September 28, 2020

SUPREME COURT RULING: ANALYSIS SHOWS IHEDIOHA CAN STILL BE GOVERNOR

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It is no longer news that in line with last week’s decision of the Supreme Court, Senator Hope Uzodinma is now the Imo State governor.

Having decided that the exclusion of certain votes in his favour during the collation of votes at the last governorship election in the state was illegal, the Apex Court went ahead to add the said votes which saw to the victory of the new governor.

Uzodinma was promptly sworn in. His immediate predecessor, Emeka Ihedioha who had earlier been declared as the duly elected governor by the electoral body had to step down.

Before doing so, Ihedioha did not forget to make the point that although he did not agree with what he described as an unfair and unjust ruling, he had “no option but to respect the outcome of the judgment.” A cursory look at various media platforms shows that Ihedioha’s viewpoint is generally shared by a cross section of Nigerians.

Bearing in mind that the ruling was made by the nation’s highest judicial authority – the Supreme Court, everyone appears to believe that there is really nothing left for Ihedioha to rely upon for some hope. There are grounds for this position, the most prominent is that the Supreme Court is the last court of the land; meaning that after it, no other court is available to a party for further action. In other words, the situation is not like what happens in the lower courts when a party can proceed on appeal to a higher court where he is dissatisfied with a judgment.

Again, there is the understanding that in order to avoid a situation where a case may never end, the same court is not expected to review its rulings after delivering its judgment. Put differently, a Court cannot sit as an appellate Court over its decision. It is this idea, that a Court has no business returning to a case it has already concluded that makes many people think the end of Ihedioha’s case has come.

For this reason, some analysts have condemned the call by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Supreme Court to reverse itself in the Imo case. The only thing in our view that is wrong with the position of the PDP is the intemperate diction employed at the press conference where the call was made. Otherwise, the rule that a court cannot reverse itself is not absolute. To revisit a case already settled has happened many times before

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