The All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were at polar opposites on Tuesday in their reactions to the Supreme Court judgement that upheld the 14 January verdict that ousted Emeke Ihedioha as the governor and declared Hope Uzodinma as the replacement.
The PDP said it was `unfortunate’ that the Supreme Court refused to correct its mistake on the verdict, echoing the words of the dissenting Justice Chima Centus Nweze.
“It is indeed unfortunate that the Supreme Court had the wholesome opportunity to redeem itself and correct its errors, but choose to hide behind technicality to justify and endorse an electoral fraud”, the party’s publicity secretary Kola Ologbondiyan said.
In contrast, National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Adams Oshiomhole, said the ruling has reaffirmed the fact that the Court remains Supreme.jpg?resize=504%2C272&ssl=1 504w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" /> Adams Oshiomhole: praises Supreme Court on Imo verdict
Oshiomhole, who spoke to State House Correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday said the Supreme Court did not make mistake in the first instance.
The APC Chairman reiterated his position that Ihedioha did not scored the required number of votes to be declared winner of the contested election.
He said it was even legally unwise for Ihedioha to ask the Supreme Court to review its judgment, knowing fully well that its decision had traditionally been irreversible.
”We know that Ihedioha did not have the required number and that is a fact that nobody has ever disputed.
”How somebody thought he can impose someone who did not meet the spread is only known to PDP. Because, they specialised in rigging and they see rigging as their birth right.
”And that is why they could have the guts to be protesting in front of foreign embassies as if Nigeria is a colony under the supervision of some foreign powers.
”So I think what the Supreme Court has done today is just to reaffirm that they are Supreme and whatever they did the last time was on the basis of what was before them.
”I think they are just being consistent with the position they took in previous cases.
”Of course as a party chairman, APC members and indeed all Democrats and all those who believe in the rule of law, who believe that as imperfect as the Supreme Court can be, they remain Supreme.
”We thank God that the whole litigation process has come to an end,” he added.
According to him, the people of Imo can now relax, seat back and work with their governor to ensure speedy transformation of the state.
He added that all hands must be on deck to fill up the gaps so that Imo people can witness sustainable growth and development.
On the arguments that votes in the Imo election that gave victory to Gov. Uzodinma were more that registered voters, Oshiomhole described the argument as roadside talks by some elements in PDP.
”You have made an assumption which is not supported by fact, mainly by the speculations and the roadside talks by some elements in PDP, suggesting that there was over-voting if you add the votes that were ignored.
”Those are not proven because if they were, it was up to their counsel to provide evidence that it was more than the registered votes, not to go and sit on television.
”Matters before the court are canvassed before the court. Issues not raised in the court cannot be raised on television.
”I assume your question is informed by those uninformed, self-serving speculations. They don’t merit my reaction.
”What I think that we must discuss as a people, which concerns you and I as Nigerians, who believe in democracy, is that the law should be amended, such that no matter what happens, when people have voted, they cannot be dismissed as ‘April Fool’,” he said.
Expectedly the PDP did not share Oshiomhole’s view.
“What Nigerians expected of the Supreme Court, since the error in its earlier judgment that had been fully established, was to summon the courage to affirm its fallibility by correcting the errors and handing over victory to the rightful winner. Sadly, it failed to do so,” Ologbondiyan said.
He said the verdict of the Supreme Court on the review of its judgment on Imo governorship election was a disconcerting endorsement of electoral fraud.
“The PDP however, notes that in the face of the sad verdict, Justice Chima Nweze’s judgment presents a glimpse of hope for our nation’s judiciary.
“Our party abides completely by every word of the judgment of Justice Nweze as treated facts, which are truly sacred.
“Justice Nweze’s pronouncement, which went straight into the substance of our application, represents a universal view about the travesty of justice that occurred in the Imo governorship election judgment,” he said.
Ologbondiyan said that what the Supreme Court had done in the judgment was to uphold and legalize the writing of election results by individual contestants against the will of the people as expressed at the poll.
“As a party, we hold that on this judgment, all election stakeholders must rally to create remedies for this pathetic situation created by the Supreme Court in the Imo governorship election before our entire electoral process becomes vanquished.
‘This judgment will continue to haunt the Supreme Court. It has created a burden of precedence and fallibility on the court.
“More distressing is the fact that the judgment has heavily detracted the confidence Nigerians and the international community reposed on the Supreme Court and our entire jurisprudence.