Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has received the Certificate of Return from the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) as the governor-elect of Imo State. He was awarded the certificate on Wednesday in Abuja, barely 24 hours after the Supreme Court nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha as the governor of the state.
Consequently, a seven-man panel led by Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad unanimously declared the Senator the winner of the March 19 governorship election. The appellant, Senator Uzodinma contended that he scored the highest number of votes in the election, but that INEC had returned Emeka Ihedioha as the governor of the State.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun who delivered the judgment declared that the votes due to Senator Uzodinma were unlawfully excluded from the 318 polling units and should be added to his votes. The apex court also considered the submissions of a principal witness who was on a subpoena to present results and held that the lower court was wrong in its ruling.
While reading the lead judgment, Justice Kekere-Ekun declared Senator Uzodinma as the validly elected Governor and the Certificate of Return issued to Ihedioha be withdrawn immediately. Meanwhile, candidate of the Action Alliance (AA), Uche Nwosu, withdrew a second appeal filed against the election of Emeka Ihedioha.
According to his counsel, Mr Solomon Umoh (SAN), the withdrawal on Tuesday is based on the judgment of the apex court which had been delivered on the 20th of December 2019.