- Ihedioha legal team opens, verdict of failures
Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Everything is ready for a mass protest being organized by the Democratic Peoples Party (PDP) today against the Supreme Court judgment that overturned the election of the Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as governor of the State of Imo.
Before today's main protest, members of the main opposition party in the states of Abia and Imo marched on state streets yesterday over the removal of Ihedioha and its replacement by Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In addition, the deposed governor's legal team opened a controversy, blaming the apex verdict.
The National Organizing Secretary of the PDP, Colonel Austin Akobundu (rtd), had said that “according to the approval of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of our great party, the national president has determined that a peaceful, civil and not violent protest will be organized in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to record the party's discontent with the current state of affairs in the country, especially the judicial errors made by the Supreme Court against the legally elected governor of the State of Imo ”.
According to him, the date of the protest is today (January 20), while the takeoff point is at Legacy House, in the district of Maitama.
The statement added that the protest match is "an appeal to all lovers of democracy as we unite to save our beloved nation".
The details of the protest obtained by THISDAY showed that all 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory will be involved.
It was concluded that the party had sent signals to all its state chapters and members to converge in Abuja for the protest.
A PDP source said that at least three buses full of members are expected in Abuja from each of the federation's 36 states.
Protesters are expected to meet at the PDP Legacy Office at 9 am with members of the National Labor Committee (NWC) and the procession will march peacefully from the Maitama office through the Hilton Hotel junction to the Federal Secretariat near the Three Arms Zone .
The source said the PDP's peaceful march would end at the Supreme Court.
According to the source, "the party informed the police of its intention to carry out a peaceful protest", but "it was not known whether the police had granted permission for the protest or not".
The source explained that the protest took place last Friday, except for Jumat's prayers for Muslims and the need to obtain permission from the police.
It was concluded that the PDP wanted to obtain police protection to prevent criminals from hijacking the protest and causing problems.
All members of the party's National Executive Committee must participate in the protest.
The national PDP president, Prince Uche Secondus, told THISDAY that the party had obtained intelligence reports prior to the verdict of the Imo State government's appeal that the APC hierarchy was allegedly lobbying the Supreme Court to overturn the PDP's victories. in Imo, Sokoto, Bauchi, Adamawa and Benue.
According to Secondus, “Can the PDP correctly rely on the impartiality and independence of the panel led by Judge Tanko Muhammad, the CJN, to judge other cases involving the PDP like Kano, Sokoto, Benue, Bauchi, Adamawa, Plateau and others?
"Isn't the same fate awaiting the governors of those states that are controlled by the PDP and other states like Kano, where the PDP clearly won and was stolen?"
Ihedioha's legal team opens
Meanwhile, Ihedioha's legal team opened the controversial Supreme Court trial that installs Uzodinma as governor.
The legal team said its response "has become imperative to correct the records for the benefit of the reading public, even if it does not reveal the unfortunate Supreme Court decision and the obvious injustice it has caused".
Ihedioha's lawyers said: “In allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court did not declare the new scores, which the petitioners proved from 388 voting units, especially considering the following facts: (a) that only 28 agents from 388 voting units polling stations testified and admitted that the results sheets had all the bias listed previously; (b) that PW11 also admitted the apparent vote on some of the results in the petition graph; (c) that more than 90% of the result sheets were not identified or referred to by any witnesses; (d) that the interviewee, in particular, INEC denied the existence of these results sheets and presented documentary evidence to show that the election did not take place in 388 voting units; (e) that PW54 offered alleged results sheets below the number of voting units mentioned in the petition; (f) that the PW54 did not open or read any of the alleged results sheets and stated clearly that it did not know the numbers or notes they contained or whether there were “mutations or adulterations” in them and that the documents were not submitted to it.
“The Supreme Court did not declare that it calculated the new scores, local government by the local government, and determined that the petitioners had met the requirements of section 179 (2) of the Constitution before reaching the decision that Senator Uzodinma should be sworn in as new governor of the State of Imo.
“In making its decision, the Supreme Court ignored the well-established legal principles that had guided its previous decisions in similar cases. Perhaps it is better to say that the court turned these decisions upside down, thus creating the impression of double standards.
“Two recent Supreme Court decisions come to mind easily. The first decision, SC. 409.2019: PDP v. INEC & o. It was delivered on 24.5.2019. It was in connection with the election of the Ekiti State government.
“The second decision, SC. 1211/2019: Atiku Abubakar x INEC (undeclared) was delivered on 11.15.2019. On pages 62-63 of the trial, the Supreme Court reiterated, thus: Before concluding on this issue, let me state that whenever documents are presented to the court on electoral issues, the objective is to speed up the trial in view of the time limit in electoral matters. This contest is not the end itself, but a means to an end. The manufacturers of these bid documents must be called upon to speak with these documents and be questioned as to the authenticity of the documents. The law is commonplace that a party that has not made a document is not competent to provide evidence. It is also the tested position of the law that, when the document maker is not called to testify, the document will not receive probative value by the Court. This is really the destination of Annex P80 and P24.
"If the decisions in the above cases were applied to the appeal of Senator Uzodinma and the APC, the result would have been a dismissal of the appeal," added the legal team.
Abia, members of the Imo PDP protest against the removal of Ihedioha
Meanwhile, members of the PDP in the states of Abia and Imo yesterday launched a protest against the removal of Ihedioha by the Supreme Federal Court and Uzodinma's declaration as duly elected state governor.
Led by the state of Abia, president of the PDP, chief Johnson Onuigbo, members of the main opposition party marched through the main streets of Umuahia, the capital.
They displayed posters with inscriptions like "Independent judiciary is a sine qua non for justice"; "Can a government that does not obey the rule allow justice to prosper?" And "President Buhari, leave the judiciary alone."
Onuigbo told reporters after the protest that his main demand was that the Supreme Court should reverse its judgment and return Ihedioha as governor.
"What the Supreme Court had done is detrimental to our democracy," he said, adding that "state governors are not appointed, but elected by the people."
He called on the international community to intervene and save Nigeria from tyranny, which he said is strangling the country's nascent democracy.
"It's not about Imo; it's not about Emeka Ihedioha. It's about Nigeria's democracy," he said.
In addition, the Imo State PDI chapter said the Supreme Court was destroying the country's democracy with its trial last Tuesday, which removed Ihedioha.
Adorning black suits, PDP members in the state marched in Owerri, the state capital, asking jurists to revisit the removal of Ihedioha.
They said the protest would persist if the main court refused to review the Imo government's judgment.
A member of the Chamber of Deputies, Hon. Henry Nwawuba, who spoke to journalists, said Supreme Court justices had murdered democracy in the state.
Nwawuba, who represents the federal constituency of Ibauru / Mbaitoli / Ikeduru, said the main court had done a serious injustice to the people of the state.
He said: “I am a parliamentarian and I believe that the Supreme Court must rescue the judiciary. Since the trial was passed, the state is now a cemetery, which is different from what was happening when the PDP was under control.
“How Supreme Court judges gave victory to a candidate who came in fourth in the election remains a mystery to many of us. We ask them to revisit the Imo case and do it justice. "
Maria Mbakwe, PDP leader in Imo state, said the women in the state were crying.