By Ayo Kehinde
Former governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, who was on January 14 stripped of his governorship by the Supreme Court and Hope Uzondinma of the All Progressives Congress installed in his place has singled out for commendation, Justice Centus Nweze, who gave the dissenting judgment on his application to set aside the apex court ruling on March 3 final ruling.
“Even though justice was not served at the end, the well -articulated dissenting judgement delivered by His Lordship, Justice Centus Nweze, has vindicated our stand. I am sure that history and posterity will be kind to him.” said Ihedioha in a statement signed by his, on Sunday.
The March 3 suit was dismissed in a majority judgment of a seven-man panel of judges led by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad.
Six of the judges on the panel agreed with the apex court’s verdict while Justice Nweze gave a dissenting judgment, stressing that the decision ought to be reviewed.
He held that the court has the power to overrule itself in a situation where such a judgment was not seen to have met the justice of the case, adding that the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, misled the court in arriving at the judgment, which removed Ihedioha from office after about 10 months.
According to him, there was no evidence that Governor Uzodinma satisfied the required spread to have been declared the winner of the election.
He, therefore, told other judges on the panel that the judgment upholding Uzodinma’s victory in the March 9, 2019 poll would continue to haunt the nation’s electoral jurisprudence.
Ihedioha in his statement thanked the people from all walks of life who stood by him all through the trial both within and outside Imo state, the party leaders, Imo people, the diplomatic corps, journalists, senior citizens, civil society, across religious and ethnic divides in the country.
He said he would keep the struggle for a better governed and free, democratic governance in Imo and Nigeria, on and took on those whom he said are “rejoicing about their successful political fraud at the expense of Imo people, as well as their collaborators, let me leave them with the immortal words of the late journalist, Dele Giwa: “No evil deed will go unpunished; any evil done by man to man will be redressed; if not now then certainly later; if not by man, then by God for the victory of evil over good is temporary’.
Full Text of his signed statement:
STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY, RT. HON. EMEKA IHEDIOHA, CON, AFTER THE SUPREME COURT DECISION ON THE IMO STATE GOVERNORSHIP APPLICATION FOR SETTING ASIDE OF JUDGEMENT.
MARCH 8, 2020
Dear Ndi Imo and fellow Nigerians,
On Tuesday 3rd March 2020, the Supreme Court of Nigeria gave a ruling rejecting our application to set aside its earlier judgement of 14th January 2020 on the Imo State governorship election. This is certainly not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for and I know how disappointed you must feel. While it is disheartening to note that your desire to introduce good governance has been halted, at least for now, it is also gratifying that our modest efforts have not gone unnoticed. I therefore feel a sense of pride and gratitude for the wonderful energy and commitment that we deployed together to secure the mandate that has now been brazenly stolen from us.
Permit me to use this opportunity to thank all those who played one role or another in this historic quest for justice and truth. I must thank members of the diplomatic community for voicing their concerns for the stability of our country. I commend the Chairman and Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for their vanguard role and leadership during this period.
In particular, my special thanks go to all Imo citizens for their uncommon support, solidarity, and collective outrage. Never have a people been so united and committed to a cause. You prayed, fasted, marched, protested and even cried. You sacrificed your time, resources, and endeavour for this just cause. On this matter, the people of Imo State collectively rose to demand for justice and fairness. Imo people rose up in defence of their right to elect leaders of their choice. Our people resoundingly rejected oppression and power grab, defied imposition, injustice and tyranny. I salute Imo people for this display of courage in the face of oppressive state power.
I will forever be in the debt of Nigerians of all walks of life, across ethnic, religious and political divides, senior citizens, journalists, civil societies, ordinary men and women of good conscience, who added their voice to condemn the injustice done in our case. These are people unknown to me personally but who could not bear the illogic of turning number four to number one on the basis of a fraudulently procured result, and appealed to the Supreme Court to save itself and our judiciary.
Whatever may be the personal injury I suffer as a result of the miscarriage of justice, my main concern in this whole tragic episode is not about me. It has always been about the implications this judgement could have for the future of our democracy and the right of the electorate to have their votes count. If institutions that are critical to the entrenchment of rule of law could thwart the wishes of the people in a cynical manner, where lies the future of our democracy? That was why I sought a review of the Supreme Court judgement. Even though justice was not served at the end, the well -articulated dissenting judgement delivered by His Lordship, Justice Centus Nweze, has vindicated our stand. I am sure that history and posterity will be kind to him.
To those who are rejoicing about their successful political fraud at the expense of Imo people, as well as their collaborators, let me leave them with the immortal words of the late journalist, Dele Giwa: “No evil deed will go unpunished; any evil done by man to man will be redressed; if not now then certainly later; if not by man, then by God for the victory of evil over good is temporary’. We believe that God will render the ultimate judgment. He has been with us through this peaceful struggle. And our future is in His hands.
In conclusion, I wish to express my appreciation to members of our legal team who pushed the frontiers of electoral jurisprudence to advance our constitutional democracy. I wish also to thank my team of committed colleagues who served in various capacities during our administration. It has been a great privilege to serve the people of Imo State as Governor. I am proud to have been the recipient of their genuine mandate. I will forever cherish the support, solidarity and cooperation given to me during my tenure. My belief in the ultimate triumph and supremacy of the will of the people remains intact. I pray God to bless and reward all those who stood firm on the path of justice and fair play.
On a personal note, I accept trials and difficulties as part of life as they enable one to become wiser and more sympathetic to the plights of others in similar circumstances. But I am firmly resolved NEVER to give up on the struggle for a better Imo State. And for a better governed Nigeria.
May God bless Imo State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Thank you and God bless.
RT. HONOURABLE EMEKA IHEDIOHA, CON