By Clifford Ndujihe
As the Supreme Court, today, begins hearing of the appeal filed by former Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, challenging the nullification of his election, fresh facts show that Senator Hope Uzodinma may not have got the constitutional requirements to be declared the winner.
How? From the results, he tendered based on which the apex court nullified Ihedioha’s election and ordered his swearing-in, Uzodinma, who contested on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, did not score 25 percent of votes cast in at least 18 of the 27 local councils (two-third) required to be declared governor.
Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, who ran on the card of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was declared the winner of the governorship election and sworn in.
In the first results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Ihedioha polled 273,404 ahead of his closest rival and candidate of Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, who polled 190,364 votes.
The candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Ifeanyi Ararume came third with 114,676 votes ahead of Hope Uzondima, who came fourth with 96,458 votes. No fewer than 70 candidates took part in the election.
Announcing the results, the state’s returning officer and Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Umundike, Abia State, Francis Otunta, gave the total registered voters across the state as 2,221,008 and the total accredited voters as 823,743.
He said 25,130 votes were cancelled across the state with total valid votes as 714,355, while the total votes cast were 739,485.
However, Uzodinma challenged the declaration of Ihedioha as winner, arguing that INEC excluded results from 388 polling units, which if added he would be the winner. He lost at the tribunal and Court of Appeal, but had the upper hand at the apex court.
The Supreme Court, in the unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, held that the case of the appellants had merit and consequently granted the reliefs as prayed by Uzodinma and APC.
According to the apex court, the concurrent judgement of the lower court erred in law when it excluded votes totalling 213,295 from 388 polling units from the total scores at the election.
“It is, hereby, declared that first appellant, Senator Hope Uzodinma, polled a majority of lawful votes cast at the governorship held in Imo State on March 9, 2019 and satisfied the mandatory constitutional threshold and spread across the state,” the apex ruled.
25% in 17 councils
However, Vanguard checks, on Monday, showed that from the results Uzodinma tendered he did not meet the 25 percent score in 18 local councils, which is two-third of 27 local councils in Imo State.
In the first result, he scored 25 percent and above in two councils—Oru West and Oru East.
In the second result, which did not have scores for the other 68 parties, Uzodinma had 25 percent and above in 17 councils, one shy of the required 18.
If the scores of the other parties were added, it would be less than 17.
The 17 councils where he scored 25 percent and above are Obowo, Ehime Mbano, Ngor Okpala, Isiala Mbano, Owerri West, Njaba, Oru East, Oru West, Orlu, Oguta, Ohaji-Egbema, Mbaitoli, Orsu, Ikeduru, Nkwere, Ideato North and Isu.