As Imo Governor-elect, APC’s Hope Uzodinma receives his Certificate of Return from INEC, residents of the South-Eastern state have expressed mixed reactions over the Tuesday Supreme Court judgment that sacked Gov Emeka Ihedioha.
The apex court, in a unanimous judgment, declared Uzodinma the winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election after it ruled that he scored the highest number of valid votes.
INEC had declared PDP’s Ihedioha winner of the election, a decision that was upheld by the elections petitions tribunal and appellate court before it was upturned by the apex court.
While some Imo residents expressed shock at the declaration of Sen. Hope Uzodinma as the winner of the election and opined that there was “injustice” in the ruling, others described it as “justice well served”.
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They said that the court verdict took most Imo people by surprise, but promised to accept the ruling in good faith since every government is from God.
Mr. Charles Nwankwo, a former Chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), in his reaction, said that the court decision was “not in the interest of Imo people”.
He based his stance on the claim that Ihedioha had started implementing good programmes.
“Ihedioha has started well. It will take some time for the new governor to pick up, especially in the area of road construction.
“The sudden break will affect the socio-economic development of the state.
“It will also truncate the state’s administrative system, electoral process, and calendar,” he said.
Nwankwo said that there was need for a review of the nation’s electoral law to avoid a situation where electoral certificates were issued and retrieved.
“There should be a more organised system where a certificate, once issued, cannot be retrieved,” he said.
He advised Ihedioha to take the court decision in the spirit of sportsmanship and plan towards 2023, and also urged Uzodinma to run an all-inclusive government and appoint technocrats that would deliver.
Mr. Ben Duru, Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Committee(IPAC), who also spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that he was anxious to see a lawyer before commenting on the verdict.
“The state belongs to Imo people and all the people demand is good governance, no matter who is the sitting governor.
“The incoming governor should continue the good work started by the former governor because Ihedioha clearly meant well for the people.”
Duru pointed out that all powers come from God and advised Imo people to embrace the verdict so that the state would move forward.
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Also speaking, a former Chairman of NUJ, Imo Council, Mr. Innocent Igwe, noted that Nigeria was in a democracy that must always respect the rule of law.
He described the court as “the pivot of the rule of law”, and asked all concerned to abide by the ruling of the apex court irrespective of their political affiliation.
Igwe called on Imo people to quickly adjust to the new development which, he said, had put a stop to the various litigation that trailed the election.
“In a democracy, every decision must affect people either positively and negatively. Imo people should adjust to the verdict, accept it and move on with their lives.
“The politicians so affected should also take it in good faith and plan ahead,” he said.
In his reaction, Mr. Chris Uwandu, a businessman, said that he had lost interest in the leadership of Nigeria.
He called on the former governor to take the court decision in good spirit in the interest of peace.