By Anayo Ugwoegbu
Fraud was one of the invariable factors established by Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, through his legal team, led by Chief Kanu Agabi SAN, CON in their application for the Supreme Court to set aside its January 14, 2020 misjudgement on the 2019 Imo State governorship election, that the apex court erroneously awarded to Senator Hope Uzodimma.
And according to pundits, fraud is indeed apt and succinct summary of the whole mumbo-jumbo pertaining to the highly controversial and contentious 388 polling units and the ridiculous votes and result sheets emanating therefrom, which were submitted by Uzodimma, and on which the Supreme Court based its misjudgement.
Without any further preambles, the following is the exact and precise, unedited statement by Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, through his legal team to prove that the declaration of Senator Uzodimma as winner of the election and consequently governor of Imo State was based on fraud.
Enjoy the treasure of facts:
“THE JUDGMENT SOUGHT TO BE SET ASIDE IS A NULLITY IN THAT WAS OBTAINED BY FRAUD”
“The Appellants/Respondents misled this court into holding that a total of 213,495 votes were unlawfully excluded from the votes scored by the 1st Appellant/Respondent in the gubernatorial election of 9th March 2019 in Imo State.
“The 1st Appellant/Respondent admitted under cross-examination that it was him and not the 3rd Respondent [INEC] or any of its officials, who computed the result that allotted to him the 213,495 votes alleged to have been excluded from his total votes in the election.
“The total votes cast as shown in the 1st Appellant’s computation was more than the total number of voters accredited for the election and in some polling units more than the total number of registered voters.
“The result computed by the 1st Appellant showed only the votes of the 1st Applicant and the 1st Appellant without specifying the votes scored by the other 68 candidates who participated in the election.
“Exhibits 63RD1 to 63RD19 (INEC Forms EC40G) show that there were no valid elections in the 388 polling units where the additional 213,495 votes claimed by the 1st Appellant were allegedly generated.
“We submit that the judgment sought to be set aside was obtained by fraud because the 1st Appellant/Respondent fraudulently misrepresented to this honourable court that he had an additional 213,495 votes which were unlawfully excluded from the final result by the 3rd Respondent. To this end the 1st Appellant/Respondent pleaded a table of excluded votes (Exhibit KGA3) which are at pages 9-27, Volume 1 of the Records. In that table the 1st Appellant/Respondent failed to plead the votes scored by the 70 candidates who participated in the election. He only pleaded his own votes and the votes alleged to have been scored by the 1st Applicant. In ADAMS v UMAR (2010) All FWLR (Pt 513) 1289 at 1386 – 1387 paras H-B it was held that –
‘While there is no obligation on the petitioner to join any candidate who lost the election as a party, the petitioner has a duty to comply with the provisions of paragraph 4(i) (c) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2006 by stating among other particulars, the names and scores of ALL the candidates that participated in the election … The raison d’etre for this is that, where in an election petition a petitioner fails to plead the scores of all the candidates at the election, it will be impossible to grant any prayer that the petitioner was the duly elected candidate or that the 1st respondent was not the duly elected candidate.’
“Apart from the fatal error of failing to plead the result of all the candidates in his table of excluded votes, the 1st Appellant/Respondent also admitted in his evidence during cross-examination at page 2601-2603 in Volume 4 of the Record that the number of votes he allocated to himself in the table are in excess of the registered voters in the polling units where he claimed he obtained those votes. He further admitted under cross-examination at page 2603 of the Record that instead of INEC he was the person who computed the disputed votes tabulated in the petition.
“In his private and personal tabulation of the votes (shown at pages 9-27 of Volume 1 of the Records) the 1st Appellant/Respondent stated in column 69 that in Polling Unit 08 in Eziama/Okpalla Ward he scored 819 votes whereas the total number of registered voters was 462. In column 285 he stated that in Polling Unit 12 in Odudiaro Ward he scored 780 votes whereas the total number of registered voters were 449. In column 377 he stated that in Polling Unit 6 in Umuozu Ward he scored 367 votes and the 1st Applicant scored 4 votes making a total of 371 votes whereas the total number of registered voters was 367. In column 384 he stated that in Polling Unit 6 in Umunkwo ward he scored 526 votes and the 1st Applicant scored 2 votes making a total of 528 votes whereas the total number of registered voters was 526. These are just a few examples of the fraudulent results the 1st Appellant/Respondent induced this court into accepting as a part of his votes.
“In the tabulation of the votes at pages 9-27 in Volume 1 of the Record, the 1st Appellant/Respondent did not state the number of accredited voters in each of the listed 388 polling units. He stated only the total number of registered voters. We submit that without a record of accredited voters, the votes alleged to have been scored in those polling units were invalid and void because there can be no valid votes without accreditation – FAYEMI v ONI (2009) All FWLR (Pt 493) 1254 at 1309 paras F-H. So evidently the scores in those 388 polling units were allocated arbitrarily. They were not the product of a valid election, and this was corroborated by the evidence of DW5 who tendered INEC Form EC40G as Exhibits 63RD1 to 63RD19 to show that in those polling units, the election was cancelled due to electoral violence as reported by the presiding officers in those units.
“Unfortunately this court was misled into accepting the fraudulent result tabulated by the 1st Appellant/Respondent and consequently 213,695 votes were added for the 1st Appellant/Respondent and 1,903 votes were added for the 1st Applicant. This brought the total number of votes cast in the election to 953,038, while the total number of voters accredited for the election as shown in Exhibit A1 was 823,743. This is a clear case of fraud and corrupt practice for which the nullification of the election is the only proper order this court can make by virtue of section 40(2) of the Electoral Act (as amended). In effect, the judgment and orders returning the 1st Appellant/Respondent as elected are contrary to law and evidence and is to that extent a nullity.
“Where a judgment is obtained fraudulently as in the instant case, we submit that the court which gave the judgment is entitled to set it aside upon an application such as this. In OGBU v URUM (1981) LPELR 2290SC at 20 paras C-E, this court held that –
‘…..a court would also have inherent jurisdiction to set aside its judgment if it could be shown that it was obtained by fraud.
“Also in EDE v MBA (2011) LPELR 8234SC at 26-28 paras E-A this court held that –
‘….this court under section 22 of the Supreme Court Act and Order 6 has the power to set aside in certain circumstances its decision like any other court where the circumstances demand, such as (i) where any of the parties obtained judgment by fraud or deceit (ii) where such a decision is a nullity or (iii) where it is obvious that the court was misled into giving the decision’.”
There’s nothing to add or subtract. No addition no subtraction. It a quod erat demonstradum QED!
On Hon. Emeka Ihedioha’s legal team include the following legal luminaries:
*Kanu Agabi, SAN, CON
*Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN
*J. T. U. Nnodum, SAN
*K.C.O Njemanze, SAN
*S. I Ameh, SAN
*Emeka Etiaba, SAN
*Umeh Kalu, SAN
*Emeka Okpoko, SAN
*L. M. Alozie, SAN
*Essien H. Andrew, SAN
*S. A. Anyalewechi, Esq.
*A. S. Ogujiofor, Esq.
*Uchenna Njoku, Esq.