By John Mayaki
Yesterday evening, the lingering gubernatorial electoral case of Imo State came to a logical conclusion, declaring Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress as the lawful governor of the Southeastern state. The judicial outcome resonated a wave of mixed feeling across the country, like all legal dispute should, leaving the victor celebrating and the vanquished wailing.
It should be recalled that the 2019 electoral result initially declared Emeka Ihedioha of the People’s Democratic Party the winner of the polls, while Hope Uzodinma was left languishing in a distant fourth position behind Uche Nwosu of AA party and Ifeanyi Ararume of APGA.
Yet some sophisticated gerrymandering attended the collating process, assisting the PDP to a fraudulent victory, hence warranting the results to become a subject of legal battle since the past year.
Although the electoral tribunal presided at the Federal Appeal Court upheld Emeka Ihedioha as the lawful winner, it is discovered through the more meticulous judgment of the Supreme Court, that the initial legal outcome was not comprehensive enough in its argument and approach.
But the judiciary, maintaining its reputation as the last hope of the common man, rose to the occasion and, through the highest judicial system in the country, dug deep to the roots and bottom of the case.
The Supreme Court, through its painstaking process and determination to ensure the prevalence of justice, found the Independent and National Electoral Commission wanting, faulting the commission’s unexplainable and unfair withdrawal of Hope Uzodinma’s votes in 388 polling units. What followed was simple and a most likely resort: to rightly restore the unlawfully withdrawn votes.
It is in abiding with this interpretation of law that the Supreme Court agreed unanimously, the seven presiding judges making the same judgment of the matter, declaring Hope Uzodinma winner while directing that the certificate of return initially offered to PDP’s Emeka Ihedioha by the INEC be withdrawn with immediate effect while a new one is issued to Hope Uzodinma.
This legal outcome not only spells good news for APC, rather it goes ahead to prove and vindicate the hard work and devotion of the leading party’s National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. A man whose infectious belief helped put hope in the heart of Uzodinma in the period of the political turbulence that defrauded the new Governor, further demonstrating his leadership by example and his ability to always be at the front, marching forward even when the odds seem unlikely.
After the disappointing experience of Zamfara State, the reclaim of Imo State adds one more feather to the soaring expansion ambition of the APC party. Constituted not more than six years ago, the party through its goodwill and the people’s acceptance of its visionary leadership has begun to be, in all ramifications, a truly national party. It must be remembered that it is through the caring hands and capable leadership of Adams Oshiomhole that the party, despite external and internal challenges, has made inroads to the stronghold of the Southeast and all other states once considered impregnable, like Bayelsa.
This victory is altogether made possible by the up-and-doing judiciary, an institution that has through its more recent disposition proved its impartiality and blindness to favoritism, only remaining faithful to the letters of the law and the implications of the constitution. Although a victory too for the nation at large and for the people of Imo State who will become first-hand beneficiaries of the APC’s firebrand progressive governance, the favorable judgment of the Supreme Court is most importantly, a victory for Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the little man on whose hands APC lived up to its big dreams.
Mayaki is an Oxford and Cambridge University-trained entrepreneurship, leadership and sustainability expert. He’s also a Professional Consultant (CMI) on Communication, Management and Strategy.