The Supreme Court on Tuesday nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor of Imo State.
The apex court declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the March 9 governorship election in the state.
In the unanimous judgment of the seven-member panel, read by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the apex court agreed that results in 388 polling units were unlawfully excluded during the collation of the final governorship election result in Imo State.
Justice Kekere-Ekun said with the results from the 388 polling units added, Mr Uzodinma polled a majority of the lawful votes and ought to have been declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Consequently, she voided and set aside the declaration of Mr lhedioha as the winner of the 2019 governorship election in the South-East state.
The court ordered that the certificate of return wrongly or unlawfully issued to Mr lhedioha be immediately withdrawn by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and a fresh one issued to Mr Uzodinma as the elected governor of the state.
“Vote due to the appellant Senator Hope Uzodinma and the APC from 388 Polling Units were wrongly excluded from scores ascribed to the appellant(to them),” the justices ruled.
“It is thereby ordered that the appellant votes from 388 Polling Units unlawfully excluded from the appellant vote declared shall be added and that the first respondent, Emeka Ihedioha, was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast at the said election.”
“His return as the elected governor of Imo State is hereby declared null and void and accordingly set aside
“It is hereby declared that the first appellant (Mr Uzodinma) holds the majority of lawful votes cast at the governorship election held in Imo State on March 9, 2019.”
The justice said Mr Uzodinma has satisfied the mandatory constitutional requirements to be declared governor.
“It is hereby declared that first appellant, Senator Hope Uzodinma, is the winner of the governorship of Imo State held on March 9, 2019.
“The certificate issued to the first defendant (Mr Ihedioha) is hereby withdrawn.
“It is hereby ordered that the certificate of return shall be issued to the first appellant, Senator Hope Uzodinma, forthwith and he should be sworn in as the governor of Imo State,” she ruled.