Hope Uzodimma, Governor of Imo State, has recounted how he secured victory and was declared Governor of Imo State by the Supreme Court, having proved that the results from 388 polling units during the 2019 Imo governorship election were excluded from the overall poll tally.
Speaking in an interview on the occasion of his 64th birthday, Governor Uzodimma narrated how he challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for declaring Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the 2019 Governorship election.
He explained that INEC did not deny the exclusion of the results from the polling units when it was challenged by his legal team.
He said: “I didn’t go to court after the elections to say I was rigged out. I only told the court that INEC conducted elections. We deployed our agents in 388 units. Even in my area of popularity, where I come from, 388 polling units’ results were excluded. Our party agents came back with the results stamped by INEC. We saw clearly that we won the elections. We approached INEC and it didn’t deny the results. It didn’t give us any convincing explanation why the results were not included. We went to the tribunal. INEC came and confirmed the serial numbers on the results.
“They were the same with what they had. We issued a subpoena to the police. Every polling unit result is distributed to the police. That of police tallied with our own. INEC didn’t deny it. It was only the PDP lawyers that said it was not from INEC. They can’t speak for INEC. They said they were fake and we asked for the original, which they couldn’t tender.”
Uzodinma also stated the PDP tried to manipulate the judicial process at the Court of Appeal, but he was far from giving up without seeing the matter to the end.
He said: “The lower court admitted the evidence, but it was ignored during judgment. We went to Appeal Court. They used their contacts to get their way. But one of the Justices wrote a minority judgment. He said INEC erred to have excluded our results. It was not a case of just that we overtook the man who claimed to have come first, but we had the spread required by law. But the announcement by INEC came from only five local governments. The PDP man didn’t meet the spread. The votes he used in “winning” the election came from one local government. I have refrained myself from talking about this issue, but blackmail won’t stop. They’re looking for a distraction.”
The Imo State Governor claimed to be one of the most blackmailed politician in Nigeria, noting that people are offended by the verdict of the Supreme Court, which ruled in his favour.
Citing Rivers State as a case study, Uzodinma said it is not a new phenomenon for the courts to overturn election results.
”I like to be underrated. Many of my colleagues in politics don’t know me. I’m one of the most blackmailed politician in Nigeria. That’s the kind of politics we play where we come from. I’m concerned about legality and legitimacy. I can’t remember any guber election from anywhere in the South that didn’t get to the Supreme Court. The man saying that Anambra isn’t Imo, did he not get to the Supreme Court in his own case? Getting to the Supreme Court is part of the electoral process. When you win, your opponents will take you to court. So, if the Supreme Court has confirmed us, is it now an offence?
”Let those whose elections were confirmed by the Supreme Court tell us why they accepted the judgment. We were here when a governor in Rivers State was declared by the Supreme Court. The man didn’t even participate in the election. He ruled for eight years. Nobody made an issue out of it. The people saying these things today are confused and not truthful to themselves. I think that God must take glory for giving the judiciary the wisdom to give us justice,” he said.