Being text of a press conference by a coalition of Civil Society Organisations on January 26 in Abuja.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria on 14th of January, 2020 delivered a judgement that removed Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as the Governor and declared Senator Hope Uzodinma as the Governor of Imo State.
2.THE EXISTENCE OF 2 DIFFERENT JUDGEMENTS OF THE SUPREME COURT ON THE SAME CASE:
On 14th January 2020, the Supreme Court in open Court gave judgement in the Imo State Governorship Appeal. However, unlike the other cases, it gave reasons for its judgement. It did not reserve another date to give reasons. The respondents were shocked when they approached the court for a copy of the judgement delivered in open court which lasted less than 10minutes on that day and contained in about 6 pages, only to be given a judgement of 46 pages on 22nd January, totally different from the one read on 14th January. It was a full and final judgement on 14th January. The 22nd January judgement unsuccessfully tried to cover up loopholes observed by Nigerians following their outcry and condemnation of the judgement by both local and international community.
The danger which this judgement released now in the CTC poses is that after the judgement delivered in open court the Court went ahead and raised new legal issues and determined them to suit its resultant orders. These new legal issues and reasoning were not pronounced in open court.
The judgment read in open Court only considered the evidence of the Policeman (PW54), but the text now released has included other witnesses including PW12 – PW34, PW11 and PW51.
This is unprecedented in Nigeria’s judicial history. We have the audio recording of that judgement and the transcript which we shall release shortly. It is outright fraud, fake and judicial corruption. No wonder Nigeria’s anti-corruption index continues to fall in the transparency international ratings in-spite of anti-corruption efforts of the Federal Government. This judgement will go down in infamy and may make Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of Nations, if not reversed.
It is unprecedented for the Supreme Court to manipulate or doctor its own judgement to cover its tracks.
This new judgement was not given in open court and not in the presence of the parties as required by S.36 (3) of the Constitution.
This effort by the Supreme Court to manipulate its own judgement is unnecessary and may be futile as it failed to explain why total votes cast as it allocated to only 2 parties is still more than the total accredited votes by 129,340 on the face of the record on Form EC8D , accepted by all the parties and even also tendered and relied on by Senator Hope Uzodinma.
3.THE ISSUE OF SPREAD:
Section 179(2b) of the Constitution is clear that to be declared elected as Governor a candidate must have not only the majority of total votes cast but also ¼ of the votes in 2/3 of the Local Governments of the State.
It is axiomatic that nowhere in the petition or evidence did the Petitioner/Appellant, Hope Uzodinma claim that he met the constitutional requirement of spread to be declared the winner. He only claimed it in the reliefs without any supporting pleadings or evidence. It is one of the wonders of the world that the Supreme Court declared him winner without any evidence of spread. There was no breakdown of the total votes illegally added to him and no tally of votes for each candidate that contested the election.
Where did the Supreme Court find the evidence that the Appellant satisfied all Constitutional requirements to be Governor and what was the quantum of votes it allocated to the Appellant on a local government by local government basis?
In recent times, since after the return to democracy in Nigeria, the Courts have declared Oshiomole of Edo State, Mimiko of Ondo State, Fayemi of Ekiti State, Aregbesola of Osun State and Peter Obi of Anambra state as winners of Governorship elections, as against the candidates declared by INEC. In all those judgments, the Court expressly stated the votes by which those candidates won and the scores of all the candidates that contested the election after exhaustive re-computation exercises. Those decisions were given by the Court of Appeal.
Senator Hope Uzodinma did not prove entitlement to the reliefs sought by cogent, credible and sufficient evidence. The relief granted to him by the Supreme Court was based on nothing and therefore should be a nullity.
4.UPTURNING OF SETTLED LEGAL JURISPRUDENCE OVER THE YEARS:
The Supreme Court judgement overthrew all known legal and electoral jurisprudence and settled principles as applied in other election cases. Such principles as the Burden of Proof, documentary hearsay, admissibility and weight attached to documents came under severe assault and the law seem to have been turned on its head. The onus of proof does not easily move especially for declaratory actions. In this case, the Supreme Court is saying that the onus shifted to the respondent to prove the validity of the election when there was no credible and admissible evidence to rebut the presumptions of law that enures in favour of INEC.
The Supreme Court adopted the correct reasoning in the recent Bauchi, Sokoto, Abia cases etc. it was only in Imo that the burden shifted based on inadmissible and unproven facts.
The Judgement delivered by the Supreme Court did not take into account the evidence adduced by the parties at the trial.
There is no material reference in the Supreme Court judgement to any page or parts of the record and evidence of the parties.
The Supreme Court unsettled well established principles of evaluating evidence. The Supreme Court treated the painstaking evaluation of evidence made by the trial tribunal and concurred to by the Court of Appeal in a cavalier and whimsical manner. The trial court saw and heard the witnesses of the Petitioner/ Appellant, observed their demeanour and ruled them out as not credible. It is the trial Court receives evidence, not the appellant Courts. They perceive the evidence and attach weight or importance to it.
The Petitioner/ Appellant had the burden to establish that election indeed took place at the 388 polling units by calling requisite witnesses, since the fact of holding of election in those units had been put in issue.
There was no basis to presume that election took place at the 388 Polling Units on account of production of results which the Respondents contended were false. The 3rd Respondent being the electoral body rejected the results as suborned and thus the issue of presumption of regularity did not arise for the fake results. Indeed, their lordships of the Court of Appeal found that the results were not authenticated. Likewise the Court of Appeal agreed with the Tribunal that Sen. Uzodinma did not discharge the burden placed on him and accordingly the burden did not shift to Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihediohaand other Respondents .
5.PETITIONER’S WITNESSES AND THEIR TESTIMONIES:
In its Judgment, the Supreme Court unfortunately relied heavily on the testimony of PW54 (Rabiu Hussein) a Deputy Commissioner of Police and the results tendered by him marked Exhibits PPP1-PPP366 in holding that Hope Uzodinma scored the majority of lawful votes in the Imo State Governorship Election and declaring him winner of the election.
The judgement further posited that:
“A careful perusal of the appellants’ pleading reveals that they did not, at any stage challenge the holding of elections in any polling unit.”
The tendering of Exhibits PPP1 – PPP366 through PW54 was to show that the scores recorded therein were excluded from the forms EC8B (ward collation results). It is also to be reiterated that PW54 was summoned by the court to produce and tender the documents.
The Supreme Court further held:
“I am of the view and I do hold that the burden of proof was misplaced, as a result of which the bulk of the evidence relied upon by the appellants was disregarded by the two lower courts. The evidence of PW11 and PW51 were rejected on the ground that they were unable to prove any anomalies in the 388 polling units. The appellants did not plead or base their claims on any anomalies in the polling units”, the Court said.
We as Civil Society Organisations cannot overrule the Supreme Court. We cannot claim to know more law than the Supreme Court. But as citizens the judgment read by the Supreme Court did not accord with common sense and did not seem to meet the ends of justice. The decision of the Tribunal seem to meet better the justice of the case.
If one may ask, how could the exclusion of a result be decided if there is no evidence that that is the valid result, and how could a valid result be established without evidence of those who were there to state that there were elections held and that the document being tendered in court is the valid result? Indeed, the Tribunal had addressed and ruled on this point. (page 111 of the Tribunaljudgement):
“It is only when the election is validly conducted at the polling unit that the issue of exclusion of results can then be said to arise at the ward level. We are therefore in agreement with the learned counsel for the respondents that proof of the holding of election at the polling unit by the appropriate eye witnesses i.e. the polling unit agents or presiding officers constitutes the foundation for the assertion of a legal right against improper cancellation or exclusion of votes ….”
The Tribunal further asked on page 113 of its judgement:
“So how can the petitioners prove this unlawful exclusion of results in the said 388 polling units, the results of which were said to have been excluded by the 3rd respondent, if the polling unit agents of the stated polling units were not called to testify as to the fact that election did take place in their respective polling units, results in FORM EC8A produced which eventually was excluded at the ward collation.”
The Supreme Court held that the Appellants’ results were not proven to be fake, yet, in many instances during trial, it was shown that all the few results identified by a few the polling units agents were signed by only agents of APC despite the agents stating that other polling unit agents signed; a polling unit agent called by thePetitioner/ Appellant, even confessed that he wrote the result himself; polling units results as brought by the Petitioner/ Appellant were demonstrated to have contained dates earlier in time than the date of the election and in all the polling units results, without exception, the columns for accounting for ballot papers as per total number of ballots, total number of used ballot, total number of unused ballot, total number of cancelled votes, etc., were blank without exception. Petitioner/ Appellant himself stated under cross – examination that the results were illegible, to avoid answering questions on result sheets that only contained entry of scores for APC and PDP whereas 70 political parties contested. There were duplicate copies that had fresh and original INEC stamps in instances where there were stamps, and the most instances without the name of INEC officials. Some of the Appellants’ witnesses resorted to claiming eye sight impairments and illegibility of results when asked for name of presiding officers. All these are contained in the records, and those facts informed the decision of the trial Tribunal which observed the demeanor of the witnesses and examined the Exhibits during trial. Yet, the Supreme Court held that the genuineness of these results was not impugned.
A particular polling agent stated that even though he could not read the result he brought to court, the court should read same on his behalf and utilize it. Was this what the Apex court did, and if it was, why did it not expressly state so in its judgement?
Why also didn’t the Apex court, if it truly considered the evidence, expressly state the results proven by each individual exhibit so as to tabulate the scores and give a firm figure by which it declared a winner.
On the issue of Whether elections were held in the 388 units or whether the results from there was cancelled or excluded:
In the first place, a careful perusal of the petition will show that the petitioner, Sen Hope Uzodinmahimself pleaded that the 388 polling unit results were CANCELLED not just that it was excluded as decided by the Supreme Court. This is shown clearly from the Table of Registered Voters in the 388 units in the petition which the petitioner claimed was 252,452 votes.
He claimed on page 30 of his petition that “THE TOTAL NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS IN THE CANCELLED AREAS IS 252,452! . THE PETITIONER SHALL RELY ON THE REGISTER OF VOTERS FOR THE CANCELLED UNITS…” It is pertinent and important to note that the same figure of 252, 452 is exactly the number of Registered voters in the Petitioner ‘s Table of Registered voters, votes scored by APC and PDP in the 388 units on pages 9 -27 of the Petition. He also claimed inconsistently that his votes from these 388 units were excluded from computation after claiming that they were cancelled.This means that he admitted in his own words and pleadings that the 388 units were cancelled by INEC!.
The Petitioner continued:
The petitioners aver that the Returning Officer did not call for polls to be taken in the excluded or wrongly cancelled unitsbefore he returned the 1st Respondent as the winner of the election. The 3rdRespondent ought to conduct supplementary election where as in this case, the number of registered voters in the units where the results were not reckoned with or were purportedly cancelled was higher substantially than the difference between the scores of the 1stRespondent and the 1st Petitioner who was next to him in the wrong computation upon which the 1st Respondent was declared”.
Please can the Supreme Court tell us why it ignored this aspect of the pleading of the petitioner himself and restricted themselves to the issue of exclusion in spite of the contradictions in the Petitioners pleadings.
It is thus clear that issues were joined as to the holding of the election itself, inspite of the manufacturing of the fake results, and the Supreme Court seem to be clearly in error to have decided that it is only exclusion of votes that was in issue.
The testimony of PW54, DCP Rabiu Hussain at the Tribunal:
His testimony was relied on heavily by the Supreme Court to reach its perverse verdict.
He testified in the Tribunal as follows:
“In Exhibit NNN1 to NNN18, (subpoena) I was asked to produce 388 Forms EC8As retrieved by the Police Officers. I have some of the FORMS. I don’t have 388 FORMS. The total number I brought is 368 and I cannot lay my hands on 20 FORMS”.
“I didn’t tabulate the scores in Exhibit PPP1 to PPP166 (366?).
I didn’t observe the entries in any of them.
I didn’t go through Exhibits PPP1 to PPP166 (366) because Police are not interested in the scores of the parties”.
“I am surprised that the number of forms I tendered are not up to the number I told the Hon. Tribunal”.
“I cannot know whether there are mutilations or tampering in Exhibit PPP1 to PPP366.”
Furthermore “The PW54 in his evidence under cross-examination at pages 2599-2600 of the Record of Appeal said inter alia:
“There could be presiding officers but I do not know them. In respect of this 366 Polling Units there could be presiding officers but I don’t know them. I did not receive any of these FORMS from any presiding officer. I don’t know all the polling units these 366 FORMS relate to …….
I did not personally collect any of these exhibits PPP1 – PPP366. The said Exhibits were received by our administrative officer and all of them are still alive. They are the ones to testify as to who brought the said documents and when they were brought. I did not tabulate the scores in exhibits PPP1-PPP166 (sic) I did not observe any entries in any of them. I was the one who sorted the documents out exhibit PPP1 to PPP166 (sic) one by one. I did not go through exhibits PPP1 to PPP 166(sic) because police are not interested in the scores of the parties. Exhibits PPP1 to PPP166 were bolded(sic) by me for the purpose of delivery. Officers do not sign before they collect result sheets ….Tribunal, Exhibits PPP1 to PPP366 (sic) were not directly submitted to me I cannot mention the name of the officers and the polling units they worked. I cannot know whether there are mutations or tampering in exhibits PPP1 to PPP366. When I was posted out of Imo State other officers remained and continue the work I was doing. Exhibits PPP1 to PPP366 are the result handed to me by the admin officer as the results from the polling units”.
The Court of Appeal reacted to this evidence and said: “This witness is clearly and completely ignorant about the contents of these Exhibits… These exhibits were directly in the custody of PW54. The genuineness of these Exhibits were in doubt before the Tribunal. The PW54 is not the maker of Exhibits PPP1 to PPP366. He was not present when they were made. The witness also cannot answer any of the question in respect to these Exhibits PPP1 to PPP366. From the foregoing, it is certain that the decision of the trial Tribunal to expunge Exhibits PPP1-PPP366 from the evidence cannot be faulted”.
Our Comment and Analysis of PW54 Testimony:
The record of Court only showed that 366 FORMS EC8As (not 368 and definitely not 388) were admitted in evidence and marked as Exhibits PPP1 to PPP366. These conflicting figures of 366, 368, or 388 Forms make his evidence completely unreliable.
The above evidence of PW54, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, did not say what each candidate scored or the figures.
PW54 did not give evidence with regards to 388 polling units. PW54 did not tender results from each of the 388 polling units.He merely dumped it on the Tribunal in Ghana Must Go bags.
PW54 stated in his testimony that he did not know the contents of Exhibits PPP1 to PPP366, or PPP1 to PPP388 or any of the forms whatever the number.
PW54 did not testify that results from 366, or 368 or 388 polling units were excluded.
If, from the Certified True Copy of the evidence/testimony of PW54 which the Supreme Court relied upon to give its final judgement, there is no evidence of the votes scored in Exhibits PPP1 to PPP366, or PPP1 to 368 or 388 where did the Supreme Court get the 213,695 votes it added to the scores of Hope Uzodinma?.
And from where did the Supreme Court get the evidence that results from 388 polling units were excluded when PW54 testified that he brought only 366 or 368 FORMS EC8As. Since 366 and not 388 FORMS were eventually found to be dumped by DCP Rabiu Hussaini, where did the Supreme Court get the figure of 388 unit FORMSand 213,695 votes it added to Hope Uzodinma? Or did the Supreme Court merely copy the pleadings of Hope Uzodinma and regarded it as evidence? It is trite Law that averment in pleadings or Address of Counsel cannot take the place of evidence?.
From the 20 or 22 EC8As forms PW54 admitted that he omitted to tender at the Tribunal from the 388 he was subpoenared to produce, how many votes did it contain for each candidate? What is the spread? These are questions the Supreme Court must answer, since their judgment did not cover these issues and contain unbelievable gaps.
It is obvious that the Supreme Court relied only on the submission of Sen Hope Uzodinma’ Counsel without any reference to the records of proceedings of the Tribunal/Court of Appeal or otherwise, it would have realised that even though Hope Uzodinma claimed 388 polling units, he only dumped 366 discredited polling units results through the Police, yet the Supreme Court unilaterally credited him with figures from the 388 units which figures did not remove the 20 or even 22 polling units that were in fact not tendered or dumped before the tribunal.
The Supreme Court judgement was erroneously premised on 388 polling units results when indeed only 366 polling units’ results were admitted in the Tribunal before being expunged on very solid grounds by both the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal. We may never know the impact the exclusion of the results from the 20 or 22 units by the Supreme Court based on its own perverse findings could have had on the scores of each candidate or spread of votes.
6.INEC POSITION AND TESTIMONY:
Furthermore, it is patently wrong for the Supreme Court to say that INEC said nothing about the concocted 388 polling unit Results.
Firstly, INEC in its pleadings made it clear in 7, paragraphs 18-26 particularly (c), (f) & (g) as follows:
“(c)The 3rd Respondent did not omit to record and reckon with votes due to the Petitioners as alleged or at from any table set out in the said Petition and any such showing results are fictitious and suborned…
(f) The tables drawn and shown by the Petitioners as containing the purported accurate results from the various polling units are incorrect and the 3rd Respondent further states that it did not exclude the results of the Petitioners…
(g) Furthermore, the 3rd Respondent states that in some instances with respect to the table under reference, despite the fact that election was cancelled based on irregularities in some polling units, the Petitioners proceeded to alter the results of voting at the polling units with unofficial, illicit and contrived Form EC8A. Some of the affected polling units were”.
Indeed, an INEC official, the Head of Logistics testified in the Tribunal as DW5, on Subpoena directed to the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Imo State, or any of his staff. He brought the following documents:
(a) List of Presiding Officers for the 9th March, 2019 Election.
(b) FORMS EC40G in respect of some polling units where election did not hold or were cancelled (mostly the 388 units in contention).
The INEC witness further testified that “where election is cancelled the appropriate form to be used is FORM EC40G and that such cancelled results cannot form part of results announced at the end of the election”.
INEC produced FORM EC 40G as exhibit D2RI-R27, to prove that elections did not hold or was cancelled in the 388 units.
The relevant question is how did the Supreme Court ignore this relevant testimony from INEC and claimed that INEC offered no response?
The question is: where are those agents from the 366 or 388 polling units and why were they not called?. The law is settled that only polling officers, polling unit agents and registered voters at a particular unit can give admissible evidence with respect to what transpired at each polling unit. This is the consistent decision of the Supreme Court in all other cases.
Attention is drawn to a particular contradiction which was common to the evidence of all the 28 Polling Unit agents that were called and badly discredited.
In the review of evidence, the Tribunal concluded that there was no credible evidence to justify the votes claimed by the Petitioner/Appellants, a position affirmed on appeal. All the 28 Polling Unit agents of APC without exception confirmed that no other polling unit agents signed on the Forms tendered by them, despite stating under Oath that they signed alongside other witnesses. Under cross-examination, as the records will show, the said Polling Unit agents including PW10, PW52 and PW53 stated that they were not the first Polling Unit agents to sign results and that many agents signed before them. Also, when asked to identify other signatures, to avoid speaking the truth that there were no other signatures and to further confirm that these witnesses were untruthful witnesses, they claimed that they could not read because the entries were not legible or not clear. Only APC agents signed the 388 or 366 forms. Justifiably, the Court of Appeal and the trial Tribunal concurred in their finding that the witnesses were thoroughly discredited. The question which now arises is: if the results relied on by the Petitioners/Appellants were indeed not legible through the eyes of their own witness, on what basis can any arbiter credit them with the results which they tabulated in their petition?
Evidence of PW11 , Sen Hope Uzodinma:
When cross-examined as to the veracity of the Table of 388 Results and the evidence, PW11 that is, Senator Hope Uzodinma, not only contradicted his own case, but confirmed that over voting is replete in the Table of results he was relying on to be declared winner.. He testified thus:
At page 100 of my deposition at serial No. 69 the vote I scored is 819 and the column for registered voters in the polling unit is 462.
At page 110 serial No 285, the registered votersis 449 and the No. of votes scored by APC is 780.
So Hope Uzodinma by his own testimony admitted that there was over voting in his own petition..
A perusal of the Table submitted by Hope Uzodinma to the Tribunal on the 388 polling units in question shows how ridiculous the Supreme Court decision is.
The table shows that Hope Uzodinma’s APC scored an average of 95% votes in those 388 units. The general percentage he scored in the rest of the results during the election is 12%. Indeed, to make matters worse, there were many instances where the votes scored was more than the registered voters.
i.Note No. 69 on the table, where registered voters was 492; APC scored 819 votes; PDP 7. That is 334 voters more than registered voters, not to talk of accredited voters which is much lower, though not stated in the Table.
ii.Note no 377 on the table, where registered voters was 367; APC scored 367; PDP 4. That is 4 voters more than registered voters, not to talk of accredited voters which is significantly lower, though not stated in the Table.
iii.Note no. 384 on the table, where registered voters was 526; APC scored 526; PDP 2. That is 2 voters more than registered voters, not to talk of accredited voters which is significantly lower, though not shown in the Table.
iv.Note no. 282 on the table, where registered voters was 591; APC scored 586; PDP 9. That is 4 voters more than registered voters, not to talk of accredited voters which is significantly lower, though not stated or shown in the petition.
v.Note no 285 on the table, where registered voters was 449; APC scored 780; PDP 4. That is 335 voters more than registered voters, not to talk of accredited voters which is significantly lower, though not stated.
vi.Note that Hope Uzodinma’s APC scored an average of 95% in the 388 units, whereas he scored an average of 12% in the remaining units in the state!!
vii.Note further that Sen. Hope Uzodinma’s table of results from 388 polling units , did not have any scores for any other political party, such as APGA, AA, Accord etc. indeed, there were 70 political parties that contested the election. Did the 68 other parties not have even agents or ward officers that voted?
viii.This is the highest form of criminality which should actually send the authors to jail, in a civilised democracy!. Yet our almighty Supreme Court endorsed it.
During the hearing when Sen. Hope Uzodinma was cross-examined as PW11, he agreed that the votes in his own petition did not add up.
7.SUPREME COURT COMPUTATION OF VOTES AND ACCREDITATION:
The pertinent INEC document before the Tribunal is INEC form EC8D. The CTC of FORM EC8D, shows that :
The Total No. of Accredited voters at the election is 823,743.
Total votes cast during the election is 739,435.
Total rejected votes, 25,130.
Total valid votes cast at the election for all the parties was 714,355.
However, the Supreme Court added 213,695 votes to Hope Uzodinma of APC from the fake 388 units and 1,903 votes to PDP, thereby making the total votes scored at the election to be 953,083.
This is far above the Accredited voters clearly shown in the FORM EC8D before the Tribunal as 823,743. So a whopping 129,340 votes cannot be accounted for by the Supreme Court decision.
The question is, how can the Supreme Court declare more votes than accredited votes?. This raises an impossible and ridiculous situation. This is an avoidable slip that should be re-visited.
Note, that there is no challenge on the accredited number of voters either in the petition or evidence by any witnesses. Indeed, Sen. Uzodinma besides the inconsistencies was categorical that the Table in both the petition and their Witness Statement on Oath did not show the number of accredited voters in each of the 388 polling units allegedly excluded.
This instigates the inquiry of how valid votes can ever be computed in the absence of a clear record of the number of accredited voters. This will show whether over voting occurred which is the bench-mark for validity of votes. Where this is not the case, it shows that Section 49 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) was not contemplated in the sham 388 alleged polling unit results.
Mathematics is a precise science, particularly in the circumstances where a specific score for which the Petitioners/Appellants hinge their reliefs on was pleaded with supporting mathematical Tables presented. Such that, the incorrectness of the said Table by itself disentitles them to the reliefs claimed. This is more so that by paragraph 9 of the Petition, appearing at page 2 of the record, it is stated that 70 political parties contested the election, but the Tables presented in the Petition and in the testimonies of PW 11 and PW51 contain only the alleged scores of two political parties, APC and PDP; and which said alleged scores in multiple instances exceeded the allegedly stated number of registered voters. On what basis then, can any Tribunal act on these clearly fallacious testimonies to grant the reliefs sought by Sen Uzodinma?
Furthermore, even though Appellants pleaded exclusion at Ward Collation centres, but as clearly shown above and as rightly found by the Tribunal and affirmed by the Appeal Court, they did not field a single Ward Collation agent as a witness.
8.DEMAND / REQUEST:
In the light of the above facts, we are sad to notethat the Supreme Court by the casual treatment of this matter has denied the people of Imo State the opportunity to chose their Governor. Their democratic voice has been silenced. The exposure of the contents of the fake 388 unit results relied upon by the Supreme Court to install Sen Hope Uzodinma, the Governor of Imo State has also assaulted the sensibility of many Nigerians and occasioned grave miscarriage of justice.
However, we sympathise with their Lordships, as mortals who are not infallible. To err is human. It would be practically impossible for any human to have read the Briefs and record of proceedings exceeding 5000 pages in the matter within 2hours after hearing, when it also had pressure of time to deliver judgment in the remaining pending governorship appeals. No doubt this accounted for the mistakes made by the Supreme Court in this matter.
The Supreme Court is supreme and can creatively reinvent its own rules to do justice. It is necessary do so now more than ever to save Nigerian Democracy, constitutionalism and retrieve the judicial and justice system from its present opprobrium.
We therefore, call on Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha to approach the Supreme Court to correct thepatent errors in their judgment to ensure that justice is not only done but manifestly seen to be done. We also urge the Supreme Court to take courage and recall the Imo State Governorship matter and correct the error and restore justice, peace, hope and faith in our democracy and regain the confidence of the Nigerian people.
Our allies have submitted and we adopt same that the Supreme Court is left with no other option than to review and reverse this anomaly, even if it means applying a Judicial Doctrine of Necessity (borrowing from the intervention of the National Assembly, when Nigeria was in a big fix). The confidence of Nigerians in the Judiciary is at the lowest and we believe that the Supreme Court can help to restore it and save future elections. This is the time to apply the famous dictum:
“Justice must be rooted in confidence and confidence is destroyed when right-minded people go away thinking: The Judge is biased.”
- Comrade Umar Farouk, Transparency Centre Network.
- Baba Nagari, Movement for the Protection of Peoples Rights.
- Adams Otakwe, Coalition for Good Governance and Accountability.
- Musa Abdullahi, Network for Freedom and Defence of Democracy.
- Bassey Ewa, Center for Human Rights and Justice,
- Comrade Paul, Human Rights and Accountability Project
- Baba Ali, Rights Monitoring Network;
(8)Queen Onwughalu- Association of African Writers on Human and People Rights(AFRIRIGHTS);
(9)Lucy Oparago- Youths for Electoral Transparency (YFET);
(10) Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko; HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
- Ariyo-Dare Atoye
Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution
- Deji Adeyanju
- Alex Obisesan
Adopt A Goal Initiative
- Raphael Adebayo
Free Nigeria Coalition
- Dr Manzo Abubakar Abuja Discussion Group
- Enantomhen Andrew
The Credible Watch Nigeria
- Mustapha Abubakar
Centre for Integrity and Patriotism
- David Babangida Inusa
Alliance for Credible Polls and Leadership