President Muhammadu Buhari says “Imo People have emerged victorious” in reaction to the emergence of Hope Uzodinma, a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the governor of Imo State, southeast Nigeria.
Giving judgment on the election on Tuesday, a seven-man panel of justices in a unanimous decision, held that Ihedioha did not win the majority of votes cast in the election.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who read the judgment, ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Ihedioha and give a fresh one to his APC rival.
“The votes due to the appellant, Hope Uzodinma and the All Progressives Congress (APC) from 388 polling units were wrongly excluded from scores ascribed to them,” Justice Kekere-Ekun ruled.
It is hereby ordered that Emeka Ihedioha, was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the said election. His return as the elected governor of Imo state is hereby declared null and void and accordingly set aside.
“It is hereby declared that the first appellant (Uzodinma) holds the majority of lawful votes cast at the governorship election held in Imo State on March 9, 2019, and has satisfied the mandatory constitutional requirement.
“It is hereby declared that first appellant, senator Hope Uzodinma is the winner of the governorship of Imo State held on March 9, 2019.
The certificate issued to the first respondent (Ihedioha) is hereby withdrawn. It is hereby ordered that the certificate of return shall be issued to the first appellant, senator Hope Uzodinma, forthwith and he should be sworn in as the governor of Imo State,” the judge added.
Reacting to the judgment, President Buhari said: “The road to justice may be long and tortuous, but it is the best path for anyone aggrieved.
“Under the new administration, a new journey to build a new Imo with new energy is about to begin. In this outcome, it is the people of Imo State who have emerged victorious,” the President added.
President Buhari urged Uzodinma to promote the ideals of the APC and unite the state by running an inclusive administration.