[Press Statement] A public policy think tank, the NEO AFRICANA CENTRE, has said that the only condition that can restore normalcy to the political atmosphere in Imo State is for the Supreme Court to revisit the 2019 governorship election in the state and resolve the outstanding issues that have kept the state in a quandary.
The Centre’s reaction is coming on the heels of the just concluded governorship election in the state in which the incumbent governor, Hope Uzodinma, was declared as winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The Centre is of the view that the November 11 election in the state was a sham and will only exacerbate the wounds of electoral malfeasance in the state if it is allowed to stand.
In a statement by its Director of Public Affairs, Jenkins Udu, the think tank maintains that the procured victory of November 11 should be discountenanced as it neither reflected the will of the people nor the quest by Nigerians for credible elections. It further held that the election in question was a mockery of democracy and should therefore not be reckoned with.
The Centre, therefore, said that it is looking up to the Supreme Court more than ever before to rescue Imo from political buccaneers who have held the state hostage since 2019.
To achieve this goal, the Centre wants the Supreme Court to revisit its judgment of December 20, 2019 on Imo governorship which, if it had been given effect to, would have saved Imo and its people all the political anomalies that have been going on in the state.
It therefore expressed delight that the court has fixed December 5, 2023, to resolve the matter.
According to the Centre, the Supreme Court which, through its judgment of January 14, 2020, threw Imo State into turmoil has a historical responsibility to ensure that the state is rescued from the political hawks who have been preying on it.
It also posits that the judgment will afford the apex court the opportunity to redeem itself from negative tags that arose from its previous judgments.
The statement reads in part:
“We watched with dismay and disappointment the charade that took place in Imo state last week in the name of a governorship election. Facts and reports about the election indicate that electioneering in Nigeria has come under the threat of buccaneers whose ultimate goal is to subvert the rule of law and the democratic process. The November 11 governorship election in Imo State typifies and exemplifies this rape and destruction of what is left of our democratic values. We need not overemphasize the fact that the election was needless, it was a waste of time and resources.
“It should be noted that the said election in which Hope Uzodinma, the serving governor of the state, was declared as winner was characterized by large scale voter apathy and a general lack of interest by the people of Imo State on the electoral contest . Reports indicate that even in areas where people filed out to vote, their votes did not count in the end as the exercise was marred by massive vote-buying, ballot box snatching, thuggery and brigandage, a situation that cast a slur on the outcome of the election.
“All thimakeske it imperative for the Supreme Court, which has an unsettled issue over Imo 2019 governorship election to go back to the drawing board and resolve the lingering dispute.
“What transpired in Imo State last Saturday painfully reminded us of where the state was coming from, especially since the dispute over the 2019 governorship election arose. But we are delighted that the Supreme Court has fixed December 5, 2023, to revisit the issue. We urge the court to use this historical opportunity to rescue Imo from the hands of power grabbers who have been holding the state hostage.
“Resolving the issues arising from the Supreme Court judgment of December 20, 2019 will also afford the court the opportunity to save its name from the infamy arising from some of its judgments, particularly that of January 14, 2020 on the 2019 Imo governorship election. The Court should rise to the occasion and save Imo and Nigerians the needlessness of dwelling on and discussing the joke called the November 11 governorship election in the State.
“We also call on the Supreme not to be distracted by the hoopla over the election and focus instead on delivering a credible judgment on December 5, 2023.”