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Supreme Court’s Decision on Imo Governorship rattles Nigeria

On Tuesday, January 14, the Supreme Court nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governor of Imo State and declared Hope Uzodinma in replacement. Emeka Ihedioha had on May 29, 2019 been sworn in as governor. His election was challenged by three of the runner-up contestants in the Action Alliance (AA), the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the All progressives Congress (APC). The legal challenges to his election were dismissed at the tribunal and Court of Appeal levels. The matter went up to the Supreme Court on appeal, where it succeeded, with the Court giving judgment in favour of the APC candidate, Hope Uzodinma. The Supreme Court ruled that results from 388 polling units, which the APC candidate claimed were excluded from his vote count was now allowed. This upped Hope Uzodinma’s votes from the initially announced number of 96,458 votes to 309,753, surpassing Ihedioha’s tallied votes of 273,404. The Supreme Court however failed to provide sufficient details of its computation of numbers and what votes other candidates, including Ihedioha, who were on the ballot in the 388 polling units got. Indeed other additional details missing from the Supreme Court’s computation include number of registered voters in the polling units and integrity of the computations made in the said polling units.

Observers are however questioning the Supreme Court’s tallying and computation of votes. With several describing the decision as bizarre, Ihedioha’s ouster by the Supreme Court has led to nationwide protests across the country by PDP supporters and members of the public. The PDP has indicated an intention to return to the Supreme Court to seek judicial review of its decision. It is unclear how the Supreme Court will decide on such a matter.

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