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The Application brought before the supreme court yesterday filed
by Emeka ihedioha and people’s Democratic Party seeking reversal of the apex
court’s January 14, 2020 judgment which removed him as imo state governor was
yesterday dismissed as lead judgment affirms uzodinma as the authentic governor
of the state.

A seven-man panel of supreme court justices in a split six to one
verdict on teusday, dismissed the application.

The panel was presided over by the chief justice of Nigeria,
justice Tanko Mohammed


Six of
the seven Justices affirmed the court’s earlier decision, while one ruled in
favour of Ihedioha and the PDP.

Apart
from the CJN, other justices that form the panel in the lead judgment include
Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who delivered the majority ruling of the court,
others who consented to the majority decision were Justices Sylvester Ngwuta,
Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Amina Augie, and Uwani Abba-Aji,

The six
Justices, along with the now retired Justice Amir Sanusi, constituted the
seven-man panel that delivered the disputed January 14, 2020 judgment.

Justice
Chima Nweze, who delivered the dissenting ruling, rebuked Uzodinma for
allegedly misleading the apex court into declaring him the winner of the
election.

Criticising
his colleagues, who delivered the January 14, 2020 judgment, Justice Nweze said
it was “preposterous” for the apex court to award the “electoral victory” to
Uzodinma who had contended that the March 9, 2019 election was invalid.

He
said, “In this circumstance, I take the humble view that this court has the
inherent jurisdiction of redeeming its image by setting aside the judgment.”

His
dissenting judgment drew an applause from a section of the audience in the
court, but the CJN quickly warned that clapping was prohibited in court, adding
that anyone caught doing so in future could be made to clap continuously for 14
days.

Delivering
the lead majority judgment, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola dismissed Ihedioha’s
application on the grounds that the apex court’s judgment was final and that
the court could not be made to sit in appeal over its judgment.

He
said, “It is settled law that this court has no power to change or alter its
own judgment or sit in appeal over its own judgment.

“There
is no doubt that the court has inherent powers in respect of matters within its
jurisdiction, it certainly has no inherent power to assume jurisdiction in
respect of a matter not within its jurisdiction.

“It is
clear from the tone and the body of the instant application that what is being
sought is asking the court to sit in appeal over its judgment already delivered
and executed. That is certainly beyond the competence of this court.”

He
recalled that only on February 26, 2020 the Supreme Court dismissed a similar
application for the review of its February 13, 2020 verdict, which sacked the
Bayelsa State governor-elect David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress after
disqualifying the deputy governor-elect, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, for
submitting false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Justice
Nweze, commended Agabi for having the courage to file the application for the
review of the apex court’s judgment.

At the
hearing earlier conducted by the court on Friday, APC’s lawyer, Damien Dodo
(SAN), had urged the court to dismiss the application for offending the
principle of the finality of the judgment of the court.

INEC’s
lawyer, Taminu Inuwa (SAN), took a neutral position by not opposing or
supporting the application.

Affirming
the court’s earlier judgment, Justice Ariwoola, who reproduced part of the
ruling of the apex court’s ruling, which dismissed APC’s application for the
review of the judgment on Bayelsa State, said the court lacked jurisdiction to
“alter or vary a judgment or an order after the delivery.

 “To
set aside the judgment in this circumstance is to open the floodgate for
applications by parties to review its judgments and this will, to say the
least, bring the court to disrepute and ridicule.

“In the
circumstance, this application is accordingly dismissed. Even though cost
follows event, parties are to follow, parties are to bear their costs.”

But in
his dissenting judgment, Justice Nweze held that the principle of finality of
the apex court’s judgment could not “extinguish the applicants’ right to fair
pronouncement of the court.”

He
affirmed the Court of Appeal’s decision, which upheld Ihedioha’s victory,
adding that the apex court in the January 14, 2020 judgment wrongly declared
Uzodinma winner of the last governorship election.

He
ordered Uzodinma to return the certificate of return issued to him by INEC.

Alluding
to various irregularities in the apex court’s January 14, 2020 judgment, he said,
“The reasoning in the judgment will sooner or later haunt our electoral
jurisprudence.”

He said
although his opinion was dissenting, “it is an appeal to the brooding spirit of
the law” which might be useful in the future review of the apex court’s decision
in the case.

‘Judgment, endorsement of electoral fraud’

 The Supreme Court had installed Hope Uzodinma
of the All Progressives Congress as the new governor of Imo State, after
declaring him the valid winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in
the state.

Displeased
with the turn of events, Ihedioha and the PDP approached the apex court,
seeking the reversal of the judgment.

The
panel was presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammad.

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