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Op-ed: THE IMO GUBERNATORIAL JUDGMENT – A PAINFUL BUT LEGALLY CORRECT VERDICT!

What happened was this: during the governorship election in Imo State, apparently concocted results, perhaps not having any basis whatsoever in reality, BUT SIGNED BY INEC PRESIDING OFFICERS, were turned in from more than 350 polling units, giving Hope Uzodinma of the APC an incredibly unassailable lead. When those results were transmitted to the wards collation centers, the collation officers, who had no power in law to cancel or reject them, rejected the said polling units results and refused to collate them, thereby effectively excluding them from the total tally of the governorship result that was eventually declared by the Returning Officer. In the aftermath of the said exclusion, the Independent National Electoral Commission declared Governor Ihedioha the winner of the election.

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It is indeed a perplexing paradox: Hope Uzodinma may not have won the 2019 Imo State gubernatorial election, yet the Supreme Court, on the facts, was right in declaring him the winner of that election in law. The error was not the Supreme Court’s, but that of Governor Emeka Ihedioha’s legal team, and it was a crucially fatal error.

What happened was this: during the governorship election in Imo State, apparently concocted results, perhaps not having any basis whatsoever in reality, BUT SIGNED BY INEC PRESIDING OFFICERS, were turned in from more than 350 polling units, giving Hope Uzodinma of the APC an incredibly unassailable lead. When those results were transmitted to the wards collation centers, the collation officers, who had no power in law to cancel or reject them, rejected the said polling units results and refused to collate them, thereby effectively excluding them from the total tally of the governorship result that was eventually declared by the Returning Officer. In the aftermath of the said exclusion, the Independent National Electoral Commission declared Governor Ihedioha the winner of the election.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screenshot_1-3.png
Emeka Ihedioha

The exclusion of the results of those polling units was the fulcrum of the petition presented at the Tribunal by Hope Uzodinma. Ever since David Mark V. ABUBAKAR USMAN, and DOMA V. INEC, the law has been settled that neither collation officers nor a returning officer, has the power in law to exclude a polling unit result duly signed by the presiding officer at the polling unit; only the election tribunal possesses the power to cancel or exclude such a result. So, at the point of its presentation, Senator Uzodinma’s petition was potentially viable, in spite of the apparent dubiousness of the polling units results on which it was anchored, there being a REBUTTABLE presumption of regularity and correctness, by virtue of both the Electoral Act and Evidence Act, enuring in favor of any result declared by a presiding officer.

The backbreaking and fatal error made by Ihedioha’s legal team was in not filing a CROSS PETITION fiercely challenging the integrity of the suspect polling units results upon which Uzodinma was relying and praying the election tribunal to formally nullify the said results. Without a cross-petition, none of the grounds under section 138 (1) of the Electoral Act for questioning the elections conducted in those polling units in which Uzodinma “won” could have been competently raised by Governor Ihedioha in his defense to Uzodinma’s petition. This was the ratio decidendi of the old Court of Appeal decision in IDRIS V. A.N.P.P.(2008)8 NWLR(PT.1088) Page 1. In the recent Court of Appeal decision in ATIKU ABUBAKAR V. BUHARI, the Court of Appeal again invoked the principle in dismissing Buhari’s contention that Atiku ABUBAKAR was born in Cameroun to parents who originally were Camerounians, and thus disqualified from contesting the election. Dismissing the contention, the Court of Appeal held that the issue was incompetent since Buhari did not file a cross-petition.

Ihedioha indeed did set up facts in his Reply to the petition rehashing the serial infractions that led to the exclusion of the results of the said 300 plus polling units. But that was legally not enough, in the absence of a cross-petition. Besides, such renditions by a Respondent in a mere Reply or Statement of Defence are clearly incompetent. The reason for the incompetence was made clear by the Court of Appeal in NATIONAL JUDICIAL COUNCIL & ORS V. HON. JUSTICE JUBRIL BABAJIDE ALADEJANA & ORS(2014) LPELR – 2413 (CA) Page 31, paras C – F, at ratio 3 thus –

“The law is that it is a plaintiff who by his statement of claim primarily nominates issues to be tried in a suit and which he relies on to have the judgment of the Court. For a defendant, it is only necessary to resist the plaintiff’s claim on the facts pleaded. It is not for a defendant to set up facts which would convey that it is not just setting up a defense but setting up a new case of his own. He can only do so by way of a counterclaim…”

Shorn of the legalese, what the above authority is simply saying is that since the issue nominated for trial by Hope Uzodinma was the unlawfulness or otherwise of the exclusion of the results of the 300 plus polling units by the ward collation officers, Ihedioha’s defense was therefore necessarily restricted by law to showing that those who excluded the results had the power in law to exclude them. Without a cross-petition praying for the nullification of those results, the law forbade Governor Ihedioha as respondent from raising the issue of the alleged serial corrupt practices and irregularities marring the said results, in a mere statement of defense; that was a new issue not nominated by Uzodinma as the petitioner. Ihedioha, being a Respondent, could only have competently raised them via a cross-petition, being a new issue not nominated by Uzodinma, the petitioner.

Tragically, Ihedioha’s legal team forgot to include the pivotal cross-petition. And in the absence of a cross-petition, the Supreme Court was right in law, painfully though it may seem, to rely on the presumption of regularity and correctness enshrined by both the Electoral Act and Evidence Act in favor of the said results, and to reckon with them and add them up to the final result, since Ihedioha’s legal team had woefully failed to effectively attack the results and rebut that presumption. For the Supreme Court, this was the legally correct conclusion to come to, having found that INEC had no power in law to exclude polling unit results duly affirmed by the various polling units presiding officers!

by Kenneth Ikonne

thenewscap
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the newscap

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Inside America

OBAMA, fully vaccinated and boosted TESTS POSITIVE TO Covid-19

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The former President of the United States, Barack Obama said on Sunday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is “feeling fine” other than a scratchy throat.

Both the 60-year-old Obama and his wife Michelle Obama are fully vaccinated and boosted, the former president said. Michelle Obama has tested negative.

Obama said his diagnosis is “a reminder to get vaccinated if you haven’t already, even as cases go down.”

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UFC: Nigerian Born Isreal Adesanya defeats Robert Whittaker!

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Houston-Texas. Israel Mobolaji Temitayo Odunayo Oluwafemi Owolabi Adesanya; born in Lagos, Nigeria, defeated Robert Whittaker at the UFC 271 in Houston, Texas. Sports pundits now believe his reign of dominance has just began. He is unstoppable. The 32-year-old Adesanya, alias ‘The Last Stylebender’ is a mixed martial artist, kickboxer, and former boxer with multiple championships in all three disciplines.

It was a unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 271 to defend his middleweight title and push his record over his rival to a perfect 2-0.  The two fought for 25 minutes and a unanimous decision was awarded to Adesanya, as he scored 48–47, 48–47, and 49–46 on the three judges’ scorecards.

During the post-match press briefing, Robert Whittaker, who lost for the second time to Isreal said –“I thought I did enough, I thought I did enough,” Whittaker told MMA Junkie at the post-fight press conference. “Breaking it down, I think I lost the first round. I put myself together and I beat him to every punch. I got takedowns. I thought I did enough.

“But it is what it is. That’s how work goes in the office. I’m going to go back evolve some more, get better, and fine tune the things that I’ve been working on, and come back a better man. Honestly, though, Izzy was my biggest obstacle, my biggest hurdle. He beat me in a good fashion the first time. I’ve been working and angling myself to evolve and to get better and I’ve done that. You can see it in this fight how far I’ve come. To the point that I think I beat him.

So, I’m excited. I’m excited for the future. The ceiling is nowhere in sight. There is no ceiling for me.”

 Adesanya and Whittaker are the two best 185-pound fighters in the world. Although the gap between them may have narrowed slightly since UFC 243, the gulf between Whittaker and whoever qualifies as No. 3 on any given day has only widened.

 A very big congratulation to a fellow Naija man.

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Jeff Zucker , CNN President Resigns.

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CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, the influential news executive who reshaped the iconic network, announced Wednesday morning that he has resigned from his position effective immediately.
Zucker’s stunning announcement came less than two months after he fired prime time anchor Chris Cuomo for improperly advising his brother, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, about how to address sexual misconduct allegations.
“As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo’s tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years,” Zucker told employees in a memo. “I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today.”
Zucker did not name his colleague, but the relationship is with Allison Gollust, his key lieutenant for the last two decades. Gollust is remaining at CNN.

Allison Gollust, the lady at the center of the scandal

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Owerri- Mom, survives a Ritual attack by her son-Video

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In South-Eastern Nigeria, there has been an uptick in ritual killings lately. Many Young men are killing their loved ones to get rich quicker.

A few days ago in Owerri, the Capital City of Imo State, a mother narrowly escaped the cold hands of death, orchestrated by her son. The man hatched a plan to kill his mother for money-making ritual. The mother fought with every strength in her as she got stabbed, repeatedly by her son.

An eyewitness said the woman was invited over by her son. On getting to his apartment, the boy approached her with a knife with the intention to kill her. Luck ran against him when the mother broke loose, pushed her way through the window and fell with her son in tow. The woman’s will and strength to be alive saved her as she got stabbed repeatedly. Please watch the video……..

Owerri Mother Survives ritual attack by her son
The Boy from Hell

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Owerri- Mom, survives a Ritual attack by her son-Video

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