The Supreme court has nullified the election victory of Emeka Ihedioha and has declared Senator Hope Uzodinma validly elected Governor of Imo state.

Ihedioha was the candidate of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 governorship elections in Imo.

Uzodinma was the flag-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a unanimous judgement by a seven-man panel of justices led by Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, the apex court held that Ihedioha of the PDP was not duly elected.

Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun who delivered the lead judgement, declared Uzodinma as the valid winner of the governorship contest and ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Certificate of Return that was issued to Ihedioha.

It also ordered that a fresh Certificate of Return be issued to Uzodinma without delay, adding that he should be sworn-in immediately as the Governor of Imo state.

By this ruling, the Supreme Court has overturned the judgment of the election petition tribunal.

The apex court considered the submissions of a principal witness who was on a subpoena to present results; and held that the lower court was wrong in its ruling.

The tribunal handed victory to Ihedioha

In September 2019, Chairman of the election tribunal, Justice Mallami Umar-Dogondagi, dismissed the petition of the candidate of the Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, for incompetence.

In a unanimous decision, the three-member panel also struck out Uzodinma's petition.

Ihedioha, a former Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, had his governorship election challenged by the governorship candidates of the AA, APC and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) at the tribunal.

Senator Hope Uzodinma has been named Imo Governor by the apex court (Punch)
Senator Hope Uzodinma has been named Imo Governor by the apex court (Punch)

The petitioners had asked the tribunal 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).

After Ihedioha floored all the petitioners at the tribunal, the Supreme Court became the next battleground.

Uzodinma had hinged his petition on the non-inclusion of results from 366 polling booths out of the INEC approved 388 booths in the state.

The Supreme Court is the final arbiter for all (election) matters in Nigeria. By this judgment, Uzodinma, who came fourth in the first ballot, will soon be moving his wares into Douglas House in Imo as the state's number one citizen, with Ihedioha moving out in the opposite direction.

The election results

On March 12, 2019, Returning Officer for the Imo vote, Prof. Francis Otonta declared that Ihedioha won in 11 of the 27 LGAs; polling a total 273,404 votes to defeat closest contender, Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA) who won in 10 LGAs and got 190,364 votes.

Other participants in the 70-man Imo guber contest included Ifeanyi Araraume of APGA, a former senator who garnered 114,676 votes, winning in four LGAs.

APC's Hope Uzodinma, a serving senator representing Imo West Senatorial district garnered 96,458 votes and won in two LGAs to take the fourth position.

You can see the full governorship election numbers from the main contenders in Imo here.