Supreme Court: Differentiating Bayelsa judgement and Imo (mis)judgment, By Ogu Bundu Nwadike

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There’s a Igbo saying which teaches that ‘it’s like’ and ‘it is’ are never the same.” Also, Ndigbo say: “I thought, but I didn’t know”! They aren’t the same.

In the real sense of it, no two things or two persons are exactly and precisely the same. I knew that from my one placenta twins! They’re identical but not the same!

Let me, with those wits above, welcome you to this edition of my short essay series. I’ll be sharing views that will clarify the “under-the-table” gossips, rumours and speculations about the sameness, relativity and connectivity of the judgement delivered Thursday, February 13, 2020 by the Supreme Court on Bayelsa State and the Supreme Court misjudgement on Imo State delivered one month ago on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

The epilogue is that there’s no sameness, relativity and connectivity between both rulings by the apex court. In all ramifications, the appeal from Bayelsa State is absolutely, totally and completely different from the appeal from Imo State.

The only semblance is that both Bayelsa and Imo are states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Also, it’s in the same Supreme Court of Nigeria that the judgement and misjudgement were proclaimed. Besides those two facts, there’s nothing else that shows any similarity in the two appeals.

Moreover, while the Bayelsa appeal has been conclusively concluded, that of Imo State is still at discussion continues stage; not conclusively concluded.

One, the Bayelsa case was a pre-election matter. The Imo case was a post-election matter.

Two, the Bayelsa case was on certificate forgery by the running mate to the flag bearer of the APC, which was proved beyond reasonable doubts by the evidence brought before the Supreme Court by the PDP and her candidate.

The Imo case was evetually zeroed down from the claim that the winner of the 2019 governorship election, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ogbuagu Emeka Ihedioha CON, KSC, FNIFST, didn’t get 25% of total votes cast in 18 LGAs, to the all-time controversial and contentious claim by the candidate that placed fourth on the table, Senator Hope Uzodimma, that his 213,659 votes from 388 polling units were excluded.

While the case of forgery by the APC deputy governor candidate was proved beyond reasonable doubts, the claim by Senator Uzodimma in Imo State hasn’t been and may never be proved beyond reasonable doubts.

In fact, the biggest stories in Nigeria at this time revolve around the inability of both Uzodimma and the Supreme Court justices to prove the authenticity of the claim that his 213,659 votes from 388 polling units were purportedly excluded.

That claim by Uzodimma has been punctured in a million places, proving it a false claim under oath, with strong implications for the violation of the law against perjury, with dire consequences.

The APC must have congratulated the PDP after the Supreme Court judgement on Bayelsa case. But in Imo State, rather than congratulate the APC, the shortchanged party, PDP, went back to the apex court to seek the setting aside of the misjudgement and miscarriage of justice because, according to the applicants, it was a nullity made possible by a large evidence of irregulaties and illegalities.

So, it may be clear now how the Bayelsa case and the Imo case are very different from each other. The gossips rumours and speculations may now stop, while all eyes, body, soul and spirit refocuses back on the expected setting aside and reversing of the misjudgement on the Imo State 2019 governorship appeal.

It’s the view of a legal practitioner that the two cases aren’t the same. He pleaded that his name be not mentioned. He said:

“We need to get the facts and the judgement on the Bayelsa case. Meanwhile, justice is not done by using the judgement in one case to douse the agitation for justice in another. The Bayelsa State judgement cannot be a compensation for the monumental injustice done in the Imo case. Justice is not a matter of apportioning victories between PDP and APC. The injustice in Uzodinma v. Ihedioha is not a matter of not awarding victory to PDP but a pure denial of both legal and equitable justice to those to whom it is due; it is also a pure violation of the right of Imo people to elect a governor of their choice. Contrary to what may initially be apparent, the Bayelsa case may have presented more fillip for argument on the Imo case.” That’s it!

Another pundit argued thus: “Yes, one may appreciate the apprehension over the Bayelsa case. But please the cases are mutually exclusive, and judgement in one should not influence the other. There is the very fact that the Imo ruling is a travesty which manifested in numbers that didn’t add up. The onus was on the petitioner to provide autentic witnesses for magic 388 boots, and they failed. The Supreme Court didn’t even check for spread of the candidate they declared winner. Then, there was the serious issue of there being no results for 68 parties and their candidates as required by law. Moreover, Bayelsa was a pre-election matter, Imo was an election matter. Evidence abound to show that judgement on the Imo case, for all its worth, was a travesty. Interestingly, though unfortunately, the judgement has fully internationalized Nigeria and Supreme Court for the wrong reasons.”

In its response to the judgement on the Bayelsa appeal, the PDP, through its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, stated that though they welcome the judgement on the Bayelsa case, they insist on the Supreme Court rectifying the manifest and widely rejected mistake contained in its judgement on the Imo State governorship election.

An excerpt from the PDP press statement read thus:

“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) receives the judgment of the Supreme Court restoring its mandate in the Bayelsa state governorship election but insists that the apex Court must right the wrongs in the Imo state governorship election judgment.”

“The party says the Bayelsa judgment will not change the course of its demand that the Supreme Court rectifies the manifest and widely rejected mistakes contained in its judgment on the Imo state governorship election.”

“Our party insists that the Supreme Court will be redeeming its image and restoring public confidence on its infallibility by reviewing the Imo verdict given the manifold unjustifiable mistakes contained in that judgment.”

From the foregoing facts, I believe that I’ve proved beyond reasonable doubts that there’s a holistic difference between the judgement on Bayelsa State and the misjudgement on Imo State.


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