Emeka Ihedioha versus Hope Uzodinma [A Must Read]
By Christopher Okafor
Warning: I have not read the full text of the judgement. I tangentially followed the proceedings and have snippets of the facts and rulings. It is my opinion that the judgement is clearly a travesty.. and I am going to do a research paper on the judgement by way of case commentary. But for my readers I give you a teaser here now.
The fact as reported is that Senator Hope tendered during trial results in his favor from 388 poll units allegedly excluded from collation by INEC. The 388 poll units results were tendered through the police and in response, INEC disclaimed the result as not coming from it. It described the results as fake.
The tribunal admitted the results but refused to place reliance on it. It relied on the INEC results and testimony. The court of appeal by majority decision followed up the tribunal ruling. But the Supreme Court thought otherwise and included the result.
Let’s look at the law. S 15(f) of the constitution spelt out the power of INEC to organize, undertake and supervise elections. While S 214 of the constitution established the Nigerian police.
Down the road, the police Act in section 4 spelt out the duties of the police to include prevention and detection of crimes, protection of lives and properties, apprehension of offenders and prosecution of the offenders, enforcement of the laws and regulations.
It becomes clear that police duties does not involve organization and declaration of results… at best it’s electoral duties is limited to maintenance of order on the election days.
Thus, it’s the INEC that can organize and declare results. A fortiori, any result not declared by INEC is deemed fake. S 50 of the Evidence Act says that there is a presumption of regularity of an official act, Ogbuinyinya v Okudo.
Thus, the pronouncement of the INEC is presumed regular. Though the presumption is rebuttable but it should be done with credible, convincing and strong evidence.
Hence when Hope tendered the 388 result, the evidence showed that he was the only party to the election with the result. DSS, Civil defense, INEC and other party agents do not have the result purportedly excluded.
Thus, the strong, credible and convincing evidence required to rebut INEC result was lacking. The trial court saw this and refused to place reliance on it. But our technical Supreme Court included the result.
The court ought not to have relied on the evidence of the police against the evidence of the INEC. Police does not conduct election but INEC does.
This inverse rule of law started with the desperation of Amaechi in Rivers state in the case of George Sekibo v Uchendu where the court of appeal relied on police result as against INEC result to upturn Sekibo’s victory.
Must PMB practice all his crude politics on the south? Why are these perverse rulings not practiced up north?
Now see the farcical melodrama: By the inclusion of the result from 388 pool units, Hope’s vote increased while the other candidates remained static. Thus, the elections in the 388 units were conducted for Hope only.
Where are the 388 poll units located and what are their names? By PMB and Tanko’s magic, the candidate who came 4th and could not win a single house of assembly seat in the election has been declared winner?
I do recall the case of Ararume v Ugwu and others how Nikki Tobi JSC moaned:
‘How can PDP declare Engineer Ugwu that came 5th the candidate of PDP denying Ararume that came first the ticket? This is the kind of situation the Hausa man will shout Haba’.
Anyway, we await the law report to further research on this case. But from the snippets… it’s all farce and travesty.
In 2018, a friend of mine who was involved in the PDP party screening in Sokoto was told by a Fulani friend (both are reading this post now) that Hope has been anointed the governor of Imo state.
That whatever the result may be, Hope will eventually be declared governor. We doubted it. I doubted it.
In 2018, three months to the election, a lawyer friend of mine with strong connection to Katsina took me to presidential hotel in Port Harcourt. We met a scion of Katsina Emirate, a Fulani who told us to stop wasting our time and queue behind Hope because he had bent anointed as governor of Imo state.
I asked why and was told that one powerful person up north has been settled with Imo State. Settled? How? For what? I kept asking myself these questions but the answers that came to me made me queasy.
The state is supposed to be paying a particular amount of money to this northern powerful man every month while 50% of the IMO state contracts will be reserved for this man.
I had my doubts but the events are adding up to convince me. That lawyer friend of mine is from Oguta, he actually went for Hope. I couldn’t bring myself to support Hope. Why?
Now see my reasons. I know Hope. I had done a case against his company Smeic engineering. Hope refused to pay Ikoku traders who supplied parts to his company.
The amount was just 600k but Hope gave 1m to the police to deal with the boys. I did the case and I recovered the money. I ran away with a bad impression of the guy.
I did another case against the same company owned by Hope. He got a contract of over 3 billion in NDDC for shore protection. He sub-contracted it to a client , Chiteks ventures ltd.
My client did a job of about 190m with borrowed fund. Hope was paid 3b for doing nothing and he refused to pay my client a dime. Hope issued a cheque for the money which had bounced severally. The matter is before the police.
Hope had spent big sums of money on bribe to the police and EFCC but has refused to pay my client. My client has a judgement but Hope refused to bulge. I have another story of lady in a bank but for time constraint let’s leave it at that.
PMB knows of the character of Hope. Hope was pursued around for $12m contract scam in Calabar dredging contract… it’s still pending and the presidency knew about it. Yet, no one arrested and prosecuted Hope.
Instead PMB inflicted him on Imo State to settle a northerner. Maybe that settlement side is wrong but the way Hope defied gravity to be made Imo governor makes the story to ring true.
Well, I can only say that Imo will be worse off for it. Our allocation will be shared in Abuja. No meaningful project will be done. The OTOKOTO boys will bounce back.
The 419 boys will take over Imo State. The state will be further indebted and possibly RUGA will take root first in south east from Imo state. Folks! Imo is in the worst trajectory.
As for me? It is becoming clear that I will be long in Canada. It’s becoming possible that I will soon take my family out of that country.
It’s becoming possible that I will re-focus on my family and development in Canada! Time to shut out the shit hole out of my life.