By Oloniruha Emmanuel
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed surprise at the judgment of the Supreme Court on the Imo state governorship election, describing it as `yet another very sad commentary on Nigeria’s democratic order’.
The Supreme Court in a unanimous Judgment on Tuesday sacked Emeka Ihedioha as Governor of Imo, declared Hope Uzodinma winner and ordered INEC to issue him (Uzodinma), certificate of return.
A seven-man panel of the apex court in its decision held that Ihedioha did not win majority of votes cast at the March 9, 2019 governorship elections.
PDP, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Tuesday said that the PDP and Nigerians were still at a loss as to understand the basis upon which the court arrived at its decision.
Ologbondiyan said that the PDP found it difficult to understand how Uzodinma/APC, who came 4th in the governorship election, with just 96,458 votes, would suddenly, by the token of the judgment of the Supreme Court, defeat Ihedioha/PDP that scored 276,404 votes.
“In fact, the PDP and indeed, most Nigerians are still at a loss as to understand the basis upon which the Supreme Court arrived at its decision.”
He said it was lamentable that the destiny of the people of Imo was being taken from the governor they chose and voted for, and handed over to individuals and a political party that did not have the people’s blessing and mandate.
“The people of Imo state are now confronted with the challenge of having a government that they cannot identify with and which cannot connect with them, having not emanated from them.
“Moreover, all the gains, including the development and stability already achieved by the people-based government, under Gov. Emeka Ihedioha’s administration in the state are now heavily jeopardized.
“Indeed, the mournful and despondent ambience that now pervades in Imo is a loud testimony that the judgment did not reflect the expectation of the people of Imo as expressed at the polls.”
Ologbondiyan said while recognising that the judgment of the Supreme Court was final, the PDP urged all party stakeholders in Imo to remain united and calm, and await further instruction from the national leadership of the party on the “sad development.”
In the Judgment delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the court accordingly ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Ihedioha and issue a fresh Certificate of Return to the candidate of the APC on grounds that he won majority of the lawful votes cast at the election.
The court held that the lower court erred in law when it rejected evidence tendered before them to the extent that votes from 388 polling units were not credited to APC and Hope Uzodinma.
The court also ordered the immediate swearing in of Uzodinma as lawful winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State.