A public interest group known as Association for Public Policy Analysis has urged the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, to hear and determine all pending 2019 Imo State governorship election litigations before the November 11 gubernatorial poll.
Recall that the Supreme Court had fixed October 31, 2023 to hear two separate appeals filed in 2020, seeking to disqualify the All Progressives Congress (APC) from contesting in the 2019 Imo governorship election as well as remove Governor Hope Uzodimma from office.
The appeals are a fall out of two Supreme Court judgments delivered late 2019 and early 2020 regarding the Imo 2019 election.
The apex court had disqualified Ugwumba Uche Nwosu from contesting the 2019 guber poll, observing he held double nomination of the All Progressives Congress and Action Alliance (AA).
In another judgment in 2020, the apex court sacked Emeka Ihedioha of the People’s Democratic Party and declared APC’s Hope Uzodimma winner of the 2019 governorship election.
In another application, the PDP and Action People’s Party (APP) asked the apex court (in 2019) to interpret the effect of the judgment sacking Nwosu who held double nomination of APC and AA as well as enforce the verdict against the current governor of the state.
The matter, filed since 2019, is slated for hearing October 31.
But the national president of the Association for Public Policy Analysis, Chief Comrade Princewill Okorie, in a media briefing on Saturday, raised the alarm about alleged plans to delay hearing of the case.
He pleaded with the chief Judge of the Supreme Court to jettison any pressure from any quarters that will truncate the hearing of the pending matters slated for 31st October 2023 or delay expeditious disposal of the case before the November 11th Governorship election in Imo State.
He said considering that Imo has been politically unstable and unsafe since 2020, the association on 10th October 2023, wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria and appealed to him to see that the motion/case is heard and ruling is given expeditiously before the 2023 governorship election.
“It is surprising that the application/motions made by Umeadi are still pending in the Court as at 3rd October, 2023 without being heard.
“While it is gratifying to note that the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court granted our plea by fixing 31st October 2023 for hearing of the applications and motions, it is regrettable that information reaching us from our analysts in the judiciary is pointing to the fact that some judiciary staff at the Supreme Court have been induced to compromise by making frantic effort to shift the hearing notice date which has already been served on parties in the case to December 2023.
“This is without the notice of Chief Justice of the Federation who by his action after receiving our letter approved date for hearing of the application/motion,” Okorie said.
Okorie alleged that certain public servants in the judiciary, politicians and traditional rulers are trying to delay hearing and determination of the case for selfish and unpatriotic reasons.
He added, “Putting the 2019 Governorship election judicial struggle to rest before the next election will not only restore the confidence of the Imo people in the judiciary but promote justice and fair play as well as give parties involved in the matter opportunity to move on with their lives.
“Finally, it is important to remind the Chief Justice of the Federation that shifting the date of these applications/motions that have stayed at the Supreme Court for over three years will present the Supreme Court as the institution that is not consistent with her decisions on policies, circumventing the will of justice, propelling political instability in Imo State and lacking in integrity.
“This image and perception will be very wrong in the eyes of the international community who are relying on Nigeria to champion effort towards sustainability of credible democracy in Africa.”