The Supreme Court Judgement of January 14, 2020 is arguably, one that many Nigerians will never forget in a hurry. The removal of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha from office as the Executive Governor of Imo State came to many as a shuck. Since then, many of his supporters have fasted and prayed that a miracle could happen and he returns to Douglas House. However, these hopes were dashed when attempts to get the Supreme Court review her judgment failed.
Following the failed attempts to review the judgment, Senator Hope Uzodinma assumed office as the new Governor of the State. Since then, many are yet to come to terms with the fact that Senator Hope Uzodinma who finished in a distant 4th according to the results declared by INEC is now their own Governor. However, a year later, it is my opinion that Hon. Emeka Ihedioha could be set to be set to be restored as the Governor of Imo State.
While many could be wondering how possible it could be for Ihedioha to be restored as Governor a year after he was removed from office by the Supreme Court, it is no longer news that there is a suit filed by one Chief Phillip Umeadi (SAN), challenging the Supreme Court to enforce her own Judgment on APC’s primary election for the March 2019 Imo State Governorship election. It can be recalled that it is the same Supreme Court that declared Uche Nwosu as the authentic candidate of the APC for the said election, leaving Senator Hope Uzodinma as no candidate for the election.
It can also be recalled that Uche Nwosu was also disqualified by the Supreme Court for having both the nomination of two political parties for the same election which by its implications, disqualified both parties (APC and AA) from the March 2019 Imo State Governorship election. With this, the issue of APC’s candidacy for the election can be argued to have been settled, thereby, leaving APC with no candidate for the election.
Although the election has been conducted before the judgement on the suit to determine who was duly nominated as APC’s candidate was delivered, but with reference to the 2007 suit between Celestine Omehia and Rotimi Amaechi of then PDP in Rivers State, it can be recalled that Celestine Omehia was removed from office as Governor some months after he was sworn in after he lost his candidacy to Rotimi Amaechi. As such, it may not be out of order to argue that the name of Senator Hope Uzodinma may have appeared on the ballot papers, but he however, lost his candidacy to Uche Nwosu at the Supreme Court.
Unlike in the case of Celestine Omehia and Rotimi Amaechi where the recognised candidate assumed office as the Governor, Uche Nwosu has been disqualified, leaving room for the next candidate with the highest number of valid votes cast in the election to be sworn in as the Governor of the State. With this in mind, coupled with the decision of the Supreme Court to hear the suit brought before it by Chief Phillip Umeadi (SAN), it is my opinion that Emeka Ihedioha could be restored as the Governor of Imo State a year after he was removed by the Supreme Court. However, this time, not based on the judgement that sacked him initially, but as the next candidate with the highest number of valid votes.