Imo: What If Supreme Court Reverses Judgement In Favour Of Ihedioha?


Majorly two sets of people will never forget the 14th of January, 2019 in Imo State. One person was elevated across the skies and the other was unbelievably demoted. They are the Emeka Ihedioha, a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain who was just the governor for 7 months and 2 weeks and a two-time senator, Hope Uzodinma from the ruling All Progressives Congress who was challenging the victory of the former from a distant 4th position in the gubernatorial election of 2019.
That day, not only Imo State was divided into two classes of people notably, the celebrants and the wailers, Nigeria as a whole was divided. Everybody suddenly became emergency lawyers, judges and political analysts. There wasn't much they could do because the judgement of the Supreme Court which sacked Ihedioha with immediate effect and installed his rival, Uzodinma was final. Any aggrieved person would also make his case in heaven and that is on the unknown day of judgement. Mathematicians brought out their calculators and started wondering how Uzodinma was able to cover that gap of 176,946 votes which is as wide as the distance between the rich and the power in Nigeria. Uzodinma's lawyers were able to convince the judges with initially dismissed election results in 388 polling units and that made him the winner which many feel isn't mathematically accurate as the valid votes now exceed the number of accredited voters. One thing was clear to me as an observer, Ihedioha had tasted power which he had been longing for over years with a former governor, Rochas Okorocha bullying him around politically, he will never accept that judgement in good faith even if heaven falls. He soon gathered his team of lawyers led by a popular legal luminary Kanu Agabi (SAN) and they applied for a review of the judgement which many found alien to their peripheral knowledge of the legal system in Nigeria.
Officially, no date has been fixed for the review of the Supreme Court judgement although the 9th of March, 2020 is being peddled around on social media. The review might be another interesting event in the history of politics in Nigeria and it will certainly change the political climate in the country. Like every game in life, there are always winners and losers but we all want to be winners and that is where trouble starts. The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad has been given the short end of the stick since Uzodinma became governor. Many believe his appointment through the controversial exit of his predecessor, Justice Walter Onnoghen weakened the judiciary as he appears to be manipulated by the Federal Government. If the judgement is reviewed in favour of Ihedioha, it will be a dent on his resume for an initial 'miscarriage of justice' which is quite costly. The narrative will be that he was only coerced into doing the right thing as a result of public pressure. The distrust Nigerians have in public institutions will be further reinforced. More politicians will be applying for reviews of Supreme Court judgement citing the case of Ihedioha vs Uzodinma.
Father Ejike Mbaka will not be spared at all. His controversial January 1,2020 prophecy of the dramatic takeover of Uzodinma who has a close ties to him was already seen as political and not actually divine. A reversal of the judgement will have far-reaching implications on his credibility as a 'man of God'. Will the new explanation be that God who the Holy Bible says is infallible and never changes, suddenly changed his mind after listening to the cries of Ihedioha and the Imolites who love him? Its also going to be a huge loss to people who have increased the spiritual ratings of Mbaka following the seemingly powerful 'prophecy'.
Another set of heavy casualties of a reversal of the judgement will be Governor Hope Uzodinma who has just tasted the sweet seat of power for barely two months as at when it might happen. He is already enjoying the media attention and respect attached to being the first man of a state. He is giving orders here and there and virtually taking none. He is allocating projects to contractors and giving life-transforming appointments to his loyalists. His former foe, Rochas Okorocha, Uche Nwosu and others are getting friendly with him suddenly for obvious reasons. If he is sacked, all will go away in a twinkle of an eye and his appointees, dependants and would-be beneficiaries will experience setbacks. The ruling APC which is spreading its influence in the South-east and South-south parts of Nigeria will also have a share of the snag.
The biggest winner if the judgement is reversed will be Ihedioha and then his followers who have been wining and dinning in the last 7 months like they have no worries. Ihedioha wouldn't care about the state of the judiciary anymore as far as the mantle of leadership is returned to him. He will only undo the immediate works of Uzodinma like he has been doing to that of Okorocha and then he continues from where he stopped in Imo State.
As a Political Scientist, I fear any fresh controversial decision made by the Supreme Court in Imo State might lead to political instability that could endanger lives and properties. Imolites have been divided since the judgement. Even religious leaders especially in the Christendom who are supposed to be apolitical have been issuing press statements against each other. There might be protests, counter-protests and subsequently riots in Imo State which has been relatively peaceful. 
Meanwhile, I don't expect much drama if the initial judgement stands apart from some ramblings in the media space by partisan figures. People are already facing the reality of Uzodinma coming to stay and the governor has been playing the politics of acceptance well by dangling fresh carrots here and there to appease all quarters in the state.
Well, no matter the direction the review of judgement goes, many will still be dissatisfied. The Supreme Court faces a delicate trial period in its history.

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About Osahon

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on smile2georgex@yahoo.com Phone number: +2347053302356.
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