The Imo State political landscape, is presently embroiled in numerous litigations, from the High Court level up to the Supreme Court level.
These cases, many started even before 2020, have dragged for a long time, and are expected to climax in 2021, with outcomes that could reshape the political landscape of the state.
Notable amongst these cases are the following:
Philip Umeadi v Hope Uzodinma:
This is about the most important, and most anticipated case so far in the state. Philip Umeadi SAN, has approached the Supreme Court, to give explanation to it’s judgment that affirmed that Uche Nwosu, was the authentic candidate of the APC and AA, in the 2019 General Elections, and subsequently disqualified him and his parties, yet removed Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, and replaced him with Senator Hope Uzodinma, who claimed to be of the APC, but by the previous ruling of the same Supreme Court, obviously didn’t even participate in the election.
Umeadi filed the suit around October of 2020. There was a similar suit, filed by the candidate of RAP, Kingdom Okere at the High Court, but was withdrawn, to allow Umeadi’s suit continue, since it’s at the Supreme Court.
This case has the highest anticipation across the state, as the people are very eager to find out, what the Supreme Court has to say over the matter, and possibly return Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha back to office.
The case is expected to end in 2021, bringing to rest the ghosts of the long contested 2019 General Elections, with outcomes that can change the entire political landscape of the state.
Senator Ifeanyi Araraume v Frank Ibezim:
The Okigwe Senate seat has remained vacant, almost months after the Bye-election, which saw other winners in other states long sworn in to start the business of representing their people.
The late Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu died in December of 2019, and a year after, nobody have been able to replace him in the Senate.
The APC Primaries had ended in controversy, with the Marcon Nlemigbo faction, backed by Senator Hope Uzodinma and Emeka Nwajiuba, producing Mr. Frank Ibezim as their candidate, while the Daniel Nwafor faction backed by former govenror, Senator Rochas Okorocha, producing Senator Ifeanyi Araraume as candidate.
Araraume had kicked Ibezim out of the ballot through a High Court ruling, but on the eve of the election, Ibezim had reclaimed the mandate, only to be kicked out again on the same eve of Election, by yet another High Court ruling.
The APC invariably went to the elections without a candidate, and even though the party was declared winner, there is no clear candidate in the party, as both men have been disqualified.
It is expected that Araraume would challenge his removal by the Court of Appeal, at the Supreme Court. Ibezim on the other hand is expected to challenge the High Court ruling at the Appeal Court, and whatever verdict is given, could still lead to a Supreme Court hearing.
The outcomes of these court cases, could have great impact in Okigwe Zone, and Imo State in general.
Okigwe PDP and APGA suits:
The Okigwe Peoples Democratic Party PDP, and All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA, have challenged the Independent Electoral Commission INEC, for declaring the All Progressives Congress APC, winner in the Okigwe Senate Bye-election, since the both candidates of the party were disqualified, making the party enter the election without a candidate.
The outcome of their suit, may see candidates of these parties, displacing the APC to get to the Senate, and will change the Political landscape of Imo State.
Some of the major Political parties in the state, are embroiled in leadership suits. Daniel Nwafor still challenges the legitimacy of the Nlemigbo occupation of the leadership of the party in the state, and is in court over the matter.
The PDP is not left out, as there are legal options being explored by disgruntled factions, against the Ugwu led executive of the party.
Rochas Okorocha Probes:
The probes against former Govenror Rochas Okorocha, may also come to a conclusion in 2021, as political watchers believe that Uzodinma is still trying to save his job which is threatened from several powerful players at the moment, and cannot dedicate time to implementing the reports from the probes against Okorocha.
All these litigations and legal fireworks are expected to end in 2021, and can reshape the political landscape of the state.