In an unprecedented move, hundreds of people came out in Owerri, capital of Imo State to protest the Supreme Court nullification of the election of Emeka Ihedioha as governor and the declaration of Senator Hope Uzodinma as the real winner.
The protesters, mobilised by the Peoples Democratic Party carried placards denouncing the judgement, with some asking the eminent jurists to reverse themselves.
The protest, tagged as “Ihedioha Spring”, had the blessing of the national headquarters of the party, which claimed that there were simultaneous protests in Gombe, Abia, Katsina, Taraba and Anambra and shared tweets about the protests.
#SaveOurJudiciary Ongoing-Live pictures from protesters in Awka, Anambra state against the judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo Guber Election. Let’s #SaveTheJudiciary @USEmbassyAbuja @EUinNigeria @EU_Commission @UN @POTUS @UKinNigeria pic.twitter.com/jVcADvM5Mo
— Official PDP Nigeria (@OfficialPDPNig) January 19, 2020
It was the first time in Nigeria that a protest would follow a Supreme Court verdict.
And the protests were in line with the positions earlier taken by the National Chairman of the Party, Uche Secondus and the ousted governor Emeka Ihedioha.
Both have denounced the verdict as antithetical to democracy. While Ihedioha said the verdict had put the judiciary and the Independent National Electoral Commission on trial, Secondus called for its reversal and the resignation of Chief Justice Muhammad Tanko.
In Abia, the party faithful, led by the Chairman, Chief Johnson Onuigbo, took off from the party’s Secretariat on Finbarrs’ Road to Ikot Ekpene Road down to Azikiwe Road and back.
Addressing newsmen at the end of the march, Onuigbo said: ”We are gathered here today to express our anger to the world over the Supreme Court’s judgement.
“As far as we are concerned, the judgement is wrong and we demand that it should be reversed because it is a rape of our democracy and a miscarriage of justice.
“What we are doing here today is happening in all the states of the country because injury to one is injury to all.”
The party chairman expressed the hope in the judiciary reversing itself, pointing out that as humans, judges were bound to make mistakes.
“They made the mistake by denying the people their votes. It is an attempt to destroy our nascent democracy,” he further said.
Also in Anambra, the state Chairman, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, led other party faithful from the party Secretariat at Udoka Estate on a march to the Federal and State High Court complexes in Awka.
Addressing the crowd of party supporters, Nwobu described the ruling on Imo election as “a travesty of justice and a bad precedence for the judiciary as the last hope of the common man.”
He said the Supreme Court had earlier voided the nomination of a candidate because his name appeared as dual candidate of APC and Action Alliance.
He, therefore, wondered why the same court would declare Uzodimma victorious on APC platform.
He said though the Supreme Court was infallible, the people acting on its behalf were not immune from mistakes.
He, therefore, called on the court to toe the path of honour by taking responsibility for its mistakes and reversing itself.
In a remark, Mr Oseloka Obaze, who was the party’s governorship candidate in 2017, said they were only peacefully asking the Supreme Court to revisit the judgement, own responsibility and reverse itself for posterity sake.
“We accept that men and women in the Supreme Court are human beings, we accept that they have made a mistake, we expect them to be able to correct themselves.
“The danger we face is that any day the people cannot trust the judiciary, then this country is finished and we will not allow that.
“The constitution says the Supreme Court verdict is final but it did not say that the judges are infallible. They must find the courage to reverse themselves,” Obaze said.