• Says it’s another sad commentary

BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised the Supreme Court ruling on the Imo state governorship election, saying the development is not only shocking, but also ‘another very sad commentary on Nigeria’s democratic order’.

Expressing surprise at the Tuesday’s judgment in which the apex Court sacked Governor Emeka Ihedioha and declared Senator Hope Uzodinma as duly elected in a unanimous decision, the PDP said the Party and Nigerians were still at a loss in understanding the basis upon which the highest Court in the land arrived at its decision.

A statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Tuesday said the PDP finds it difficult to understand how Uzodinma and APC, who came 4th in the governorship election, with just 96,458 votes, would suddenly, by the token of the judgment of the Supreme Court, defeat Ihedioha and PDP that scored 276,404 votes.

According to the statement, “In fact, the PDP and indeed, most Nigerians are still at a loss as to understand the basis upon which the Supreme Court arrived at its decision.”

Ologbondiyan said it was lamentable that the destiny of the people of Imo was being taken from the governor they chose and voted for, and handed over to individuals and a political party that did not have the people’s blessing and mandate.

“The people of Imo state are now confronted with the challenge of having a government that they cannot identify with and which cannot connect with them, having not emanated from them.

“Moreover, all the gains, including the development and stability already achieved by the people-based government, under Gov. Emeka Ihedioha’s administration in the state are now heavily jeopardized.”

The PDP Spokesman further claimed that; “Indeed, the mournful and despondent ambience that now pervades in Imo is a loud testimony that the judgment did not reflect the expectation of the people of Imo as expressed at the polls.”

He said though the Supreme Court’s ruling was final, it was important for “all party stakeholders in Imo to remain united and calm, and await further instruction from the national leadership of the party on the “sad development.”

On Tuesday, January 14, 2020, a seven-man panel of the apex court held that Ihedioha did not win majority of votes cast at the March 9, 2019 governorship elections and therefore ordered INEC to issue Senator Hope Uzodinma a new certificate of return as the duly elected Governor of Imo State.

In the judgment read by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the Court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Ihedioha as he did not win majority of the lawful votes cast during the election.

The Supreme Court also held that the Election Petition Tribunal erred in law when it rejected evidence tendered before them to the extent that votes from 388 polling units were not credited to APC and Hope Uzodinma.

It therefore ordered that Senator Uzodinma be sworn-in immediately as the lawfully elected candidate in the March 9, 2019 gubernatorial poll in Imo State.

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