“It is the right of each man, in parliament or out of it, in the press or over the transmission, to offer reasonable remark, even candid remark, on issues of public interest. The individuals who remark can manage all that is done in a 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) followed through on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, a seven-man board of the Supreme Court of Nigeria invalidated the appointment of the recent 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 announcement of Lord Denning as a main priority, Imo Progressive Lawyers Association (IPLF) has considered it significant to pose specific appropriate inquiries in regards to the Supreme Court rulingthat fired 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. Furthermore, more significantly, it isn’t lost on us thatformer lead representative Ihediohahas moved toward the summit court for an audit of the judgment that removed him. The outcome is that the matter having been submitted to the Supreme Court remains subjudice. As legal counselors, we are careful that remarking on cases sub judice are for the most part thought to be unseemly. Notwithstanding, we are obliged to bring up the accompanying issues subsequent to having perused the full judgment of the pinnacle court.
Prior to diving into current realities of the matter, it is informative to take note of that Section 179 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as altered) manages the votes that a competitor should gather at a gubernatorial political race to be proclaimed champ. That part gives:
179 (2): A possibility for a political race to the workplace of legislative leader of a state will be considered to have been properly chosen where, there being at least two applicants –
he has the largest number of votes cast at the political decision; and
he has at the very least one-fourth of all votes cast in each of something like 66% of all the neighborhood government regions in the state.
Directed by the protected mandates above, we analyze the undisputed realities in the new judgment. The particular realities to note are:
The first Appellant (Hope Uzodinma) recorded a request testing the arrival of the first Respondent (Emeka Ihedioha) on two grounds:
(a) The first Respondent was not truly chosen by larger part of legitimate votes cast; and
(b) The revelation and return of the first Respondent is invalid by reason of rebelliousness with the Electoral Act. (See page 2 of the lead judgment conveyed byKudiratMotonmoriOlatokunboKekere-Ekun JSC).
Decisions were held in 27 Local Government Areas, 305 electing wards and 3, 523 surveying units. The third Respondent (INEC) dropped the political decision in 252 surveying units, grouped outcomes from 2,883 surveying units and avoided results from 388 surveying units. The first Respondent asserted that he scored 213,695 votes from just the 388 surveying units avoided. (See pages 2-3 Kekere-Ekun JSC’s judgment).
Section 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 erroneous computationof political race results as affirmed. (See pages 31-32 of Kekere-Ekun JSC’s judgment).
Having set up the law and the undisputed realities regarding the present situation, we try 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 additionally 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 citizens per surveying unit is 500 except if there are extra democratic focuses made. Once more, 500 citizens duplicated by 388 surveying units can’t be more than 194,000.00 votes. In other words that 500 citizens duplicated by 366 would likewise, give just a most extreme conceivable of just 183,000 votes. Mindful of the conviction of passings, elector moves and citizen lack of concern, the chance of every one of the 500 citizens in each of the 388 (or 366) surveying units casting a ballot during a political decision is extremely 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 openings that should put the pinnacle court on its enquiry.
C. Inquisitive, the Supreme Court wouldn’t investigate the cross-allure of the First Respondent (Emeka Ihedioha), holding that the fundamental allure had made it pointless to assess the cross offer. With due regard to the summit court, maybe, if the cross-claim 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 corrected) have been completely conformed to as would warrant the invalidation of Ihedioha’s political decision and the presentation of Uzodinmaas the genuine champ?
Equity, they say, is definitely not a sheltered excellence. She should be permitted to experience the investigation and aware, even straightforward, remarks of standard men”. – “Master Atkin in Ambard versus Principal legal officer for Trinidad and Tobago (1936) AC 322, 335. As pastors in the sanctuary of equity and similarly as partners in the Imo administration engineering,
Imo Progressive Lawyers Association are moved by Lord Atkin’s rebuke to bring up the above legitimate issues. We table these worries as amicus curia, fuelled by the profound worry that the precept of gaze decisis would be compromised if these issues are not thoroughly rethought by the pinnacle court.
In the last examination, the Supreme Court is a strategy court, with its choices restricting on each lower court, yet on any remaining foundations and chief arms of government. In accordance with the all out bindingness of Supreme Court’s judgment, Hope Uzodinma was confirmed as lead representative with cheerful readiness. Our essential concern thusly is that equity wins. Not just that, each system of the state should get its authenticity from famous popular government and sound use of law and order.
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 journalist… He takes note of all that go on and makes a reasonable and exact report of it… He is, I verily accept guard dog of equity… The adjudicator will be mindful so as to see that the preliminary is decently 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 more restless to give a right choice in the event that he realizes that his reasons should legitimize themselves at the bar of popular assessment’.
“At the point when an adjudicator sits on a case, he personally is being investigated… In case there is any unfortunate behavior on (his) part, any predisposition or bias, there is a columnist to watch out for him.” Lord Denning in his location under the steady gaze of the High Court Journalists Association as revealed in the Times of third December 1964.
Marked Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, General Secretary
Matthias Emeribe, Publicicty Secretary,
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