Imo: S’Court set to hear Three years old motion for fresh election

With less than a month to the governorship election, the Supreme Court has now fixed October 31 to hear a motion that was filed three years ago, by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), seeking for an order for a fresh governorship election in Imo State.

Already, a hearing notice of the motion marked SC/1384/2019 and dated October 16, 2023 has been issued to parties to the case.

The notice signed by one of the Supreme Court Registrar, Usman Bature, indicated that the motion between Ugwumba Nwosu and Action People’s Party (APP), has been listed for hearing on the above date.

Nwosu’s candidacy in the 2019 governorship election was voided haven allowed himself to be nominated by two political parties; the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Action Alliance (AA).

While his appeal was pending at the apex court, the APGA brought an application for joinder as an interested party as well as for an order directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in Imo State within 90 days.

The motion for fresh election was brought pursuant to Order 2, Rule 28(1) and Order 8 Rule 17 of the Supreme Court Rules; Section 22 Supreme Court Act, Section 287(1) of the 1999 Constitution and Inherent jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

According to the applicant, a fresh election was necessary because in the eyes of the law, Imo State has no duly and validly elected governor, going by two judgments of the apex court in appeals number SC/1384/2019 and SC/1462/2019.

“In the eyes of the law, the absence of a duly and validly nominated/ sponsored by a political party as a constitutional precedent, has made it imperative for INEC to conduct a fresh election in Imo State”, counsel to the applicant, Mr S. I. Nwoga submitted.

In the first appeal between Nwosu and APP and three others, the apex court held that Nwosu contested and won the primaries conducted by the APC on October 6, 2018, and his name forwarded to INEC as APC’s candidate for the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State but, voided his nomination because he “knowingly allowed himself to be nominated as the gubernatorial candidate of two political parties, “and by Section 37 of the Electoral Act 2010, his nomination is voided”.

He pointed out that the apex court in its judgment in the second appeal number SC/1462/2019, wherein the then governor, Emeka Ihedioha of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was sacked as governor did not establish that Senator Hope Uzodinma was nominated by his party the APC.

“Indeed this court rightly noted at page 9 of its judgment in appeal number SC/1462/2019, Uzodinma vs Ihedioha, that the issue of the 1st appellant’s nomination by the 2nd appellant did not arise. Consequently, there is no decision of this court that has determined or establish that Senator Hope Uzodinma is the duly nominated/ sponsored governorship candidate of the APC in Imo State as stipulated by Section 11177(c) of the Constitution”, the applicant argued.

While praying the apex court for permission to be joined and heard in the substantive suit filed on July 9, 2020, the party which came third in the 2019 governorship poll with 114, 676 votes, prayed the apex court to make an order “excluding the APC and Action Alliance (AA) from participating in the fresh governorship election in Imo State within 90 days”.

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