Former governor of Imo State, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, thursday described Tuesday’s judgment of the Supreme Court, which nullified his victory at the March 9, 2019 governorship election in the state, as truncating the will of the people.
He spoke shortly before the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Hope Uzodinma, who declared winner of the contest by the apex court, was sworn in.
Ihedioha, in a message to the people, said the Supreme Court verdict came to him as a rude shock and surprise considering the facts on the ground, legal precedence and clear verdict of Imo people on March 9 2019 that returned him as governor with the highest valid votes of 273,404.
In sacking him, the Supreme Court had declared Uzodinma as winner of the election and ordered his swearing-in.
It also directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Ihedioha and give Uzodinma a new one.
INEC complied with the apex court’s order yesterday as it issued Uzodinma the certificate of return to pave the way for his inauguration.
However, Ihedioha yesterday disagreed with the judgment, describing it as unfair, unjust and not in line with the voting that took place during the elections.
He said the verdict also did not take care of the sensibilities of the people of Imo State.
“But as true democrats, Mr. Gerald Irona (deputy governor) and I have no option but to respect the outcome of that judgment,” he said, adding: “I am reporting back to you our great Imo people on the fate of the mandate you freely gave to me as governor and Mr. Gerald Irona as deputy governor. This mandate has now been truncated and cut short by the Supreme Court in contravention of the will of the people.”
He said he had cherished the tremendous goodwill and support the people gave his administration as it grappled with setting up a new administration to rebuild a state that was devastated by bad governance.
“’In the last seven months, we sought to elevate merit, unity of purpose, honesty, transparency and an inclusive approach to governance as the hallmarks of our administration. We sought to restore once again, the pride and dignity of Imo people. We worked very hard to re-engineer the Imo renaissance. But God knows why he has allowed this current state of affairs.
“No doubt, yesterday’s Supreme Court verdict, came to us as a rude shock and surprise considering the facts on ground, legal precedence and clear verdict of Imo People on March 9 2019, that returned me as Governor with the highest valid votes of 273,404,” he said.
Ihedioha added: “I do not agree with the judgment of the Supreme Court. I think it is unfair, unjust and does not reflect the voting that took place during the elections.”
He said the handover process had begun and it would be coordinated by the Secretary to the State Government.
He directed all members of the Imo State Expanded Executive Council and all political appointees to write their hand-over notes and to return all government property in their custody, immediately.
“I shall not be a party to pilfering of government property or funds,” he said and added: “I thank you all for your support, which saw us achieve so much and reversed the negative trajectory of Imo State within a space of seven months.”