By Yinka Odumakin
I HAVE been hammering on it lately that we cannot get it right electorally in this country if we continue to wrongly hold the electoral body solely responsible for our woes.
There must be bad eggs in the body like all other institutions but the forces militating against the will of the people electorally are far wider.
Anyone still in doubt of that should take a ringside seat as the verdict of the Supreme Court on Imo governorship election which made Senator Hope Uzodinma whom INEC returned as number four to displace Hon. Emeka Ihedioha who was declared winner of the election and sworn in as governor may go on trial again.
I have refrained from commenting on the judgement as a law abiding citizen who believes that there is only the court of God after the Supreme Court and we must just accept its verdict. I have, therefore, turned down many media enquiries to air views on the judgement. The only time I have called the Supreme Court out was also under the current leadership.
Two different judgments
I was doing something else for this week before a copy of the press conference addressed by 18 civil society organizations which included one led friend Dr Abubakar Manzo and brother Deji Adeyanju hit my mailbox on Sunday .
My body cringed as I read the direct attack on the integrity our apex court which only a citizen who is ready to spend time behind bar could have made up. This is what the group said:
“The existence of two different judgements of the Supreme Court on the same case: On January 14, 2020, the Supreme Court in open court gave judgement in the Imo State Governorship Appeal. However, unlike the other cases, it gave reasons for its judgement. It did not reserve another date to give reasons.
“The respondents were shocked when they approached the court for a copy of the judgement delivered in open court which lasted less than 10 minutes on that day and contained in about six pages, only to be given a judgement of 46 pages on January 22, totally different from the one read on January 14. It was a full and final judgement on January 14. The January 22 judgement unsuccessfully tried to cover up loopholes observed by Nigerians following their outcry and condemnation of the judgement by both local and international community.
“The danger which this judgement released now in the CTC poses is that after the judgement delivered in open court the court went ahead and raised new legal issues and determined them to suit its resultant orders. These new legal issues and reasoning were not pronounced in open court.
“The judgment read in open court only considered the evidence of the Policeman (PW54), but the text now released has included other witnesses including PW12 – PW34, PW11 and PW51.
“This is unprecedented in Nigeria’s judicial history. We have the audio recording of that judgement and the transcript which we shall release shortly. It is outright fraud, fake and judicial corruption. No wonder Nigeria’s anti-corruption index continues to fall in the transparency international ratings in-spite of anti-corruption efforts of the Federal Government. This judgement will go down in infamy and may make Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of nations, if not reversed.
“It is unprecedented for the Supreme Court to manipulate or doctor its own judgement to cover its tracks. This new judgement was not given in open court and not in the presence of the parties as required by S.36 (3) of the Constitution.
“This effort by the Supreme Court to manipulate its own judgement is unnecessary and may be futile as it failed to explain why total votes cast as it allocated to only two parties is still more than the total accredited votes by 129,340 on the face of the record on Form EC8D, accepted by all the parties and even also tendered and relied on by Senator Hope Uzodinma.”
I pas no comment on this very weighty allegation until the court speaks on it. I will keep my opinions on so many aspects of issues being raised about this judgement that is bound to keep our highest court in the dock if the removed governor dares to ask the court to revisit its decision.
Among other heavy issues raised are:
Note No. 69 on the table, where registered voters was 492; APC scored 819 votes; PDP 7. That is 334 voters more than registered voters, not to talk of accredited voters which is much lower, though not stated in the Table.
Note no 377 on the table, where registered voters was 367; APC scored 367; PDP 4. That is 4 voters more than registered voters, not to talk of accredited voters which is significantly lower, though not stated in the Table.
iii. Note no. 384 on the table, where registered voters was 526; APC scored 526; PDP 2. That is 2 voters more than registered voters, not to talk of accredited voters which is significantly lower, though not shown in the Table.
Note no. 282 on the table, where registered voters was 591; APC scored 586; PDP 9. That is 4 voters more than registered voters, not to talk of accredited voters which is significantly lower, though not stated or shown in the petition.
Note no 285 on the table, where registered voters was 449; APC scored 780; PDP 4. That is 335 voters more than registered voters, not to talk of accredited voters which is significantly lower, though not stated.
Note that Hope Uzodinma’s APC scored an average of 95 per cent in the 388 units, whereas he scored an average of 12 per cent in the remaining units in the state!!
vii. Note further that Sen. Hope Uzodinma’s table of results from 388 polling units, did not have any scores for any other political party, such as APGA, AA, Accord, etc. Indeed, there were 70 political parties that contested the election. Did the 68 other parties not have even agents or ward officers that voted?
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viii. This is the highest form of criminality which should actually send the authors to jail, in a civilised democracy!. Yet our almighty Supreme Court endorsed it.
During the hearing when Sen. Hope Uzodinma was cross-examined as PW11, he agreed that the votes in his own petition did not add up.
Supreme Court computation of votes and accreditation:
“The pertinent INEC document before the Tribunal is INEC form EC8D. The CTC of FORM EC8D, shows that:
“The total number of accredited voters at the election was 823,743.
“Total votes cast during the election was 739,435.
“Total rejected votes was 25,130.
“Total valid votes cast at the election for all the parties was 714,355.
“However, the Supreme Court added 213,695 votes to Hope Uzodinma of APC from the fake 388 units and 1,903 votes to PDP, thereby making the total votes scored at the election to be 953,083.
“This is far above the accredited voters clearly shown in the FORM EC8D before the Tribunal as 823,743. So a whopping 129,340 votes cannot be accounted for by the Supreme Court decision.
“The question is, how can the Supreme Court declare more votes than accredited votes? This raises an impossible and ridiculous situation. This is an avoidable slip that should be re-visited.
“Note that there is no challenge on the accredited number of voters either in the petition or evidence by any witnesses. Indeed, Sen. Uzodinma besides the inconsistencies was categorical that the Table in both the petition and their Witness Statement on Oath did not show the number of accredited voters in each of the 388 polling units allegedly excluded.
Number of accredited voters
“This instigates the inquiry of how valid votes can ever be computed in the absence of a clear record of the number of accredited voters. This will show whether over voting occurred which is the bench-mark for validity of votes. Where this is not the case, it shows that Section 49 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) was not contemplated in the sham 388 alleged polling unit results.
“Mathematics is a precise science, particularly in the circumstances where a specific score for which the Petitioners/Appellants hinge their reliefs on was pleaded with supporting mathematical tables presented. Such that, the incorrectness of the said table by itself disentitles them to the reliefs claimed. This is more so that by paragraph nine of the Petition, appearing at page two of the record, it is stated that 70 political parties contested the election, but the Tables presented in the Petition and in the testimonies of PW 11 and PW51 contain only the alleged scores of two political parties, APC and PDP.
“Equally it alleged scores in multiple instances exceeded the allegedly stated number of registered voters. On what basis then, can any Tribunal act on these clearly fallacious testimonies to grant the reliefs sought by Sen Uzodinma?”
A call on the Supreme Court to try this case again would be an eternal reference in the life of our apex court .