By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, yesterday threw out the appeal filed by the Imo State gubernatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Emeka Ihedioha.
The PDP gubernatorial candidate, who was displeased at the way the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal dismissed his petition on technical grounds, prayed the Court of Appeal to reverse it.
Meanwhile, Governor Rochas Okorocha has extolled the decision of the Court of Appeal for upholding the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal and striking out the appeal also for lack of merit.
“By doing that, the Appeal Court had equally justified my stiff confidence in the ability and readiness of the Judiciary to uphold justice and also respect the popular and lawful actions of the people over who would govern them at any given time”, Okorocha said.
Continuing, the Governor said he had always exercised reasonable regard for Chief Ihedioha and would stop at nothing to commend his effort and apparent desire to govern the state, which he is entitled to, as a bonafide son of the state.
While saying that Ihedioha’s legal actions, with regard to the 2015 governorship election, were all designed to strengthen the nation’s democracy, the Governor however added that “having lost at the Election Petition Tribunal and having also lost at the Appeal Court, I have no option than to sincerely appeal to Hon. Ihedioha to allow the litigations over the governorship election of 2015 to stop at this level in the interest of the state and her people.”
However, Chief Ihedioha has appealed to his supporters to remain calm, adding that he has firmly instructed his counsel to approach the Supreme Court over the issue.
It was his considered opinion that justice would be served on merit of his matter as he is convinced that he scored the highest lawful votes cast during the governorship elections and should have rather been declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Chief Ihedioha said he was not unaware of the shock and disappointment that have engulfed the entire state, following this unfortunate ruling, stressing that he has noted the hardship, hunger and hopelessness Imolites have been subjected to just to satisfy the yearnings of Governor Okorocha.