Son-in-law and protege, Uche Nwosu of former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha lost again to Governor Emeka Ihedioha at the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, November 19th.
The court, however, affirmed the victory of Emeka Ihedioha in the March 9th governorship election in Imo. Nwosu had filed an appeal against the judgment of the Imo Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which upheld the election of Ihedioha.
Appeals filed by the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and his governorship candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume and that of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Sen. Hope Uzodinma were also dismissed. The appellants are asking the appellate Court to void the election of Ihedioha on grounds that he did not obtain the constitutional one-quarter of the votes in at least two-thirds of the 27 local government areas of the state, in line with Section 179 of the Constitution.
In their various submissions by their counsel, the appellants are asking the Court to set aside the decision of the tribunal and declare them winner of the March 9 governorship election. Also in the alternative order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election into the office of Governor of Imo State. In a unanimous judgment, the five -man panel presided by Justice Oyebisi Omoyele dismissed the appeal by Action Alliance and it’s candidate, Uche Nwosu for lack of merit and upheld the judgment of the lower tribunal.
In addition, a cost of N500, O00 was awarded against the appellants. The panel upheld the judgment of the lower tribunal adding that the assessment of the tribunal was thorough and resolved the appeal against the appellants. In Sen. Hope Uzodinma’s appeal, there was a dissenting judgment of ratio 4:1 Four members agreed that the appeal lacks merit, in addition, awarded a cost of N500, 000 against the appellants while a member saw merit in the appeal and said that the judgment of the lower Court be set aside awarded a cost of N1million against PDP and Ihedioha.
In Ifeanyi Ararume’s appeal, the appeal was also dismissed for inability of the appellants prove their allegations against the respondents. The panel affirmed the judgment of the lower tribunal and awarded a cost of N500, 000 against the appellants. The three-member panel of the tribunal had in a unanimous decison delivered on Sept. 21, held that Ihedioha was lawfully declared winner of the governorship election by INEC.
The panel chaired by Justice Malami Dongondaji, had in the judgment dismissed Ararume, Nwosu and Uzodinma’s petitions for lacking in merit on the grounds that they failed to prove allegations made in their petitions. They claimed that Ihedioha did not obtain the constitutional one-quarter of the votes in at least two-thirds of the 27 local government areas of the state, in line with the provisions of the law.
The petitioners also alleged substantially, of non-compliance with the Electoral Act and Guidelines, including other irregularities. The tribunal in its judgment held that the case of the petitioners was unmeritorious because they failed to call relevant witnesses and that evidence of witnesses called were based on hearsay.