INEC Issues Certificate of Return To Uzodinma As Imo Governor
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued Certificate of Return to Senator Hope Uzodinma as winner of March 19, 2019 governorship election in Imo, in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the ceremony at INEC headquarters in Abuja, Uzodinma dedicated his victory to God and “functional judiciary” of the country.
“We thank God that at the end of the day through His Mercy, His will and the mandate of our people of Imo, who came out to vote for APC and myself, that at the end of the day their wishes and mandate have been recognised,” the Governor-elect said.
“We owe this victory to God Almighty. We owe it to functional judiciary. That our judiciary is working and the Supreme Court worked to expectation. The people of Imo have not been denied their choice of leadership and the efforts they made during election. It is something we must be grateful for,” Uzodinma said.
He described the litigation process he went through as part of democratic process/
“There must be challenge here and there, but you must develop thick skin and strength to follow through litigation. That is what we did and the first court did not do what we wanted. The second court followed through, but the Supreme Court use it eagle eye and gave us victory. We thank God,” he added.
He said that the excitement of the people of Imo about the Supreme Court judgement was in response to the fact that the mandate they gave to him has been protected.
Uzodinma said that he recognised that the challenge before the APC and himself as the governor was to ensure that reasonable expectations of the people were not dashed.
“l owe them a great deal of work to ensure that those expectations, democratic dividends and things that they believe I will do as a governor, God’s willing, that I will do them to conclusive end,” he said.
The Supreme Court in a unanimous judgment on Tuesday sacked Emeka Ihedioha and declared Uzodinma winner, directing INEC to issue him Certificate of Return.
A seven-man panel of the apex court in its decision held that Ihedioha did not win majority of votes cast at the March 9, 2019 governorship election.
In the judgment delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the court accordingly ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Ihedioha and issue fresh one to Uzodinma on grounds that he won majority of the lawful votes cast at the election.
The court held that the lower court erred in law when it rejected evidence tendered before it to the extent that votes from 388 polling units were not credited to APC and Hope Uzodinma.
The court also ordered the immediate swearing in of Uzodinma as lawful winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo.