figures introduced by the Appellant depart each mathematical and logical gaping holes that must put the apex court docket on its enquiry.

C. Curious sufficient, the Supreme Courtroom refused to look into the cross-appeal of the First Respondent (Emeka Ihedioha), holding that the principle enchantment had made it pointless to judge the cross-appeal. With due respect to the apex court docket, maybe, if the cross-appeal had been evaluatedon its advantage, a few of questions highlighted above would been handled.

D. In gentle of A and B above, has the Supreme Courtroom happy itself that the circumstances set out in Part 179 (2) of the Structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) have been absolutely complied with as would warrant the nullification of Ihedioha’s election and the declaration of Uzodinmaas the precise winner?

Justice, they are saying, is just not a cloistered advantage. She should be allowed to undergo the scrutiny and respectful, even outspoken, feedback of extraordinary males”. – “Lord Atkin in Ambard vs. Legal professional-Basic for Trinidad & Tobago (1936) AC 322, 335. As ministers within the temple of justice and equally as stakeholders within the Imo governance structure,

Imo Progressive Legal professionals Affiliation are moved by Lord Atkin’s admonition to boost the above authorized questions. We desk these considerations as amicus curia, fuelled by the deep concern that the doctrine of stare decisis can be threatened if these points aren’t exhaustively reconsidered by the apex court docket.

Within the closing evaluation, the Supreme Courtroom is a coverage court docket, with its choices binding not solely on each decrease court docket, however on all different establishments and govt arms of presidency. Consistent with the entire bindingness of Supreme Courtroom’s judgement, Hope Uzodinma was sworn in as governor with alacrity. Our major concern due to this fact is that justice prevails. Not solely that, each regime of the state should derive its legitimacy from common democracy and sound utility of the rule of legislation.

We finish our reflections by reference to the next quotes by Lord Denning in his e-book ‘The Highway to Justice'(1955):

In each court docket in England, you’ll, I consider, discover a newspaper reporter… He notes all that go on and makes a good and correct report of it… He’s, I verily consider watchdog of justice… The choose will probably be cautious to see that the trial is pretty and correctly performed if he realizes that any unfairness or impropriety on his half will probably be famous by these in court docket and could also be reported within the press. He will probably be extra anxious to provide an accurate determination if he is aware of that his causes should justify themselves on the bar of public opinion’.

And likewise:

When a choose sits on a case, he himself is on trial… If there’s any misconduct on (his) half, any bias or prejudice, there’s a reporter to regulate him.” Lord Denning in his deal with earlier than the Excessive Courtroom Journalists Affiliation as reported within the Instances of third December 1964.

Signed Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, Basic Secretary

Matthias Emeribe, Publicicty Secretary,

Source by Emmanuel Udom

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