The major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed concern that seven months after it applied to the Supreme Court to give effect to its judgment delivered on December 20 2019, which disqualified Uche Nwosu from participating in the March 9 2019 governorship election in Imo State on the ground of double nomination, the apex court is yet to list the application for hearing.
The Supreme Court had in a judgment delivered on December 20 2019 found that Nwosu was nominated by both Action Alliance (AA) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) and consequently nullified his nomination.
However, in another judgment delivered on January 14 2020 in SC/462/2019, the apex court without making reference to its earlier judgment referred to above declared Hope Uzodimma, the winner of the Imo State gubernatorial election on the platform of the same APC that had been found to nominate Nwosu.
As shown in the stamped copy of the application, the apex court, duly received the application on July 9, 2020 but it could not give any response as to why it has refused to list it for hearing.
But some analysts are raising questions whether any particular political party has the right according to the New Electoral Law (amended) to sponsor two candidates for the same office in the same election, which informed the decision of PDP to file an application at the Supreme Court, seeking that its candidate in the Imo State 2019 governorship election, Emeka Ihedioha, be declared winner since APC is precluded from sponsoring two candidates for one election.
In an affidavit filed in support of the application, which was deposed to by Adedamola Farokun, Esq, a legal practitioner, working in the legal department of the PDP, he averred thus: “The 3rd Respondent/Applicant (PDP) is neither in any way seeking a review of the valid, subsisting and well considered judgment of this court delivered in this appeal nor seeking a review of the judgment of this court delivered on January 14 2020 in SC/462/2019, but humbly seeking that this court gives effect to its judgment delivered on December 20 2019.
“That this court has the constitutional, inherent powers and jurisdiction to grant the reliefs sought and give effects to its judgment. That it is in the interest of justice for this court to exercise its wide discretionary powers in favour of granting this application as prayed.”
In the application filed on behalf of the PDP by Philip Umeadi, the party is asking the court to declare that Uzodimma was not the candidate of the APC based on the court’s judgment that both the APC and the AA nominated Nwosu.
PDP is also asking the court for an order enforcing or otherwise directing the enforcement and or giving effect to the judgment of the court in the case delivered on the December 20 2019, wherein the court held that Nwosu was nominated by both APC and AA and consequently declared his nomination a nullity.
PDP is asking of the Supreme Court to hold that: “both the AA and APC did not sponsor and/or field any candidate for the governorship election held in lmo State in 2019 in view of the double nomination of the Appellant/Respondent by two political parties afore said, and his subsequent disqualification as their gubernatorial candidate, as found by this honourable court in the judgment delivered on 20th December, 2019.”
The party also asked the court for an order sequel to the above that Uzodimma was not a candidate by himself or of any party at the Imo State governorship election held in March 2019.
PDP also asked the court for an order directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Governor Uzodimma.
It asked the court “for an order further directing the 4th respondent to issue a certificate of return to the gubernatorial candidate of the 3rd Respondent/Applicant, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ehedioha in the lmo State governorship election as the duly elected governor, having scored the second highest number of votes in the said election sequel to the judgment of this court in Appeal No SC/1462/2019 Hope Uzodinma & Anor vs Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha & Others delivered on 14th January,
The party further sought an order sequel to the above, directing that the said gubernatorial candidate of the 3rd Respondent/Applicant in the lmo State governorship election, lhedioha be immediately sworn in as the governor.
PDP stated the grounds for the application thus: The court found that the Appellant/Respondent was nominated by both APC and AA as their gubernatorial candidate for the lmo State governorship election and conclusively held that he was disqualified by the provisions of S. 37 of the Electoral Act (as amended), for double nomination. That after the said election, lhedioha, was returned by the 4th Respondent as the winner of the election and consequently sworn into office.
That subsequently, the return of the governorship candidate of the 3rd Respondent/Applicant was challenged up to this court by one senator Hope Uzodinma, who claimed to be the gubernatorial ‘candidate of the APC.’
That this court in its judgment delivered on 14th January 2020 held that it was the said Uzodinma and lhedioha that scored the highest number of votes in the election and ought to be returned as the duly elected governor of lmo.
“That by the clear terms of the judgment in this appeal, neither the AA nor the APC fielded any candidate for the lmo State governorship election held on March 9 2019 and as such Uzodinma could not have been returned as the winner of the election as a candidate of the APC. PDP also posited that APC could not have substituted the appellant with a view to further nominating Uzodinma as its candidate because that right was not available to the party under the Electoral Act.
It also claimed that Uzodimma could not have been a candidate in the election as an independent candidate, as such right is not available to him and that as the 3rd respondent Applicant, the PDP, as the main beneficiary of the judgment ought to enjoy the fruits of the judgment. It also states that lhedioha, who is the candidate nominated by the 3rd Respondent /Applicant, and who scored the second highest number of votes after Uzodinma, from the judgment of the court ought therefore to be issued a certificate of return by the 4th respondent and sworn in accordingly. It said such decision would advance the cause of justice to grant the application, particularly as none of the parties will be prejudiced by its grant.
Although the suit was filed on July 9 2020, the apex court is yet to consider it for hearing.
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