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Judgement On Imo Guber Tussle: S’Court’s Sack Of Ihedioha, Sad Commentary, PDP Declares …Mixed Feelings Greet Verdict Declaring Uzodinma Winner …As Apex Court Decides Tambuwal’s Fate, Monday

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the judgement of the Supreme Court, sacking, Imo State Governor, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as ‘another very sad commentary on our nation’s democratic order.’
The party in a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondinyan, yesterday, said it found it difficult to understand how Senator Hope Uzodinma/APC, who came 4th in the March 9, 2019 governorship election, with just 96,458 votes, will suddenly, by the token of the judgement of the Supreme Court, defeat Governor Emeka Ihedioha/PDP that scored 276,404 votes.
The party stated that most Nigerians were yet to understand the basis upon which the Supreme Court arrived at its decision.
Ologbondinyan said “it is lamentable that the destiny of the people of Imo State is being taken from the governor they chose and voted for and handed over to individuals and a political party that do not have their blessing and mandate and which they rejected at the election.
“The people of Imo State are now confronted with the challenge of having a government that they cannot identify with and which cannot connect with them, having not emanated from them.
“Moreover, all the gains, including the development and stability already achieved by the people-based government, under Governor Emeka Ihedioha/PDP administration in the State are now heavily jeopardised.
“Indeed, the mournful and despondent ambiance that now pervades Imo State is a loud testimony that the judgment did not reflect the expectation of the people of Imo State as expressed at the polls.
The Supreme Court, yesterday, voided the election of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor of Imo State and announced Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC), winner of the election.
Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad led a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court to sack Ihedioha.
The judgement was unanimous as the judges held that Uzodinma won the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who read the lead judgment, ordered that the certificate of return issued to Ihedioha be immediately withdrawn, and directed that a fresh certificate of return be issued to Uzodinma.
Kekere-Ekun said Uzodinma must be immediately sworn in as the governor of Imo State.
In the election held in March, the INEC declared Ihedioha of the PDP as winner, having polled 273,404 ahead of his closest rival and candidate of the Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, who polled a total of 190,364.
The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ifeanyi Ararume came third ahead of Uzondima of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The former polled 114, 676 while the latter polled 96,458.
However, the Supreme Court will release details of the judgment, next Tuesday.
Reacting, the governor-elect of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, said that his stolen mandate has been recovered by the Supreme Court.
Uzodinma, who spoke to newsmen through his spokesperson, Declan Emelumba, shortly after the apex court declared him the duly elected governor of the state, said that the court had demonstrated bravery.
The governor-elect accused the Peoples Democratic Party of not having good plans for the state.
He said, “The Supreme Court has declared Senator Hope Uzodinma as the duly elected governor of Imo State. The beautiful thing is that our stolen mandate has been recovered.
“The governor will arrive in Imo State on Wednesday (today) and he will address the people of the state. He has better plans for the people of the state. He is experienced and the state is in for good things.”
It would be recalled that the Supreme Court, had in a unanimous judgement by a seven-man panel of justices that was led by the CJN, held that Ihedioha who contested on the platform of the PDP, was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes.
The Supreme Court, therefore, ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Certificate of Return that was issued to Ihedioha by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
It ordered that a fresh Certificate of Return should be issued to Uzodinma forthwith, adding that he should be sworn in immediately as the governor of Imo state
The lead judgement was delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, while other members of the panel concurred.
The apex court said it was satisfied that the lower tribunal wrongly evaluated Uzodinma’s case, when it failed to countenance a proof of evidence that was brought before it by a police officer that testified before it as the PW-54.
It held that records before it proved that election results from 388 polling units were unlawfully excluded from the overall collated results.
It noted that results from the cancelled polling units amounted to 213, 295 votes, adding that Ihedioha was returned elected, based on wrong computation of results.
According to the apex court, finding by both the tribunal and the appellate court to the effect that Uzodinma did not prove his case, “was as a result of misapprehension of the case of the appellant.
“There is merit in this appeal, it is hereby allowed. Majority judgement of the lower court affirming the election of the 2nd Respondent is hereby set-aside”, Justice Kekere-Ekun held.
She further directed the addition of all the unlawfully cancelled votes that were due to the appellant, declaring that Ihedioha was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast.
“His election is declared null and void and is hereby set-aside”.
The court further held that Uzodinma satisfied the statutorily required spread.
Aside the CJN, other members of the panel that concurred with the lead verdict were Justices Sylvester Ngwuta, Kayode Ariwola, Uwani Abba Ajji and Amiru Sanusi.
Meanwhile, the apex court deferred its judgement on appeal challenging the election of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of t state till Monday.
The panel initially stood down its proceedings to give judgements on appeals that arose from both Imo and Sokoto State governorship elections.
The CJN-led panel had concluded hearing on four separate appeals in Imo and two appeals in Sokoto State.
Even though the apex court was initially ready to hear 13 different appeals that emanated from governorship elections in six states, the CJN, however, announced decision of the panel to give priority to some of the appeals he said were due to expire.
He noted that whereas the statutory period for hearing of Imo State appeals would elapse by January 17, that of Sokoto State would expire January 20.
Consequently, the apex court adjourned appeals relating to governorship elections in Bauchi, Benue and Plateau states, some of which will elapse from January 25.
In Imo, while the first case marked SC/1461/19, was filed by Ifeanyi Ararume of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), the two other appeals marked SC/1462/19 and SC/1463/19, were lodged against Ihedioha by Uzodinma and Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance, respectively.
Likewise, Ihedioha, who won both at the tribunal and the Court of Appeal, equally filed a Cross Appeal with Suit No SC/1470/19, wherein he challenged the minority judgement of the appellate court that gave victory to Uzodinma of the APC.
Meanwhile, Nwosu, who is son-in-law to the immediate past governor of the state, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, withdrew his appeal before it could be heard.
He predicated his decision to withdraw the appeal on a judgement the Supreme Court delivered against him on December 20, 2019.
The apex court had in the said judgement, held that Nwosu was not eligible to participate in the governorship contest, noting that he was nominated by both the APC and the AA.
Consequently, when his appeal was called up for hearing, yesterday, Nwosu, through his lawyer, Mr. Solomon Umoh, SAN, said he was no longer willing to continue the case.
“Based on the judgement of this Court dated December 20, in SC/1384/19, we had resolved to withdraw our appeal, on my advice to my client”, Umoh submitted.
Owing to withdrawal of his appeal, the apex court panel dismissed it.
All the other appellants, in their separate appeals, argued that Ihedioha was not the valid winner of the Imo state gubernatorial contest.
It was part of their contention that Ihedioha failed to obtain the constitutional one quarter of votes in at least two-third of the 27 local government areas of Imo State as required under section 179 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
They prayed the court to invalidate the outcome of the Imo State governorship election and order a fresh poll.
The appellants maintained that the tribunal wrongly evaluated their petitions and arrived at a decision that favoured Ihedioha and the PDP.
Besides, they alleged that the governorship election was not only marred by manifest irregularities, but was not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act.
While Ararume adopted his brief of argument through his lawyer, Yusuf Alli, SAN, Uzodinma was represented by Mr. Damian Dodo, SAN, even as Solomon Umoh, SAN, argued Nwosu’s case.
Cited as Respondents in the appeals were the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ihedioha and the PDP.
All the appellants prayed the court to allow their respective appeals and set-aside the lower court judgements that validated Ihedioha’s election.
Specifically, Uzodinma, urged the apex court to reckon with votes that accrued to him, which he said was unlawfully and illegally excluded from collation.
However, all the Respondents, through their lawyers, Aham Ejelam, SAN, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, and K. C. O. Njemanze, SAN, respectively, urged the apex court to dismiss all the appeals as lacking in merit and uphold the concurrent decisions of both the Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
On his part, Ihedioha, prayed the apex court panel to ignore Uzodinma’s claim, maintaining that his appeal was not centred on exclusion of result, stressing that issues were joined on whether or not election actually took place in the affected polling units.
He insisted that the onus was on the APC candidate to prove that election held in the units, before he could allege the exclusion of his votes.
Aside drawing attention of the apex court to the fact that Uzodinma only produced 28 witnesses with respect to result from over 388 polling units, Ihedioha’s lawyer argued that the Appellant had no case in view of the judgement that recognised the nomination of Nwosu as candidate of the same APC.
It will be recalled that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had in its judgement on November 19, upheld Ihedioha’s election victory.
The appellate court dismissed appeals that were brought before it by all the other aggrieved candidates.
The five-man panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, further awarded N500, 000. 00 cost against each of the appellants.
Though the appellate court was unanimous in the dismissal of the appeals by Nwosu and Ararume, a member of the panel, however, gave a dissenting judgement and upheld Uzodinma’s appeal, even as he awarded N1million cost against Ihedioha and the PDP.
In the case of Sokoto State, the panel fixed Monday to decide the appeal with No. SC/1466/19, which was filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the state, Ahmed Sokoto.
The APC candidate, who adopted his brief of argument through his lawyer, Dr. Alex Iziyon, SAN, is challenging the declaration of Tambuwal of the PDP, as the valid winner of the gubernatorial contest.
However, in a counter move, Tambuwal, who won the election with a slim margin of 342 votes after a supplementary poll, and was declared winner by both the tribunal and the appellate court, also filed a Cross Appeal marked SC/1467/19.
Tambuwal’s lawyer, Muyiwa Akinboro, SAN, argued that the appellant failed to show any reason why the apex court should tamper with concurrent judgements of the two lower courts.
He contended that the appellant was unable to establish that judgements of both the tribunal and the Court of Appeal, which affirmed Tambuwal’s election, was perverse.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have taken to the micro-blogging platform ‘twitter’ to pour out their emotions over the declaration of Hope Uzodinma of the APC, winner of the March 9, 2019 Imo state governorship election and the immediate sack of Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP, as the governor of Imo State.
The Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Fr Ejike Mbaka, had during the 2019 crossover ministration, asked Ihedioha to prepare to leave office, saying that holy spirit has rejected him, and that new hope, with a new flag, will take over the government of Imo State.
“Those who are attacking the message are just casting Pearl before swine, the Holy Spirit has said it, and that is final.
“I don’t know how it will happen, but the only thing is that I see hope, joy, and a new government coming in Imo State.
“Even though Ihedioha has won in a tribunal and at the Appeal Court, that doesn’t mean that he will triumph in Supreme Court enough of all this brouhaha!
“What we are doing in adoration here is spiritual, it is not according to our power, it is a holy spirit, once he reveals it, we say it.
“Ihedioha and co should go and relax. This is not unprecedented, it happened to Jonathan, Atiku and Peter Obi and after everything, my prophecy came through. You must not be the governor of Imo State, and you are not better than Hope Uzodinma,” Mbaka was said to has said.
His prophecy came to pass, yesterday when the apex court, Supreme Court, sacked Ihedioha and declared Uzodinma winner.
Reacting, former PDP head of New Media, Deji Adeyanju, extolled Mbaka, saying that he is a real man of God.
His words, “Mbaka, the real man of God”.
Major-General Odogwu, said, “Mbaka my spiritual father, you are God sent to the voiceless, let those that keeps insulting u carry on”.
Salihu “One Supreme Court justice go don leak results to Father Mbaka cause what is this”.
PatoG “He is coming with a new flag to restore the dignity of that noble land. New leadership will break barriers and there would be joy in the land of Imo. Lift your candles as I bless Hope Uzodinma and I empower him spiritually to take over. How, I do not know.”
However, jubilation has taken over the political atmosphere of Imo state, after the Supreme Court declared Senator Hope Uzodinma, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), authentic winner of the 2019 governorship election.
Our source observed, yesterday, in Owerri, the celebration mood was high as some people were seen discussing it happily.
Uzodinma won at the Supreme Court while challenging the declaration of the outgoing governor of Imo, Emeka Ihedioha, who was declared winner of the 2019 Guber election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Though it was also observed that members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who were at some point waiting to start celebration were suddenly shocked by the verdict of the Supreme Court.
Some people have called on Uzodinma, to ensure continuity in governance and introduce his quality programmes to make life suitable for the people of Imo State.
While other political analysts have urged him (Uzodinma) to see his victory as a victory for Imo people and try to bring genuine experts in his style of governance.
Uzodinma was advised not to follow antagonist pattern of governance and that he should concentrate on providing for the people of the state their welfare.
Speaking to newsmen, the Director of Media and Strategy to Senator Hope Uzodinma, said: “Senator Hope Uzodinma will address Imo people by tomorrow. We will like to tell you that the stolen mandate of Imo people has been recovered and Ndi-Imo are happy again. By the time he’s sworn in he will be addressing the good people of Imo State.

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COVID-19: Interministarial Committee Takes Enlightenment Campaign To Religious Leaders

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The Rivers State Inter-Ministarial Committee on COVID-19 Enlightenment on Sunday, commenced another phase of its campaign with a focus on religious organisations, beginning with Churches.
Addressing volunteers to the campaign at the State Secretariate Complex, Chairman of the Committee, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, charged the volunteers to take this phase of the campaign as serious as they had taken the previous one.
Nsirim, who is also the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, stated that the need to embark on this phase of the campaign is necessitated by the revelation that many people are not adhering to the COVID-19 prevention advisories of wearing face mask and social distancing.
Recalling that the State Governor noted this in his last State broadcast, the Chairman said the Governor “lamented that people in the State are not observing the protocols of social distancing and wearing of face mask.

“The danger”, he continued, “is that if we don’t adhere to these protocols, we may likely enter community transmission of coronavirus in the state”.

 

Consequently, he explained, “We are going to be doing targeted sensitization. The three Sundays that we have in this month we will use to sensitize churches, and on Fridays, we will also do targeted sensitization to Muslim community”.
He further explained the importance of reaching religious leaders in the fight against the coronavirus, saying they are strategically placed to reach a considerable population.
According to him, the churches and mosques are very important because “the religious leaders wield a lot of influence. Members of their congregation listen to the things that they say. If we are able to get the churches to begin to observe the protocols, we are going to get to a greater number, a greater population in the society”.
He, therefore, charged the volunteers to go beyond the jingles currently being aired by the Committee in delivering COVID-19 enlightenment messages to interfacing with the people, noting that they shouldn’t add the role of enforcement to their assignment.
“As you interface with people, you must be wearing your face mask very well. Don’t put it under your chin.
“You are not an enforcement team. Don’t go and give yourself the power of enforcing the wearing of face mask. Don’t go and harass people that are not wearing face mask. Don’t go and assault people that are not wearing face mask. Your duty is purely enlightenment and sensitization.
“When you see people who are not wearing face mask, you enlighten them on the importance of wearing face mask. We don’t want to hear that any member of this team went and entered into any form of altercation”, he charged.
While assuring them of immeasurable rewards accruable from selfless service to humanity, the Chairman also reminded them of the innate desire of the the State Governor, which is ultimately to make Rivers State safe, as far as COVID-19 is concerned.
“Anyone that is called to do patriotic duty needs to understand that the crux of the matter is that you are here to save lives, and for you to save lives, you must have the passion to render selfless service. It’s important that I underscore that fact”, he said.

Responding on behalf of the volunteers, one of the Team Leaders, Adata Brown, assured that they will do their best to ensure that Rivers

people get the required message to enhance their safety from the virus.
“We want to say we are going to put in our best, we are going to work and make the governor of the state proud, and to make the whole Rivers State proud”, she said.
Other members of the Inter-Ministarial Committee present were the Commissioner’s of Environment, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, and Youth: Dr Igbiks’ Tamuno, Barr Olisaeloka Tasie-Amadi, and Prince Ohia respectively.
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Be Role Models In COVID-19 Campaign, Nsirim Charges Religious Leaders …RSG To Arrest People Who Refuse To Wear Face Mask

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In furtherance of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, has called on religious leaders in the State to path the way for their congregation.
The Commissioner, who made the call on Saturday, during a live radio programme in Port Harcourt, hinted that by their status they represent a section of the society with notable group of followers, hence the need for them to be role models.
One way to show this, he said is for them to strictly obey the State Government’s advisories on measures to prevent COVID-19 infection, including ensuring that not more than 70 persons are allowed per session of service.
Citing churches, he noted that they have so far flouted this directive. “and that is something that is worrisome”, he said.
He continued that “Christians need to be role models. If there’s a group of people who should show good example, it should be Chriatians. When Christians begin to flout

government directives, I don’t think there’s any hope for society.
“This is a Clarion call to religious leaders. We shouldn’t sacrifice the lives of our members on the alter of church worship. Jesus Christ is our role model. Jesus Christ was a man who obeyed authority, who did not come in confrontation with the law, and the Bible teaches us to obey those in authority”, he emphasized.
Also, against the backdrop of high non-compliance to the COVID-19 advisory of wearing face mask in public places, the Rivers State Government (RSG) says it will soon begin to arrest defaulters.
This is sequel to the declaration of the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, in his last State broadcast on Wednesday, in which he stated that those who refuse to wear face mask risk arrest.
Confirming the Governor’s statement, the State’s spokesman unequivocally said defaulters will be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
“If you go around the State since the Executive Order on face mask was introduced, you’ll notice that less than 30 per cent of the populace are really obeying the Executive Order. What we see in the State is that people just put the mask under their chin, including in the churches.
“The Governor is saying that to grant the wearing of face mask the kind of weight it deserves, to save our people, a special Task Force to monitor it will be put in place. That is the only sure way”, he said.
He recalled that the Governor in his broadcast expressed concern that a lot of people in the State are not obeying the protocols of social distancing and wearing of face mask.
“Government will introduce policies. The onus is on the populace to obey those policies … The COVID-19 pandemic has defied medical solutions for now. So, to flatten the curve, everyone living and doing business in Rivers State need to take responsibility.
“It’s important that everyone living and doing business in Rivers State should have the kind of passion that His Excellency has to flatten

the curve. He’s desirous that Rivers State remains safe.
“That’s why every day he’s enunciating policies to ensure that strategically, the State is isolated from the national spread.
“He’s one man who would require the cooperation and understanding of citizens here to ensure that what he has in mind for the State is actualized”, the Commissioner concluded.
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Governor Wike’s Reply To Governor Uzodinma Was Concocted – RSG

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The attention of the Rivers State Government has been drawn to the news circulating in the Social Media that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State denigrated his Imo State counterpart, Governor Hope Uzodinma.
The purveyors of the deliberate falsehood alleged that Governor  Wike  replied Governor Uzodinma over a recent statement where he allegedly boasted that “the All Progressives Congress (APC)  will teach the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor  Wike how to conduct a  transparent election in the forthcoming Edo State gubernatorial election.”
The concocted story only existed in the imagination of the authors and so there was also no disparaging comment by Governor Wike.
Members of the public are hereby advised to discountenance all the information contained in the said publication as they did not emanate from Governor Wike.
Paulinus Nsirim
Commissioner for Information and Communications
July 10, 2020.
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