Categories: On the GoThe Nation

Ozekhome: Legal experts must check if there’s justice in s’court ruling on Imo

Author:
Femi Owolabi

Mike Ozekhome, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), says there is a need to interrogate the supreme court judgement declaring Hope Uzodinma winner of the 2019 Imo governorship election. 

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Emeka Ihedioha winner of the election but Uzodinma, who came fourth, challenged the outcome of the election in court.

On Tuesday, in a unanimous decision, a seven-man panel of the apex court sacked Ihedioha and asked INEC to return Uzodinma as the elected governor.

Reacting in a statement, Ozekhome said the supreme court decision was final but analysts must check whether the judgement was delivered according to the law. 

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“There is ordinarily a presumption by the society that the supreme court, being the final court of the land, is supposed to be right in its decisions, after rigorous and painstaking perusal of cases brought before it between feuding parties,” he said.

“However, the next stage is for legal pundits, analysts and academicians, to dissect the judgement thoroughly, to decipher if it met the justice of the case, having regard to the available facts. I do not have these facts, not being one of the counsel in the appeal. They must interrogate whether the judgement actually delivered justice according to law. 

“After all, law is but a handmaid instituted by man to deliver justice. The two are siamese twins. One without the other is bare and vacuous. One area that needs critical analysis and  interrogation is what makes a candidate that came 4th in an election to be declared the winner of that election. Another area that requires an urgent answer is why INEC has so failed the nation that presidents and governors are now being packaged and delivered for the country and states, against  the clear choice of the electorate at the polls. 

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“If INEC got its acts right, the judiciary’s frequent interventions would have been greatly minimised. Today, INEC is neither independent, impartial, nor well equipped to count the electorate’s votes and also allow such votes to count. That is the sorry state we are in today, especially since 2015. May God help Nigeria.” 

The senior lawyer said he believes in the rule of law and its sanctity, and also believes in total and absolute obedience to court orders. 

Obedience to court orders, he added, is one of the inescapable building blocks of constitutional democracy.

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