The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, has affirmed the victory of Emeka Ihedioha in the March 9 governorship election in Imo.
The appeals were filed against the judgment of the Imo Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which upheld the election of Ihedioha.
It includes that of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and his governorship candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume; Action Alliance (AA) and his governorship candidate, Uche Nwosu and that of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Hope Uzodinma.
The appellants asked the appellate court to void the election of Ihedioha on the grounds that he did not obtain the constitutional one-quarter of the votes in at least two-thirds of the 27 local government areas of the state, in line with Section 179 of the Constitution.
In their various submissions by their counsels, the appellants prayed the court to set aside the decision of the tribunal and declare them winners.
Also in the alternative, the court should order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election into the office of Governor of Imo.
In a unanimous judgment, the five-man panel presided by Justice Oyebisi Omoyele dismissed the appeal by the Action Alliance and it’s candidate, Uche Nwosu for lack of merit and upheld the judgment of the lower tribunal.
It also awarded a cost of N500, 000 against the appellants.
The panel in upholding the judgment of the lower tribunal said the assessment of the tribunal was thorough.
In Senator Hope Uzodinma’s appeal, there was a dissenting judgment in the ratio 4:1 Four members agreed that the appeal lacks merit, and in addition awarded a cost of N500, 000 against the appellants, while a member saw merit in the appeal and ordered that the judgment of the lower court be set aside. It also awarded a cost of N1million against PDP and Ihedioha.
In Ifeanyi Ararume’s appeal, the court dismissed it for the inability of the appellants to prove their allegations against the respondents. The panel affirmed the judgment of the lower tribunal and awarded a cost of N500, 000 against the appellants.
The three-member panel of the tribunal had in a unanimous decision delivered on September 21, held that Ihedioha was lawfully declared winner of the governorship election by INEC.
The panel chaired by Justice Malami Dongondaji, dismissed Ararume, Nwosu and Uzodinma’s petitions for lacking in merit on the grounds that they failed to prove allegations made in their petitions.
The petitioners claimed that Ihedioha did not obtain the constitutional one-quarter of the votes in at least two-thirds of the 27 local government areas of the state, in line with the provisions of the law.