The Supreme Court of Nigeria has given reasons it accepted the results sheets presented by Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and eventually sacked Emeka Ihedioha as the governor of Imo State, Southeast Nigeria.
YaahooJournalist recalls that the Supreme Court nullified the election of Ihedioha and declared Senator Uzodinma winner of the March 9 Imo Governorship election.
The judgment came after Uzodinma had approached the election tribunal and the appeal court as well as the apex court, claiming that he got the highest number of votes in the election, but the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returned Ihedioha as the Governor of the Southeast State.
The apex court said the votes due to Senator Uzodinma was unlawfully excluded from the 318 polling units.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who delivered the judgment, said that the submissions of a Principal witness who was on a subpoena to present results held that the lower court was wrong in its ruling.
In a copy of the judgment released to journalists on Thursday, January 23, the Supreme Court said the result sheets by Uzodinma became admissible because INEC did not counter them when produced by the APC governor.
The Supreme Court, the Appeal Court, and the Imo State election petition tribunal misread the pleadings by Uzodinma and APC in their dismissal of the petition and appeal.
However, Justice Kekere-Ekun said while INEC alleged that the results pleaded by Uzodinma, through the police officer, were false, it did not call any witness and did not counter it by tendering any documents.
Her words: “Having pleaded that the documents are false, the respondents made allegations of a criminal nature against the appellants.
“They were required to plead the specific elements of fraud and lead evidence showing the genuine results. Not only must the allegations be proved beyond reasonable doubt, it must also be proved that the appellants personally committed or aided and abetted the commission of the crime or that they procured the commission of the crime through their agents or officials.”