Supreme Court hears ihedioha and uzodinma lawyers arguments on imo review application

Supreme Court hears ihedioha and uzodinma lawyers arguments on imo review application

At the hearing of the application for review earlier on Tuesday, Emeka Ihedioha, through his lead counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), said the disputed judgment of January 14, 2020, was obtained by fraud.

Ascribing to fraud to the judgment, Agabi said Hope Uzodinma only tendered results in 366 polling units yet was awarded benefits of results in 388 polling units by the apex court.

He also queried why Uzodinma, who contended that the election was invalid and sought a rerun in the affected polling units, was declared the winner of the election he had condemned.

He said, “We are not here to challenge the supremacy of this court. We acknowledge the supremacy of this court. This court is supreme and your judgments are final.

“My lords, it as we go to God to change his mind that we have come to you to change your mind.

“It is better for those aggrieved to come to your lordships grumble than to grumble at home.”

On the allegation of fraud, he said, “At least 34 times, reference was made to 388 polling units where the respondents said their results were excluded.

“But they tendered results only in respect of 366, yet your lordships gave them credit for 388. That is giving them credit 22 polling units from nowhere.

“Contrary to all the precedents, the number of votes cast by their own computation exceeded the number of accredited voters in the election by over 129,000.

“They stigmatised the election as invalid. Being invalid how could it be the grounds upon which they are elected? If an election is invalid it should result in its nullification.

“From all our pleadings and what I have submitted, fraud is evident. If it is not fraud it is a fatal error.

“How does he do it. What magic is this? That is why it came under suspicion.

“He pleaded invalidity. He said elections should be conducted in 366. He said give me elections in 366 where his results were excluded.

“The import is that he gets a benefit for which he did not seek. He got benefits inconsistent with his pleadings.”

Agabi also argued that his client’s application was different from the one filed for review of the judgment on the Bayelsa State governorship election.

In the Supreme Court’s ruling, the panel of Justices awarded a record N30m cost against each of the senior lawyers, Chief Age Babalola (SAN) and Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), for filing the review application.

But Agabi said on Tuesday, “Our case is different from that of Bayelsa.

“In my upbringing when I was a child, my father would beat me to cry, he would also beat me to stop crying.

“We are crying and we have come before to you, do not do like my father did. Do not beat us like my father did.”

He urged the court to correct its error in the January 14, 2020 judgment “so that your mistakes are immortalised.”

He urged the court to restore the verdict of the Court of Appeal, which had affirmed Ihedioha’s victory at the poll.

Responding, Uzodinma’s lawyer, Damien Dodo (SAN), urged the apex court to dismiss Ihedioha’s application for being incompetent and lacking in merit.

He said, “The thrust of this objection is that there is a total lack of jurisdiction to revisit its judgment of January 14, 2020.

“Whether the application is characterised as an application for review or classified as an application to set aside or howsoever dressed or clothed, this court had consistently and rightly so, held that there is a lack of jurisdiction to sit in appeal over its judgment. This was recently restated in Ugba Vs Suswam 2014.”

He said there was no error or slip “that appears not to reflect the true intention of the court in the judgment” to warrant a review.

Citing Order 8 Rule 16 of the Supreme Court rules which stipulates the exceptional circumstances where the court could set aside its judgment, Dodo said, “There is no doubt as to the intention of the court. Therefore, the invitation for review is not tenable.

“The judgment was categorical and explicit. You want to ask for a review as if the court did not think through the judgment before it was delivered.

“The sanctity of this court must be respected. The application should be dismissed because there is no jurisdiction.”

He said regardless of how the application was couched, it was an invitation for the apex court to sit in appeal over its judgment of January 14, 2020 “which the law does not allow”.

While Dodo was silent on the issue of the number of polling units said to have been excluded from the results, he maintained that the issue of asking for conflicting prayers did not arise.

Dodo added that “A party is entitled to rely on the relief that best addresses his grievances,”.

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