-Temple Okonji Esq
In all Democracies globally, and especially as Nigeria appears to be experimenting currently, the Constitution, and other relevant pieces of Legislations, regulate the entirety of the processes. And the roles of the Courts, are well defined and outlined in relation to the disputations associated therewith. And the ultimate positions of the Courts, and especially the Supreme Court, seal the process in legal challenge, not minding how offensive or apprehensive.
The controversies associated with the Governorship Election in Imo State have resisted to terminate, almost two years after the conclusions of the electoral process in elections and litigations. There are loads of grievances, complaints, and obviously manifest injustice therein ; real or perceived , in the circumstances. But the Supreme Court has, in it’s adjudicatory and interpretative wisdom, wielded the big judicial hammer, in the unending drama in litigations vide the judgement delivered in January 14, 2020.
First, the judgement of the Supreme Court which disqualified The Hon. Uche Nwosu, for double nominations , was delivered in December 19, 2019. Ordinarily, the import of this position of the Court was that, for all intents and purposes, the APC as a Political Party, remained disqualified. And in the eyes of the Law, the APC did not participate in the Governorship Election in Imo State as the Party had no candidate, following the judgement under review.
Fundamentally, it is the position of the Law as strengthened by the Supreme Court through a plethora of judgements and opinions and declarations, that in all causes or matters where the rights of another would be imperiled or jeopardized by the final outcome of the determination of that cause or matter, such other person (s) who would be so imperiled or jeopardized, must be joined in the cause or matter, as (a) necessary party (ies). Such non – compliance in joinder of all necessary parties in a cause or matter, invalidates such judgement, and further renders such judgement void, without consequence once challenged by the aggrieved person or party in the circumstances. This is the Law, simpliciter.
Going forward, it must be acknowledged that at the time of the judgement in the case of APP vs. The Hon. Uche Nwosu, The Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma was the candidate of the APC for the Governorship Election in Imo State ; and The Hon. Uche Nwosu was the candidate of the AA. This is the undiluted truth, and the incontrovertible fact in the count-down to the Governorship Election in Imo State as authenticated by the Electoral Umpire (INEC).
Yet again, the Electoral Umpire ( INEC ) had declared that the PDP and their Candidates, won the Governorship Election vide the announcement of the State Electoral Head or State Returning Officer. And this necessitated legal challenge through the Tribunal, the Court of Appeal, and ultimately to the Supreme Court. It should be observed, and acknowledged that the judgement of the Supreme Court against The Hon. Uche Nwosu was delivered during the pendency of the legal and judicial reviews associated with the electoral process.
Unfortunately, the APC and their Candidates, were not joined as necessary parties in the case leading to the challenge of the disqualification of The Hon. Uche Nwosu. The fatality of this non – compliance , should be understood.
Having lost at the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal in respect of the challenge of the outcome of the declarations of the PDP and their Candidates, the APC and their Candidates, filed successful appeals at the Supreme Court. Conclusively, the Supreme Court, in the wisdom of the majority of the Justices, upheld the arguments of the Appealants ( the APC and Uzodinma / Deputy ) as the winners of the Governorship Election in Imo State. This landmark judgement was delivered on January 14, 2020, leading to the administration of the Constitutional Oaths ; of Office and of Allegiance, on The Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma and his Deputy , on January 15, 2020 by the Chief Judge of Imo State.
Conclusively, the implications of the judgement of January 14 , 2020 were that : (1) The judgement of the Supreme Court delivered in December 19, 2019 remained invalidated( All Political Parties and their Candidates remained as they were prior to the judgement of December 19, 2019). (2) The declarations of the PDP and their Candidates, His Excellency, The Right Honourable Emeka Ihedioha, CON, and his Deputy, remained invalidated and voided. (3) All issues pertaining to the Governorship Election in Imo State have become foreclosed forever.(4) And the Governorship election calendar for Imo State , has become altered permanently, to be held differently on a date outside of the day and date for other States in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Let Constitutionalism and Truth and Imo State and Nigeria prevail always!
9News Nigeria (Owerri)
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