According to him, some workers are owed October and November salaries, while others have yet to be paid since March.
A cross-section of Owerri residents has expressed mixed reactions to Gov. Hope Uzodinma’s order for the closure of the state Secretariat in the wake of rising cases of COVID-19 in Imo.
NoRM reports that the governor in a statewide broadcast announced new measures, including ordering workers to stop coming to work, in order to contain the spread of the second wave of the pandemic in Imo.
He regretted the increase in the number of new cases of the pandemic in the state, which presently stands at 680 from 648 as at November ending.
Reacting to the governor’s order, which took effect on Monday, some civil servants said they were dismayed by the sudden halt of official activities at the secretariat.
Mr Anthony Njoku of the Ministry of Health said it was unfortunate that the closure was coming barely a few days to the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Njoku said that the executive order had disrupted plans by workers to get some palliatives for the festive period.
“Inasmuch as it is wise to curtail the spread of COVID-19, the timing for the closure of the secretariat is wrong.
“The closure has stalled our arrangements to solicit palliatives from well-meaning individuals, pending the payment of our arrears of salaries,’’ he said.
Mrs Angela Uwadileke argued that it would have been better to restrict movement in and out of the secretariat rather than total lockdown.
Uwadileke said that the pandemic had come to stay and could only be managed.
She contended that closing down the system would not end the pandemic but worsen the economic difficulties.
However, Mr Emma Ukachukwu of the Ministry of Education expressed support for the measure.
Ukachukwu described the closure of the secretariat as a proactive measure by the governor to contain the spread of the virus.
“It means the governor is thinking for the good health of Imo workers and entire citizenry,” he said.
He urged increased understanding of government’s policies among relevant stakeholders and support for the speedy eradication of the virus.
“The order to suspend activities at the secretariat is in the best interest of Imo workers.
“Everyone should help the government to help us. Health is wealth,’’ Ukachukwu said.
Meanwhile, the governor directed that only permanent secretaries and political appointees should continue to come to work until further notice.
Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, has disclosed that he inherited systematic corruption from the sacked governor of the state, Emeka Ihedioha.
The governor, who spoke at the ceremony marking Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary in Owerri, the state capital, said he equally inherited payroll fraud from Ihedioha.
However, Uzodimma pointed out that despite the challenges, he had made tremendous headways since he became the state’s helmsman in January.
The governor said, “Coming into office barely nine months ago, we encountered a microcosm of systemic corruption and disruption in the public sector. We met monumental payroll fraud in the system; we met a disoriented and disarticulated civil service and a very sorry state of infrastructural provisions.
“Corrosive corruption in all facets of society makes governance more herculean. A horrendous civil war and serial military rule in the short span of 60 years has not helped matters either.”
The Imo state governor, Hope Uzodinma, Monday revealed the plan of his government to arraign in court those behind the payroll fraud discovered in Imo civil service.
Uzodinma disclosed this at the Government House in Owerri, while swearing into office, the acting President of the state Customary Court of Appeal, Hon Justice Matthew Njoku.
The government solicited the support of stakeholders in the state, to finally rid the civil service of corrupt practices.
In Uzodinma address at the swearing ceremony, he said: “I congratulate the Hon Justice Matthew Njoku on his successful swearing-in as the acting President of the state customary court of appeal.
“While I congratulate your Lordship on your formal assumption of office, I wish to also remind you that the exalted office you now occupy places enormous responsibilities on your shoulders
“As the Acting President of the state customary court of appeal, much shall be expected of you. That you shall be a beacon of transparency and honesty in the discharge of your sacred duties is the least expected of you. Your office demands that you must lead by example so that those under your authority can be inspired by your sterling leadership qualities
“As you know, peace is the ultimate in every organisation. There can be no synergy without peace and there can be no progress without synergy. My first charge to your, therefore, is to ensure that you preside over a peaceful, purposeful and United customary court family in the state.
“As the saying goes when the head is healthy the rest of the body is okay. But the reverse is the case when the head is rotten. I urge you to demonstrate wisdom and prudence as the head of the customary courts in the state and carry your colleagues along as one united, peaceful family.”
The governor pointed out that, “As you are aware my administration has no room for public sector corruption. Consequently, you must ensure absolute zero tolerance for corruption in the customary courts under your leadership. I will hold you responsible for any corrupt practice in the customary courts. You must therefore not only ensure that you are above board but that those under your leadership are not corruptible
“Soon we shall arraign before the courts for trial, those indicted in the monumental payroll fraud that almost ruined this state.
“I want to use the auspicious occasion of this event to call on the judiciary as a whole to partner with us in our determined effort to stamp out public sector corruption. To this end, I expect that the courts will diligently determine these cases to serve as a deterrent to corrupt public servants.”
Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has lamented his inability to celebrate this year’s Easter Church service in a congregation due to the resumed sit at home order in the state over wide spreading Coronavirus pandemic.
The governor who made the lamentations in his Easter message to Imo people during a statewide broadcast to the people on Saturday, noted that he was mindful of the hardship the measures his administration had put in place to prevent and control the Coronavirus but insisted that they were inevitable sacrifices that must be made to stay alive and healthy.
His words: “As a Christian, I feel pained that I will not be able to celebrate Easter church service in a congregation. But I also understand that it is a sacrifice I must make to prevent COVID-19 from having a veritable space to strike in our state.
Let us all bear this painful sacrifice together as one people with one motive; to save ourselves and our children from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Uzodinma urged the people to use the auspicious occasion of Easter to pray fervently to God for an end to the Coronavirus pandemic.
He said that with absolute trust in God and faith in the risen Jesus Christ, Christians and indeed Imo people would overcome the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor urged the citizens to bear the hardships induced by the need to prevent COVID-19 pandemic with the same uncommon patience and perseverance that Christ bore his passion and tribulations before his cruxifiction, noting that “Christ’s resurrection is a sign of assurance that after the Coronavirus pandemic comes the joy of triumph.”
He therefore urged all Imo Christians to join in the sacrifice and worship on Easter day through Online and Electronic channels.
Uzodinma assured that before the end of Saturday, delivery of foodstuffs and other food condiments would have been taken to every community in the state to make Easter merrier for the people as part of government’s efforts to alleviate their hardships.
But he also used the opportunity to remind them to remain safely conscious by regularly washing their hands in running water, continue to avoid crowds, observe social distancing, sanitize their hands regularly and refrain from shaking other peoples’ hands.
Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has berated the Hope Uzodinma, for alleging that the PDP is responsible for the plot to remove Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman APC
“Many of us, leaders of the party, are aware that those clamouring for the chairman’s removal are working with the PDP to destabilise the party,”
Uzodinma told reporters on Saturday.
In an interview at the Government House Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Governor Wike said the comments credited to Senator Hope Uzodinma are baseless, untrue and unfortunate.
“I read that Senator Hope Uzodinma said that the PDP conspired to plot the attempted removal of APC National Chairman. That is an unfortunate lie.
“It is unfortunate that Senator Hope Uzodinma will have the temerity to make that false allegation. Hope Uzodinma was an APC agent while he was in PDP. That was why APC used him as an agent to support Ali Modu Sheriff, but they failed.
“It is unfortunate that people of questionable character are in Government. Hope Uzodinma cannot talk about the attempted removal of APC National Chairman and mention the PDP. What is our business in the attempted removal of Oshiomhole? “
“APC does not mean well for Nigeria. It is a party of strange bedfellows merely formed to take over power.
“If Senator Uzodinma dares to make such false comments again about the PDP, we will tell the world about him.
“That he fraudulently took the mandate of PDP does not mean that PDP is weak. Hope Uzodinma lacks the capacity to discuss the PDP.”
Governor Wike also urged Nigerians to be vigilant and work towards protecting the Judiciary, adding that the APC has destroyed the Judiciary.
“We must protect the Judiciary to do its work. But the Judiciary should protect itself. APC has destroyed the Judiciary,” He said.
Governor Wike wondered why the Judiciary should allow leaders of the APC to toss it around as has been witnessed during the party’s internal crisis.
He decried the situation where the Court of Appeal granted a stay of execution on the suspension of the APC National Chairman, but the FCT High Court went ahead to declare another person the Acting National Chairman. He said only the National Executive Committee of political parties have such powers.
“The Judiciary should be very careful. The Judiciary should be alert. It should not allow itself to be used. It should not allow itself to be destroyed.
“APC should not be allowed to destroy the Judiciary. Judiciary was there before APC. It was there before any political party. I cannot see the Judiciary being destroyed and keep quiet.
“I am not interested in what happens in the APC. But I am concerned with the Judiciary and its survival. “
He urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria to caution judges.
“With what the APC is doing today, we may not have the Judiciary and everyone will pay the price. The party is trying to destroy the hope of the common man,” He said.
Governor Wike regretted that the APC and her supporters attack the Judiciary when judgment is not in their favour.
He pointed out the attacks on Justice Mary Odili in the Bayelsa State Governorship matter.
The Governor said that the recent order by the wife of the member of a House of Representatives wherein she reaffirmed the freedom of the former Emir of Kano, was hailed, even though she was the wife of a PDP member.
He said that the APC is an association that was only concerned about the removal of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said that having removed Jonathan, APC has been unable to use power to the advantage of Nigerians.
The Governor wondered how a national official of the APC who resigned to contest the Deputy Governorship position in Rivers State, would still go to court to seek to be Acting National Chairman.
Governor Wike, however, agreed with the Former Governor of Lagos State that the struggle in the APC is about 2023.
“I agree with the former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu that the crisis in APC is about 2023. Everyone wants to be President or Vice President. This virus is indeed worse than coronavirus,” He said.
The Imo state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Monday said that they will continue protesting in Imo state, over the January 14, 2020 judgment that sacked Emeka Ihedioha, as governor of the state and upheld Hope Uzodinma, as the validly elected governor of Imo.
The PDP, disclosed this in Owerri, through their state Publicity Secretary, Damian Opara, after their stakeholders’ meeting.
The party also said that they have expanded more of their strategies on dealing with the issue of lawmakers elected under their party that defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
It stated: “Following a very critical Imo State PDP Stakeholders meeting, held at the Party Secretariate, No. 98 Okigwe road, Owerri, on Sunday 09/02/2020 to review the State of affairs of the Party, it was resolved as follows:
“That the Party shall continue to use every legal means available to the Party to make sure that the unjust Judgement given against the Party, Governor Emeka Ihedioha and his Deputy Hon. Gerald Irona by the Supreme Court of Nigeria is reviewed and reversed.”
On some of their state House of Assembly members who decamped to the APC, “That the purported decamping of few members of Imo State House of Assembly elected under the Platform of our great Party is of no consequences to the popularity of PDP and her teaming supporters in Imo State.
“That the Party in Imo State shall in conjunction with the National organs of the party employ all legal options to recover their seats in the House of Assembly, as the National Secretariate had already declared their seats vacant.
“That the Party shall keep on demonstrating/ Protesting within the Constitutional right of her members, to peacefully and publicly show our support to Governor Emeka Ihedioha,
his Deputy, Hon. Gerald Irona and our unacceptable tendencies towards the Supreme Court Judgement that ousted Governor Emeka Ihedioha and his Deputy, Hon. Gerald Irona.
“The entire Stakeholders of PDP Imo State Chapter after receiving the information about the forthcoming Party Congresses to elect Party Officers from the State Chairman, Sir Martain Ejiogu,
resolved that the Party in Imo State shall strongly participate in the Congresses and therefore urged every member of the Party who wants to vie for any Party position during the
Congresses to do so as there shall be no imposition of Party officers or writing of list of any kind by any individual in the Party during the Congresses in Imo State.
“The Stakeholders finally urged all PDP members to remain faithful in the Party and leave all those who have left the party as there are better future in PDP for them than elsewhere, since what the Party is facing now in Imo State is a temporal set back.”
Former governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, has opened up on his decision to return to the Supreme Court, seeking a reversal of the January 14, 2020 judgment.
He said he decided to return to the Supreme Court because a key component of the case before the apex court has not been dispensed with, which has to do with jurisdiction.
A source privy to the suit seeking a reversal of the Supreme Court judgement (who declined to be named bcause of the sensitivity of the case) told newsmen in Abuja, at the weekend, that it is vital that Nigerians have confidence that they will get justice at the apex cpourt.
He said: “We have the confidence that they would do justice and revisit and reverse the judgment that has not met the ends of justice. Justice is rooted in confidence, not confidence of the lawyers that appear in court; it’s the confidence of the common man.
“Anytime any court, especially the Supreme Court gives a judgement that the man on the street would look at and say; ‘Ah!’ and makes expressions and reacts in a way that Nigerians are reacting now, obviously shows loss of confidence in the Judiciary.
“They have a duty, to look at it (the judgment) again; to make sure that confidence is restored. As a matter of fact, I foresee a situation where we would be grateful to Ihedioha for having the courage to return to the Supreme Court; to ensure that this arm of government is not ridiculed.
“This judgment of the Supreme Court in the Imo governorship election, delivered on January 14, 2020, is a nullity. Out of nullity is nothing! A judgment that is a nullity cannot produce anything; it cannot produce a legitimate governor.
“The PDP and Ihedioha, at the trial, raised an objection to the competence of the petitioner and prayed the trial tribunal, to strike out the petition, on grounds of non-joiner of certain parties that were not made parties to the petition, whose interests were at stake.
“The petitioner, Senator Hope Uzodinma, came from a fourth position and filed a petition that would involve the computation of votes and if you are re-computing the votes, it would affect the interest of the person who came second and the person who came third. In the process of re-computation of votes, you discover, for instance, that, maybe somebody scored majority of lawful votes and did not satisfy the geographical spread, what would you do? Would you now push him from fourth position to second position; to start participating?
“He did not join Uche Nwosu, who came second, he did not join Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, who came third…
“The application was heard and dismissed by the Tribunal whereupon the second applicant appealed to the Court of Appeal by way of Cross Appeal to which the first and second respondents replied.
“The cross appeal was heard and allowed by the Court. In the words of Adah JCA, who delivered the lead judgment in the cross appeal:“The preliminary objection of the 1stCross Respondent (sic) at the lower court is allowed and I hold that the appropriate order of the trial tribunal would have been to have petition no EPT/GOV/IM/08/2019 struck out for being incompetent. I therefore order the petition struck out. No cost is awarded.”
“…The order of the Court of Appeal striking out the petition for being incompetent raises a jurisdictional issue which this honourable court ought to have resolved first before delving into the merits of the appeal.
“In its judgement, the court neither considered nor resolved this jurisdictional issue. The failure of the Supreme Court to consider and pronounce on this issue amounts to a failure of jurisdiction and completely erodes the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to consider the appeal on the merits…
“The judgment was delivered without jurisdiction having regard to section 140 (2) of the Electoral Act, as this court had no jurisdiction to declare Uzodinma as the winner of an election branded and stigmatized by him as invalid.
The Supreme Court on January 14, handed down the most controversial and criticised judgment in the history of Nigeria regarding Imo State governorship election. What do you think about this judgment?
Like most Nigerians, when the Supreme Court gave the judgment, I was alarmed. It seemed awkward and strange that someone who came fourth in an election was pronounced the winner of the contest and of course, several comments followed it on social media and from various sources by concerned Nigerians. However, as at that time, the full judgment had not been released. So, most of those comments were based on ill-digested social media accounts of what happened.
Fortunately, I have since had the opportunity of reading the judgment. I now have a better understanding of what the Supreme Court did. My position has therefore shifted from that initial shock to where I am now. I have realised that there are cogent grounds to support the Supreme Court’s judgment. Well, whether we support it or not, it’s the final judgment.
On the issue of the judiciary being the last hope of the common man, I would say it still is though; the real common man hardly has the resources to pursue his case due to the expensive nature of litigation. Generally, the judiciary, despite its well- known challenges, continues to dispense justice across our nation to the satisfaction of many.
Looking at this, would you say that the Supreme Court has not erred in its judgment?
I just told you that there are good grounds to support the judgment. However, if your question is based on the comments by some Nigerians against the judgment, then you should appreciate that law is not mathematics and no human endeavour is perfect. Therefore, if you read a judgment that appears logical, when you look at it critically, you may find one thing or the other to disagree with. But the point is, overall, in the final analysis, is the judgment correct? That does not mean that you agree entirely with every single word in that judgment. I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect judgment but what I’m saying is that there is good reasoning in the judgment. I think the court came to the right conclusion based on the materials presented before it for adjudication.
The common man used to see court’s judgment as flawless but currently rethinking that the court of competent jurisdiction blundered greatly in this judgment to the extent that votes cast were greater than the total accredited and registered voters. Can this be justified? Is the court still the last hope of a common man?
The first point to note here is that the figures you mentioned are not contained in that judgment at all. The vote numbers are not contained in that judgment and to that extent, are irrelevant, if one decides to take a narrow view of the situation.
However, one cannot ignore the facts which are already in the public domain that the accredited voters turned out to be less than the number of votes cast, based on the inclusion of 213,695 votes from 388 polling units which the Supreme Court held were wrongly excluded from the total votes tally for Hope Uzodimma.
This is an awkward situation. It goes back to the issue I raised earlier regarding the nature of the case presented to the Supreme Court. From the judgment, it is not evident that the possibility of this abnormal situation was clearly and demonstrably brought to the attention of the court during the hearing of the appeal.
If the Supreme Court was not faced with immense time constraint within which to deliver the judgment, perhaps it would have noticed the anomaly on its own. Well, therein lies the fallibility of man and indeed, the Supreme Court. Remember that the Supreme Court, in the past few months, has been under considerable pressure in finding time to analyse thousands of pages of transmitted appeal records, appellants and respondents briefs of arguments as well as oral submissions of various counsel in court. The several appeals from across the country had to be determined within a stipulated time. In addition, there were also some pre-election appeals.
Then what went wrong?
The reality is that the Supreme Court simply dealt with the issues placed before it. The issues were first, whether a Police officer, PW54 was legally competent to testify and tender Exhibits PPP1- PPP366 in support of Hope Uzodimma’s case and secondly, whether Hope Uzodimma was able to prove that votes from 388 polling units due to him were unlawfully excluded at the collation stage.
The Court resolved both issues in favour of the Appellant, Uzodimma. The Court held that the result sheets which were in the possession of the Police legitimately as they were entitled to be given a copy was a ‘duplicate original’ that could be tendered by them and relied upon. Therefore, there was no need for INEC to certify the said results before they could be accepted. This radical departure from the previously held uphill task of calling a polling agent from each polling unit now makes it easier to prove election petition cases, particularly against incumbents. On the second issue, the court held that the Respondents- Emeka Ihedioha, PDP and INEC did not show, much less prove, that the said results were fake, as alleged. It was not enough to plead that the results were fake or that INEC did not fail to collate all valid votes, but that the Respondents failed to prove that elections did not hold in those 388 polling units and that if elections were held, they had a duty to produce their own results to counter the ones already tendered in support of the case of Hope Uzodimma.
In fact, the Court observed that INEC pleaded that it would tender the ‘genuine’ results at the Tribunal, but eventually failed to do so. Therefore, the Court held that based on an ineffective challenge of the veracity of the results produced by the Police officer, it was wrongful for both INEC and the lower courts to discountenance the results. These two findings made Hope Uzodimma the governor of Imo State.
The judgment is now the nucleus of the crisis in Imo State. There are mixed reactions over the judgment…
Some do not approve of the judgment. That was to be expected because of its earth shaking consequences on the political equation of Imo State. I particularly empathise with the supporters of Emeka Ihedioha, including some of my friends, as he had started settling down well to govern the state before this situation. However, the truth is that he should not have been declared governor in the first place. His declaration as governor was in clear violation of Section 179 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which provides that to be elected governor, the candidate must not only score the highest votes in the election, he must also not score less than 25 per cent of the votes cast in each of at least two thirds of all the local government areas of the state. Imo State has 27 local government areas. Emeka Ihedioha did not secure 25 per cent of the votes in 18 local government areas as required by the constitution.
This puts INEC on dangerous position if it’s certified original copy was disregarded by Supreme Court while handing down the judgment…
INEC presented no results for the 388 polling units which Hope Uzodimma claimed to be his stronghold but which INEC unlawfully excluded. Had INEC presented its own results, perhaps, it would have made a difference. So, to that extent, the Supreme Court did not discard any ‘certified original copy’ as stated by you.
However, I know that this judgment has thrown up a lot of things. Before now, it was almost impossible to prove your case without the INEC’s certified results. Now what this judgment has shown is that you can ignore INEC if you strongly believe that you have duplicate original results signed by INEC officials and party agents which the police, party agents and others are in possession of. If the police have the duplicate original, that result doesn’t need to be certified by INEC.
Such result can be tendered and admitted in evidence by the Police who would have received those results as legally recognized stakeholders. The only way to defeat the efficacy of such results is for the other party and/or INEC to prove that elections did not hold in the relevant polling units, that the signatures on the documents were forged, that there was violence which made voting impossible, presentation of your own genuine results and so on.
Owing to this quagmire, if the Supreme Court were to reverse itself knowing it had erred, how likely will this be constitutionally?
Extremely unlikely! In the case of Alao V ACB Limited, the Supreme Court emphatically stated that it lacks the jurisdiction to set aside its own judgment and in practical terms, rehear the appeal. It is the final bus stop. There must be an end to litigation. Even when a mistake has been made, the Court will not reverse itself and rehear the case unless in line with Order 8, Rule 16 of the Supreme Court Rules to correct a clerical error or accidental slip or omission. The Order further provides that a judgment or order of the Court shall not be varied nor shall the operative and substantive part of it be varied and a different form substituted. This makes sense; otherwise, the Supreme Court ceases to be a final court as envisaged by Section 235 of the Constitution.
Ihedioha has filed an appeal for a review of the Supreme Court’s judgment. Is it constitutionally tenable? Any precedence?
I am not aware of any case where the Supreme Court actually reversed its decision in the same case. With due respect, references to Adegoke Motors V Adesanya and dictum of the great Oputa, JSC are misleading. The Supreme Court did not reverse its decision in that case. However, it recognised its fallibility. Of course, when appropriate, in a subsequent case, the Supreme Court can reverse an earlier judgment where it finds a compelling reason to do so. That is entirely different from reviewing and reversing the same decision by itself. In any event, my position is that Supreme Court does not have the jurisdiction to handle this case again. Unlike the regular cases that do not have time limit, the Supreme Court had only 60 days to deal with that matter. Therefore, the Supreme Court, in my view, cannot revisit this particular judgment since the time allowed for it has already elapsed. I may be wrong, so it is well within the right of Emeka Ihedioha to approach the Supreme Court for a review. I wish him and his team good luck.
The governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, on Saturday asked Emeka Ihedioha and the Peoples Democratic Party to forget about the 2019 governorship election in the state.
Uzodinma asked Ihedioha and the PDP to rather prepare for the 2023 governorship election and stop disturbing the peace of the state.
The governor who addressed a crowd of All Progressives Congress faithful who were on a solidarity match at the government house in Owerri said that his victory at the supreme court had been affirmed by the judiciary, the people of the state and God.
Uzodinma who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Placid Njoku, boasted that he would defeat Ihedioha again at the next election.
He said that the judgment declaring him the duly elected governor of the state by the whole seven jurists of the supreme court was in tandem with the country’s electoral act.
The governor wondered why Ihedioha who he said did not get one dissenting judgment would still be laying claims to the governorship of the state.
Uzodinma said that he was the true winner of the 2019 governorship election.
He said, “Tell our friends on the other side to prepare for the next election in 2023 if need be where they will fail again. The 2019 Imo governorship election has been decided by the apex court in our country. It has been decided by Imo people and it has been decided by God.
“Seven supreme court justices ruled that senator Hope Uzodinma was the duly elected governor of Imo state without any minority judgment. Our governor, senator Hope Uzodinma has asked me to thank you for standing for truth and justice. Look at how you have been under this scorching sun to protect justice. Senator Hope Uzodinma appreciates all these and he is not distracted. ”
The APC caretaker committee chairman in the state, Marconi Nlemigbo, said that the South East was happy to have an APC governor.
He said that the Igbo are now closer to the 2023 political arrangements, nationally.
Anglican Bishops in Nigeria have rejected the Tuesday January 14th Supreme Court’s judgment that nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as Imo state governor and replaced him with Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Anglican Bishops, who spoke through the Archbishop of Enugu Province, Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, said that going by Rochas Okorocha’s antecedents, there was no way Imo state indigenes could have voted enmass for Uzodinma.
Describing the judgement as “wicked and corrupt”, Archbishop Chukwuma warned that failure to reverse the decision could attract the wrath of God on the Supreme Court justices.
“I am speaking the minds of most of the Bishops of the Anglican Church that we are very much discontented and very much in disagreement with the kangaroo judgment of the Supreme Court on what has happened in mo State.
We sincerely feel disappointed with the Chief Justice of Nigeria who has not got his facts correct and we feel that that judgment is wicked and corrupt.
And so we are calling on the Supreme Court to reverse their judgment on Imo State before they see the wrath of God.
There is no way Imo State people could have voted for APC with the bad governance of Okorocha for which in the House of Assembly the APC had no single seat during the election.
Hope Uzodinma is my friend. I am not against him but I am against the Supreme Court justices who mutilated the result, judging the case on the total votes that was more than accredited votes, which is absolutely incongruous and very much antithetical to the democratic spirit.
It is therefore our prayer that INEC should also be up and doing in their declaration of results and be able to defend whatever they declare in the sight of the Supreme Court.” he said
On the role played by Father Mbaka in the judgment, Archbishop Chukwuma said Father Mbaka should stop with his distorted prophecy and face his ministry.
“He is politicising his ministry too much and commercialising his ministry, and that is dangerous to the ministry of the church, and this we totally condemn,” Chukwuma said
Days after Hope Uzodinma of the APC was sworn in as governor of Imo state, nine members of the state House of Assembly, have defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Their defection was announced during plenary on Tuesday January 21st. Reading their defection letter, Colins Chiji, the speaker, said the defecting members are from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Action Alliance (AA).
The PDP defectors are Chyna Iwuanyanwu (Nwangele), Chidiebere Ogbunikpa(Okigwe), Heclus Okorocha (Ohaji/Egbema), Paul Emeziem (Onuimo) while those from AA are Authur Egwim (Ideato north), Obinna Okwara (Nkwerre), Johnson Duru (Ideato South), and Ngozi Obiefule (Isu).
Only Ekene Nnodimele (Orsu) moved from APGA to APC.
Hope Uzodinma, the new governor of Imo state, has said that the protest held by PDP chieftains led by its party chairman Uche Secondus in Abuja on Monday January 20th, was an attempt to take over the Buhari led government.
Secondus in company of the PDP Vice Presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Peter Obi, Dino Melaye and other chieftains, took to the streets of Abuja to protest the January 14th judgement by the Supreme court nullifying Emeka Ihedioha’s election and replacing him with APC’s Hope Uzodinma.
Reacting to the protest, Uzodinma who met with APC supporters in his office, said the fact that the PDP members decided to hold the protest in Abuja showed they had an ulterior motive which was to topple the Buhari government. He said they should stop protesting as it was God who made him Governor.
The motive of those who are wearing black, protesting around the country is not about the Imo State governorship election. If it is the Imo State governorship election, why are PDP members protesting in Abuja, Bayelsa and everywhere in the country? Why are they not protesting only in Imo State?
PDP wants to overthrow the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. I, therefore, use this medium to call on all the security agencies to begin an investigation into the organised synchronised national crisis, which the PDP is plotting.
I want you to keep supporting the government of President Buhari. You all know that I was the frontrunner candidate during the 2019 governorship election in Imo State. I did not challenge the election on the grounds of violence. I challenged the election on the grounds that INEC refused to accept the results of 388 polling units it accepted at the collation centres.
The Tribunal did not understand our petition. The Appeal Court gave us a minority judgement, but the Supreme Court, in its wisdom, understood our petition and gave judgement in our favour.
“I am already the governor and I am in charge of Imo State Government House. Why would anybody challenge the integrity and wisdom of the Supreme Court justices? The Supreme Court justices gave us a majority judgement. The seven justices of the Supreme Court delivered their judgement in our favour.
“The same God who made me governor will sustain me. Nobody becomes governor without God’s approval. Don’t be afraid. I am in charge here and we will keep supporting and praying for our president to succeed.”
The governor also alleged that there were plans to impeach him. According to him, the PDP is plotting with members of the state house of Assembly to impeach him over an alleged $12million fraud case
“We know the gameplan of the PDP because we are aware that they have been secretly inciting Imo State House of Assembly members to think of how to impeach the governor. So, they are trying to rake up anything they can, even falsehood, to incite the public” he said
The South East, yesterday, erupted in protests as supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) kicked against removal of Mr. Emeka Ihedioha as Imo governor by the Supreme Court.
In Anambra, protesters gave a seven-day ultimatum to the apex court to reverse itself alleging that Ihedioha was wrongfully removed.
The protesters dressed in black, gathered at the party secretariat at Udoka Housing Estate in Awka, and marched through the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Aroma Junction, Alex Ekwueme Square up to Federal High Court, Awka, chanting pro-Ihedioha songs and expressing anger with the Supreme Court judges.
The party faithful, led by the state chairman, Ndubisi Nwobu, and former governorship candidate, Oseloka Obaze, carried placards with inscriptions such as: “Reverse S/Court judgment on Imo State Governorship Election,” “Supreme Court wants to set Nigeria on fire,” “Supreme Court judgement, a travesty of justice,” “Supreme Court, stop daylight robbery” and “Imo State was won by PDP.”
Addressing the protesters at the Alex Ekwueme Square, Nwobu, said what the apex court did amounted to daylight robbery.
“Once more, we have seen our nascent democracy under threat and it is our responsibility as true democrats to save the situation. We are not protesting the injustice meted on PDP, Imo and Ihedioha alone, but also protesting the threat posed to our democracy by the judiciary and the present administration. We urge lovers of democracy all over the world to join us in condemning the development. We urge the Supreme Court to reverse itself, because, tension is already building up as a result of the robbery called judgement.”
“What happened in Imo is a threat to our democracy, and it is our collective responsibility to speak against it before it becomes a norm. Our democracy was recently threatened in Kogi and Bayelsa. This time around, they also robbed us of Imo and snatched a mandate freely given by Imo voters to the PDP.”
In the same vein, Owerri, was shut down by hundreds of protesters angered by the sack of Ihedioha by the apex court.
Supporters of the party from 27 local government areas stormed the streets black clothes to protest what they described as a miscarriage of justice and demanded that the court reverses itself.
The protesters carried placards with inscriptions as: “Reverse the injustice now!” “On our mandate we stand” Ihedioha won landslide,” “Imo want Ihedioha.”
They marched from the party’s secretariat along Okigwe road to Government House roundabout which was barricaded by the police.
Chief Okewuluonu Chris, chief of staff to Ihedioha, who addressed the protesters said it was legitimate to express anger and sadness over the strange judgment of the apex court which truncated the mandate given to Emeka Ihedioha by the people.
He pointed out that it was not too late for the apex court to reverse itself and restore the lack of confidence by the people in the judiciary.
“We are holding this peaceful protest to let the Supreme Court know that what they had done to the people of the state is unprecedented miscarriage of justice and that they can reverse the mistake. It is not in doubt that Ihedioha had won the election fair and square. The petitioners had lost at the tribunal and Appeal Court where their petitions were thoroughly subjected to legal scrutiny and the courts had upheld that Ihedioha had truely won, but this strange judgement is a mistake, a gross injustice and should be reversed,” he said.
Also, Mr. Nze Ray Emeana, state secretary of the PDP, said judges of the apex court owe Nigerians an explanation as to how they arrived at the votes to declare Uzodinma winner.
“Imo people are not happy with the fraudulent judgment which scuttled the mandate given to Emeka Ihedioha by the people. The supreme Court judges have curiously raised the valid votes from 714,355 to 927,030, which is even above the total accredited votes of 823,743 stated by the INEC. They apex court is yet to explain how they arrived at the difference of 103,887 which simply means that something is wrong.
“We are asking them to reverse what they have done because it is nothing but robbing Peter to pay Paul and Imo people will not accept that,” he said.
Similarly, the member representing Ikeduru/ Mbaitoli federal constituency,Henry Nwawuba, said it was a gross injustice to sack Ihedioha.
In Abia, protesters also trooped out in their hundreds.
State chairman of the party, Chief Johnson Onuigbo, said they gathered to express their anger over the judgment against the former governor.
“Judges of Supreme Court can make mistakes because they are human beings. They made a mistake by denying the people of Imo their votes. They are not supposed to appoint the governor. The people elected their governor. The decision is injurious to democracy; it is an attempt to disrupt our nascent democracy,” he said.
Rotimi Peter, one of the counsels of former Imo state governor, Emeka Ihedioha has said that the Supreme Court of Nigeria gave Hope Uzodinma results from 388 polling units where election did not hold in the Imo governorship poll.
Recall that the Supreme Court had on Tuesday removed Emeka Ihedioha as governor of Imo state while replacing him with Hope Uzodinma.
But, in its ruling, the apex court said INEC was wrong to have excluded results of the 388 polling units during collation.
In a statement released by Ihedioha’s counsel, Rotimi said the supreme court ignored well-established principles of law that had guided its previous decision in similar cases.
He said the people of Imo were short-changed by the apex court.
Below is the full statement:
1.01 On 14.1.2020, the Supreme Court heard the appeal filed by Senator Hope Uzodinma and APC (numbered as shown above) against the judgment of the Court of Appeal affirming the victory of Emeka Ihedioha and the PDP in the Imo State Governorship election on 9.3.2019.
1.02 The Court of Appeal had, on 19.11.2019, affirmed the judgment of the Governorship election tribunal which dismissed the petition of Senator Uzodinma and APC against the return of Emeka Ihedioha and PDP at the Imo State governorship election held on 9.3.2019.
1.03 Soon after hearing oral arguments of senior counsel for the parties, the Supreme Court delivered its judgment and allowed it, and ordered, amongst others, that Senator Uzodinma be sworn in as the Governor of Imo State.
1.04 Since the delivery of the judgment, commentators have rendered all kinds of opinions on the facts of the case and the judgment of the Supreme Court. Some of the commentators are legal practitioners who were not involved in any professional manner with the case from its inception at the election tribunal up to its conclusion at the Supreme Court. Their comments or opinions now in the public domain, expectedly, are shallow and uninformed and are capable of misinforming the public.
1.05 It has, therefore, become imperative to put the record straight for the benefit of the reading public, even if it would not reverse the unfortunate decision of the Supreme Court and the obvious injustice it has occasioned.
2. BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE 2.01 In the result of the Imo State Governorship election held on 9.3.2019, INEC declared that Emeka Ihedioha scored the highest number of votes – 273,404 amongst all the candidates and met the constitutional requirements, and was returned. The other three candidates coming behind him were credited with the following votes:
2.02 Each of these candidates filed an election petition at the tribunal premised on different grounds. Senator Uzodinma’s petition was premised largely on the false ground that elections were conducted in certain 388 polling units, but the results of the elections which he had copies of (and which were favourable to him) were wrongly excluded by INEC in their collation of results of the election; that if those results were taken into account, he would have won the election.
2.03 The respondents in the petition, including INEC, denied the above allegations and characterised the purported results as false in their respective replies to the petition. Two short examples may be provided here. In paragraph 8i of Ihedioha’s reply to the petition, it is averred inter alia:” . . . Petitioners have embarked on a scheme to introduce false result sheets into the result of the election. They are thus put to the strictest proof of the origin of the result, the existence of the polling units as well as the distribution of election materials to those purported Polling Units.”
2.04 In paragraph 7c of INEC’s reply, it is averred inter alia: “The 3rd Respondent did not omit to record and reckon with votes due to the Petitioners as alleged. . . and any such showing results are fictitious and suborned.”
2.05 It is thus clear from the foregoing, and having regard to decided cases, particularly of the Supreme Court, that the petitioners had the burden of proving the conduct of elections in those polling units, the results emanating from them and the impact those results would have on the result of the election as declared.
2.06 At the hearing of the petition, Senator Uzodinma and APC called 54 witnesses out of which only 28 were polling unit agents. No ward collation agent was called as a witness. Senator Uzodinma himself testified as PW11. His State Collation agent testified as PW51 and a certain police officer testified as PW54. The other 23 witnesses were local government collation agents and sundry witnesses.
2.07 It is noteworthy that purported results of the election, relied on by the petitioners, were tendered from the Bar in bags and sacks! They remained there throughout the trial, except for the few which were specifically mentioned by the 28 polling unit agents. PW54, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, whose presence and testimony were challenged by the respondents, tendered documents in a pack which he described as result sheets from 366 polling units. He did not open any of them or refer specifically to them. He admitted, in cross-examination, that he did not know the figures they contained or the polling units they were concerned with.
2.08 It is, again, noteworthy that the 28 polling unit agents and PW11 admitted, in cross-examination, that the result sheets which they identified were not legible or did not contain the scores of all the political parties which contested the election. The 28 polling agents also admitted that those purported result sheets did not contain any entry to show the number of ballot papers issued to the respective polling units; the number of ballot papers used and unused in those polling units. Many of the sheets did not show the names and signatures of the presiding officers, and the date of issuance. In some of them, the dates written on them were before or after 9.3.2019.
2.09 PW11 admitted in cross-examination, when confronted with his chart in the petition, that some of the results he listed showed over voting.
3. JUDGMENTS OF THE COURTS
3.01 It was because of the foregoing facts and evidence that the election tribunal, in its judgment, agreed with the respondents that the petitioners did not prove the existence of other results from the so-called 388 polling units. In respect of the evidence of PW54, the police officer, the tribunal, again, agreed with the respondents that he had no locus to be a witness and that his evidence was worthless as he could not tie his testimony to any of the documents he presented. The tribunal held that the petitioners merely dumped documents on the tribunal without relevant oral evidence.3.02 In making these pronouncements, the tribunal relied on the many decisions of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal which have determined the manner such evidence as given by the petitioners should be evaluated. The tribunal, therefore, dismissed the petition.
3.03 At the Court of Appeal, the petitioners complained that the tribunal was in error in dismissing the petition and, in particular, in denouncing the presence of PW54 as a witness and rejecting his evidence. The respondents offered opposing arguments.
3.04 The Court of Appeal, in its majority decision of 4-1, agreed with the petitioners that PW54 was a competent witness, but affirmed the decision of the tribunal that his evidence had no probative value. It dismissed the appeal. The minority judgment upheld the complaints of the petitioners and held that they had proved their case, but it did not say, significantly, the number of additional votes which the petitioners proved in order to show that they had scored a majority of lawful votes cast in the election.
3.05 The petitioners, aggrieved with the decision of the Court of Appeal, appealed to the Supreme Court. Ihedioha, aggrieved with the portion of the decision that PW54 was a competent witness, also appealed to the Supreme Court, and his appeal was numbered as SC.1470/2019.
3.06 As stated above, on 14.1.2020, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the appeals and delivered a judgment soon after. The petitioners’ appeal was allowed, but Ihedioha’s appeal was struck out.
4. REMARKS4.01 In allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court did not state the new scores which the petitioners proved from the 388 polling units, especially having regard to the following facts: (a) that only 28 polling unit agents out of the 388 polling units testified and they admitted that the result sheets had all the vices itemised earlier; (b) that PW11 also admitted over voting apparent in some of the results in the chart in the petition; (c) that more than 90% of result sheets were neither identified nor referred to by any witness; (d) that the respondent, particularly, INEC denied the existence of those result sheets and tendered documentary evidence to show that election did not hold in 388 polling units;
(e) that PW54 tendered purported result sheets that were less than the number of polling units mentioned in the petition; (f) that PW54 did not open or read any of the purported result sheets and stated clearly that he did not know the figures or scores they contained or whether there were “mutations or tampering” in them, and that the documents were not submitted to him.
4.02 The Supreme Court did not state that it has computed the new scores, local government by local government, and determined that the petitioners had satisfied the requirements of section 179(2) of the Constitution before it arrived at the decision that Senator Uzodinma should be sworn-in as the new Governor of Imo State.
4.03 In reaching its decision, the Supreme Court ignored well-established principles of law that had guided its previous decision in similar cases. Perhaps, it is better to state that the Court turned those decisions upside down thereby creating the impression of a double standard.
4.04 Two recent decisions of the Supreme Court easily come to mind. The first decision, SC. 409.2019: PDP v. INEC & Others was delivered on 24.5.2019. It was in respect of the Ekiti State governorship election.
4.05 The second decision, SC. 1211/2019: Atiku Abubakar v. INEC (unreported) was delivered on 15.11.2019. At pages 62-63 of the judgment, the Supreme Court reiterated, thus:Before I conclude on this issue, let me state that whenever documents are tendered from the Bar in election matters, the purport is to speed up the trial in view of time limitation in election matters. Such tendering is not the end itself but a means to an end. The makers of such tendered documents must be called to speak to those documents and be cross-examined on the authenticity of the documents. The law is trite that a party who did not make a document is not competent to give evidence on it. It is also the tested position of the law that where the maker of the document is not called to testify, the document would not be accorded probative value by the Court. That indeed is the fate of Exhibit P80 and P24.
4.06 If the decisions in the above cases were applied to the appeal of Senator Uzodinma and APC, the outcome would have been a dismissal of the appeal. It is a matter of concern and conjecture that the Supreme Court, inexplicably, chose to chart a new, strange course in their decision. Unfortunately, the Court did not indicate that it would give reasons for the decision. That would have offered the Court the opportunity to explain the basis of the decision and state the fate of the long-established principles of law it had led the legal profession and the public to believe were trite.
4.07 In the absence of the explanation, it would be difficult for practitioners and the litigating public to respect decisions of the Supreme Court thereby encouraging disregard of the rule of law.
4.08 Before concluding this piece, it is needful to draw attention to a decision of the Supreme Court in SC. 1384/2019: Ugwumba Uche Nwosu v. Action Peoples Party (unreported) delivered on 20.12.2019, during the pendency of the appeals being discussed.
4.09 The first two paragraphs of the judgment are remarkable. They read: This Appeal deals purely with the issue of double nomination. The Appellant contested and won the primaries conducted by All Progressives Congress [APC] on 16/10/2018, and his name was forwarded to INEC (fourth Respondent) as the gubernatorial candidate of APC at the general election slated for 9/3/2019.But the Appellant also contested and won the Primaries conducted by another Party, Action Alliance, and on 2/11/2018, he was issued with “a Certificate of Return & Confirmation as the duly elected Governorship Candidate” of the said Party.
4.10 The Supreme Court, therefore, held that by “allowing himself to be nominated by two political parties, the Appellant, not only did an act that is not authorised by law, which is illegal, the Electoral Act clearly says in its Section 37, that such a nomination “shall be void”.
4.11 The implication of the above judgment is that Uche Nwosu was the nominated candidate of APC in the election, but that his nomination became void because he had secured “double nomination”. It followed that if Uche Nwosu was factually the candidate of APC in the election, Senator Uzodinma could not have, validly, also be the APC candidate in the same election.
4.12 It was for this reason that Emeka Ihedioha filed an application at the Supreme Court, which was argued on 14.1.2020, contending that Senator Uzodinma and APC’s appeal should be struck out because of the implication in the above-named Supreme Court judgment.
4.13 In the judgment, the Court summarily dismissed Ihedioha’s application on the false basis that the matter of double nomination was a pre-election decision and it could not be applied to the appeal which was a post-election litigation.
4.14 The Supreme Court, in this instance, chose technicality at the expense of substantial justice and denied Ihedioha the benefit of an established legal outcome.
4.15 The effect of the foregoing is that the judgment of the Supreme Court does not reflect the justice of the case. The electorate in Imo State has been short-changed.
Emeka Ihedioha has revealed that he is still in shock after the Supreme Court judgement which sacked him as the Governor of Imo State and also declared Hope Uzodinma as the Governor of the state.
In a meeting with members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at his Abuja residence on Saturday January 18, Emeka Ihedioha stated that he pities those celebrating his loss at the Supreme Court as they are not good students of democracy.
The sacked Governor of Imo State also disclosed that he is waiting for answers. He said;
“The elections in Imo were closely monitored, well advertised and everybody in Nigeria followed it through. The results were very clear, the electoral umpire still has the results.
“It is not about Emeka Ihedioha. It is not about Imo State. It is about the future of our country and democracy. It’s about what do we do tomorrow. .. I am calm and we are calm, and that is why you see in Imo, there is calmness.
“The calmness is coming out of shock, it is coming of disbelief. It is coming out of the fact that people are saying, let us still see, can this be possible? We are waiting for answers and I believe there will be answers.
“This is not the time to celebrate. I pity anyone who is celebrating that sad event. If anyone is celebrating, that person is not a student of democracy.”
Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo has made several key appointments as his new administration settles down to work, naming the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Attorney, General, Chief of Staff and Chief press Secretary.
Chief Cosmas Iwu was appointed as the SSG while Barrister COC Akaolisa steps in as the Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice, designate
Chief Nnamdi Anyaehie was appointed Chief of Staff and Oguike Nwachukwu the Chief Press Secretary, CPS.
Uzodinma was sworn in on Wednesday night, about 24 hours after the Supreme Court declared him the winner of the 9 March election and sacked Emeka Ihedioha, in a stunning verdict.
...says it was taken when one of his commissioner died (photo)
Immediate past governor of Imo state, Emeka Ihedioha, has said that the viral photo of him weeping was not taken after the Supreme court nullified his election but was taken at a funeral he was attending in December 2019.
The photo made the rounds on Tuesday January 14th shortly after the Supreme court nullified his election and declared Hope Uzodinma winner of the March 9th state governorship election. News went round that the governor broke down upon hearing the apex court’s judgement.
In a statement released by his media aide AIC Akwarandu, the former governor said the photo was taken when he received the body of one of his commissioners who died.
The statement reads
“The picture circulating online does not in any way represent the mood of the Former Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, while the Supreme Court Judgment was announced.
The pictures was taken on Friday, 20th Of December, 2019, when the then Governor received the body of His departed Commissioner for Environment, Late Hon. Tony Okere, at the Council Chambers”.
Governor-elect of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has stated the reason why he ordered the freezing of the accounts of the state government.
Uzodinma said he wanted to exercise the right given to him by the Supreme Court judgement declaring him as the duly elected governor of the state on Tuesday. N.Rs culled
In a letter dated January 14, 2020, Uzodinma ordered all financial institutions where the state funds are maintained not to honour any draft till further notice.
The letter addressed to the regional directors and managers of all the financial institutions in Imo State and signed by Cosmos Iwu, director-general of Senator Hope Uzodinma Campaign Organisation, on behalf of the governor-elect, ordered the financial institutions to “post no debit” on all the accounts.
The letter which was titled, “Order of post no debit on all accounts of Imo State government effective 14, January 2020” stated that the order was sequel to the apex court judgment which declared Uzodinma the new governor of the state.
The three-paragraph letter, which was sighted by The Nation in Owerri on Wednesday, read, “Following the Supreme Court judgment of 14, January 2020, I am directed by his excellency, Senator Hope Uzodinma, to take this as your authority/instruction to place a post no debit order on all accounts of the Imo state government maintained in your various institutions.
“You are by this letter directed to comply and await further instructions from the office of his excellency, the executive governor of Imo state. Thanks for your cooperation”
Spiritual leader of the Igbo nation, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, has attributed the Supreme Court judgement against immediate past governor of Imo state, Emeka Ihedioha to his vindictive disposition, N.Rs learnt.
He said he foresaw the gods reacting against him for demolishing structures and edifices dedicated to gods of the land before the Supreme Court judgement.
Ihedioha of the People Democratic Party was on Tuesday sacked by the Supreme Court, which declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress(APC) winner of the 2019 governroship election.
Reacting to the judgement on Wednesday, Ezeonwuka, a Board of Trustees member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), said he earlier raised the alarm over his (Ihedioha’s) apparent vindictive actions against his predecessor.
He said: “Ihedioha came and concentrated on demolition of structures and edifices put in place by former Governor Rochas Okorocha and the gods reacted.
“I warned that the demolition exercise will bring bad omen to the Ihedioha administration and I raised the alarm that he has to retrace his steps and focus on his own agenda.
“I said this the day I condemned the demolition of a mosque at Trans Amadi in Port Harcourt by Governor Nyesom Wike.
“I condemned the demolition along with what Ihedioha was doing in Imo State because as a spiritual leader, I know they have incurred the wrath of the gods.
“You cannot demolish a structure or edifice dedicated to a deity or to a legacy of man loved by the gods of the land and expect the spirit of the gods to keep quiet. They will fight back, and they have fought back.”
Ezeonwuka said he would continue to advise Ndigbo on laws and rules of the gods, culture and tradition of the fore fathers to prevent them from incurring the wrath of gods.
“As a spiritual leader of the Igbo nation, I’m under the obligation of using spiritai means to address the challenges facing Ndigbo and I won’t relent in doing just that to the best of my ability,” he added.
Mr Emeka Ihedioha has said that the mandate given to him by the Imo people has been truncated following the verdict of the Supreme Court that ousted him and brought in Senator Hope Uzodinma.
Ihedioha in a statement he personally signed, described the ruling of the Supreme Court as unfair and unjust.
The ousted PDP candidate said the judgement comes to him as a ‘rude shock’ and a surprise considering the facts on the ground, legal precedence and ‘clear verdict’ of Imo People on March 9 2019, that returned him as governor with the highest valid votes of 273,404.
According to Ihedioha, the ruling of the apex court contravened the will of the Imo people.
Ihedioha said he does not agree with the judgement of the Supreme Court, noting that the ruling didn’t take care of the sensibilities of the people of Imo State.
He, however, added that as true democrats, Engr Gerald Irona and himself have no option but to respect the outcome of the judgement.
Mr Ihedioha said consequently, his team has put machinery in motion to hand-over the reins of office to the APC Candidate as the next governor of Imo State.
“This will be coordinated by the Secretary to the State Government. I therefore direct all members of Imo State Expanded Executive Council, and all political appointees to write their handing-over notes and to return all government properties in their custody, forthwith. I shall not be a party to pilfering of Government property or funds,” Ihedioha stated.
He appreciated the people of Imo State for all their solidarity and goodwill adding that he would forever cherish and treasure the peoples’ love, trust and partnership.