“It is the privilege of each man, in parliament or out of it, in the press or over the communicate, to offer reasonable remark, even frank remark, on issues of open intrigue. The individuals who remark can manage all that is done in an official courtroom “. – Lord Denning in R versus Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Exparte Blackburn (No. 2) (1968) 2 Q.B. 150.
In a consistent judgment in Suit No: SC 1462/2019 (Senator Hope Uzodinma& Anor versus Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha& 2 Others) conveyed on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, a seven-man board of the Supreme Court of Nigeria invalidated the appointment of the past legislative leader of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, and requested the quick swearing in of Hope Uzodinma as the legitimately chosen legislative leader of Imo State.With the above proclamation of Lord Denning as a primary concern, Imo Progressive Lawyers Association (IPLF) has considered it important to pose certain relevant inquiries with respect to the Supreme Court rulingthat sacked Emeka Ihedioha.
Most importantly, we make strong to express that both Ihedioha and Uzodinma are regarded children of NDI IMO. This reflection explicitly reacts to the debate which the Supreme Court judgment produced since it was conveyed. Also, more significantly, it isn’t lost on us thatformer representative Ihediohahas moved toward the peak court for a survey of the judgment that removed him. The outcome is that the issue having been submitted to the Supreme Court remains subjudice. As legal counselors, we are careful that remarking on cases sub judice are commonly viewed as wrong. Nonetheless, we are compelled to bring up the accompanying issues in the wake of having perused the full judgment of the peak court.
Before digging into the realities of the issue, it is educational to take note of that Section 179 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as revised) manages the votes that an applicant must earn at a gubernatorial political decision to be pronounced champ. That area gives:
179 (2): A contender for a political race to the workplace of legislative head of a state will be regarded to have been appropriately chosen where, there being at least two applicants –
he has the most noteworthy number of votes cast at the political decision; and
he has at the very least one-fourth of all votes cast in each of at any rate 66% of all the neighborhood government zones in the state.
Guided by the established mandates above, we analyze the undisputed realities in the ongoing judgment. The particular realities to note are:
The first Appellant (Hope Uzodinma) documented a request testing the arrival of the first Respondent (Emeka Ihedioha) on two grounds:
(a) The first Respondent was not legitimately chosen by greater part of legal votes cast; and
(b) The announcement and return of the first Respondent is invalid by reason of resistance with the Electoral Act. (See page 2 of the lead judgment conveyed byKudiratMotonmoriOlatokunboKekere-Ekun JSC).
Races were held in 27 Local Government Areas, 305 appointive wards and 3, 523 surveying units. The third Respondent (INEC) dropped the political decision in 252 surveying units, examined results from 2,883 surveying units and avoided results from 388 surveying units. The first Respondent affirmed that he scored 213,695 votes from just the 388 surveying units barred. (See pages 2-3 Kekere-Ekun JSC’s judgment).
Passage 7, a, b, c, d, e and f of the third Respondent’s (INEC’s) Reply completely denied the cases in the Appellant’s request, particularly the wrong computationof political decision results as asserted. (See pages 31-32 of Kekere-Ekun JSC’s judgment).
Having built up the law and the undisputed realities in the issue, we look to bring up the accompanying issues concerning the judgment –
A. The Appellant (Hope Uzodinma) argued that he scored more than 213,000 votes from 388 surveying units. Be that as it may, during the preliminary, his star observer, PW54, a cop, just offered the aftereffects of 366 surveying units rather than 388. The discoveries by the Tribunal, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court likewise settled that PW54 offered aftereffects of 366 surveying units as against 388 surveying units. Does this error not place the Supreme Court on its enquiry?
B. The court will undoubtedly take legal notification that the most extreme number of voters per surveying unit is 500 except if there are extra democratic focuses made. Once more, 500 voters increased by 388 surveying units can’t be more than 194,000.00 votes. In other words that 500 voters duplicated by 366 would likewise, give just a greatest conceivable of just 183,000 votes. Discerning of the assurance of passings, voter moves and voter disregard, the chance of every one of the 500 voters in each of the 388 (or 366) surveying units casting a ballot during a political decision is remote, if certainly feasible. Thus, regardless of whether by 366 or 388 surveying units, the figures introduced by the Appellant leave both numerical and sensible expanding gaps that should put the pinnacle court on its enquiry.
C. Sufficiently inquisitive, the Supreme Court would not investigate the cross-intrigue of the First Respondent (Emeka Ihedioha), holding that the fundamental intrigue had made it superfluous to assess the cross-request. With due regard to the summit court, maybe, if the cross-bid had been evaluatedon its legitimacy, some of inquiries featured above would been managed.
D. Considering An and B above, has the Supreme Court fulfilled itself that the conditions set out in Section 179 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as changed) have been completely agreed to as would warrant the invalidation of Ihedioha’s political race and the presentation of Uzodinmaas the genuine champ?
Equity, they state, is certifiably not an isolated prudence. She should be permitted to endure the examination and conscious, even straightforward, remarks of customary men”. – “Master Atkin in Ambard versus Lawyer General for Trinidad and Tobago (1936) AC 322, 335. As priests in the sanctuary of equity and similarly as partners in the Imo administration engineering,
Imo Progressive Lawyers Association are moved by Lord Atkin’s advice to bring up the above lawful issues. We table these worries as amicus curia, fuelled by the profound worry that the regulation of gaze decisis would be compromised if these issues are not comprehensively reexamined by the summit court.
In the last investigation, the Supreme Court is an approach court, with its choices restricting on each lower court, however on every single other foundation and official arms of government. In accordance with the all out bindingness of Supreme Court’s judgment, Hope Uzodinma was confirmed as senator with energetic willingness. Our essential concern along these lines is that equity wins. Not just that, each system of the state must get its authenticity from well known vote based system and sound use of the standard of law.
We end our appearance by reference to the accompanying statements by Lord Denning in his book ‘The Road to Justice'(1955):
“In each court in England, you will, I accept, discover a paper journalist… He takes note of all that go on and makes a reasonable and precise report of it… He is, I verily accept guard dog of equity… The appointed authority will be mindful so as to see that the preliminary is reasonably and appropriately directed in the event that he understands that any shamefulness or inappropriateness on his part will be noted by those in court and might be accounted for in the press. He will be progressively on edge to give a right choice on the off chance that he realizes that his reasons must legitimize themselves at the bar of popular conclusion’.
“At the point when an adjudicator sits on a case, he himself is being investigated… In the event that there is any unfortunate behavior on (his) part, any inclination or bias, there is a columnist to watch out for him.” Lord Denning in his location under the watchful eye of the High Court Journalists Association as revealed in the Times of third December 1964.