The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday affirmed the victory of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as duly elected governor of Imo State.
The court delivered the judgment following an appeal filed by the governorship candidate of Action Alliance (AA), Uche Nwosu; Candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ifeanyi Ararume; and the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Hope Uzodimma; challenging the election of the governor.
All appellants argued in their appeal that the governor did not obtain the constitutionally required one-quarter of the votes cast in at least, two-thirds of the 27 local government areas of the state, as provided under Section 179 of the Constitution.
The appellants, therefore, prayed the court to set aside the decision of the tribunal and declare them winner of the election or in the alternative order a rerun.
The court commenced the hearing with the appeal of Mr Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance but the later upheld the preliminary objection by the PDP and Governor Ihedioha that the appeal was faulty.
According to the court, it ought to ordinarily dismiss the appeal but in line with the Supreme Court’s guidelines it decided to go ahead and determine the appeal.
After listening to and resolving all the issues raised by Mr Nwosu and the Action Alliance against the PDP, the lead judge, Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, ordered Mr Nwosu to pay a sum of N500,000.
Determining the appeal filed by Senator Hope Uzodinma and the All progressive Congress, the court held that the tribunal had looked at the evidence loophole placed before it and that it is settled law that hearsay evidence is not admissible in court.
Consequently, issues 1,2,3 and 4 are resolved against Senator Uzodinma and the APC.
On issue three which bordered on the dismissal of documents, the appeal court resolved it in favour of Senator Uzodinma.
According to the court, the tribunal went out of its jurisdiction to resolve the issues but that notwithstanding, the appeal was lacking in merit and was, therefore, dismissed.
Consequently, a cost of N500,000 was awarded against the appellants.
However, in a dissenting judgment, one of the judges rejected the cross-appeal, filed by Governor Emeka Ihedioha and ordered him to pay the sum of 1 million naira to Senator Uzodinma and his party.
The court also dismissed the appeal filed by Senator Ifeanyi Arareume and the All Progressive Grand Alliance. and equally awarded a cost of N500,000 against the appellants.