The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Tuesday upheld the ruling of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which dismissed the petitions filed against the victory of Gov. Emeka of Imo State.
The Court Tuesday dismissed the petition filed against Ihedioha by three political parties – Action Alliance (AA), All Progressives Congress (APC) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
The parties alongside their governorship candidates, Mr Uche Nwosu, Sen. Hope Uzodinma and Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume had appealed to the Court to nullify the election of Ihedioha on the ground that he was unlawfully declared as the governor of the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Delivering judgment, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of the candidate of the AA Party, Nwosu, for incompetence and awarded the N500,000 cost awarded against him.
In a unanimous decision, the five member panel, also struck out the petition of APC candidate Uzodinma with a fine of N500,000 against him.
It said, “the tribunal cannot be faulted for striking out the petition of the petitioner..therefore the appeal is lacking in merit and it is hereby dismissed and a N500,000 cost awarded against him”.
The Court described as an “absurdity”, for Uzodinma who came 4th in an election to ask to be declared winner.
On Araraume’s appeal, the Court held that his proof of evidence is lame, moreso that the opinion of the trial Tribunal was impeccable in dissmissing his petition. It also averred that documents were not unbundled, but were dumped at the Tribunal and as such the burden of proof was not discharged by the petitioner, just like his appeal.
Consequently, the court dismissing his appeal, said, ” the appeal is a failure and dismissed accordingly, and a cost of N500,000 awarded against him.”
The Court held that the three appeals challenging the declaration of Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), lacked merit.
The appellants had challenged the emergence of the PDP candidate as winner of the March, 9 governorship election on the grounds that the election was marred by irregularities.
The Tribunal had held that candidate of the Action Alliance, AA, Uche Nwosu, Ifeanyi Ararume of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, and Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress, APC, failed to establish their petitions against governor Ihedioha.
The Tribunal had also in their judgement unanimously held that Sen. Uzodinma of the APC was unable to prove his allegation that wrongful collation of results by INEC led to Ihedioha’s emergence as winner of the governorship election.
Recall that the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, emerged the Imo State governor-elect, polling 273,404 votes to defeat 69 other candidates including his closest rival, Uche Nwosu of Action Alliance who scored 190,364 votes.
Announcing the results the All Progressives Grand Alliance candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, polled 114,676 followed by the All Progressives Congress candidate, Senator Hope Uzodimma, who scored 96,458 votes.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal had, upheld the disqualification of the Candidate of Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu on the grounds that he was not qualified to contest the election because he had double nomination from two political parties.
Also the Supreme Court, in an appeal brought to it by Action Alliance against its candidate Uche Nwosu, accepted the withdrawal of the party from the suit filed against Governor Ihedioha by Uche Nwosu, citing the agreement it entered with the PDP under the platform of Coalition of Union of Political Parties prior to the election.