Nigeria’s Electoral Commission, INEC, has reacted to the supreme court’s judgment on Tuesday, which nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor of Imo State.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how, on Tuesday, a seven-member panel of the apex court, led by Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad, declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the March 9 governorship election in the state.
The court then ordered that the certificate of return wrongly or unlawfully issued to Mr lhedioha be immediately withdrawn by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and a fresh one issued to Mr Uzodinma as the elected governor of the state.
An INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, in response to PREMIUM TIMES enquiry, on Wednesday, said the commission is constitutionally and legally bound to give effect to the judgement and orders of the Supreme Court.
He noted that INEC would issue a certificate of return as soon it receives the order of the court.
”The judgement of the Supreme Court is final and the commission is not empowered to question or debate the propriety of the judgement or orders of the Supreme Court.
”As a public institution, we are constitutionally and legally bound to give effect to the judgements and orders of the Supreme Court. The commission will give effect to the judgement of the court the moment we receive the enrolled order of the court and will issue the candidate the requisite Certificate of Return,” Mr Okoye said.
The case between Mr Uzodinma and Mr Ihedioha was among six governorship election appeals the apex court had proposed to decide on, but that of Kano and Bauchi states were adjourned to Monday while the date for Bauchi, Benue and Plateau state will be communicated later.
In the unanimous judgment of the seven-member panel, read by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the apex court agreed that results in 388 polling units were unlawfully excluded during the collation of the final governorship election result in Imo State.
Justice Kekere-Ekun said with the addition of the results from 388 polling units, Mr Uzodinma polled a majority of the lawful votes and ought to have been declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The judge did not provide the details of the new votes scored by each of the candidates after the addition of the results from the 388 polling units.
She voided and set aside the declaration of Mr lhedioha as the winner of the 2019 governorship election in the South-East state.
The court also ignored Uche Nwosu of Action Alliance (AA), who polled a total of 190,364 votes to clinch the second position, because, it had declared Mr Nwosu an invalid candidate for the election.