The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has said Hon. Emeka Ihedioha was not supposed to have been declared governor of Imo State from the onset.
The Chairman of the ruling party also placed the blame for the initial confusion and questions that trailed the Supreme Court judgement on the Imo State governorship election on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for flouting the provisions of the Constitution.
Comrade Oshiomhole stated these on Friday while addressing the State House Press Corps after presenting the Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, to President Muhammadu Buhari for the first time as a governor on the platform of the ruling party.
According to the party Chairman, besides the fact that the INEC chose to exclude a huge number of validly cast votes in its final collation of the Imo State governorship election, the ground on which the Supreme Court eventually based its final decision, the decision of the electoral umpire to declare the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate, Ihedioha, who failed to meet the constitutional condition of meeting a quarter of votes cast in two-thirds of the council areas of the state was a violation of the Constitution.
“I think there’s something the media has strictly refused to focus on and with respect, I think that a lot of the views that people parade are derived from what I call the electronic media lawyers. Is here any of us in this room, who is not aware that at the time Emeka Ihedioha was declared, even the returning officer could not show that he scored the constitutional requirement of at least one quarter of the total votes cast, in at least two-thirds of the local government areas.
“On that criterion alone, there is no question that in the eyes of the law, Emeka Ihedioha ought not to have been declared because he had those numbers only in nine local government areas and of course you know the state has about 27 local government areas. So as journalists, is nine a two-thirds of 27?
“INEC completely and irresponsibly misbehaved by using a professor who seemed to be so senile that he didn’t know that nine is not two-thirds and. This is very serious and because they take advantage of the fact that once the INEC makes a pronouncement, even if the pronouncement is made by a lunatic in INEC, you can’t reverse it, you’ll have to go to court and this fits into PDP’s fixation; they’ll always say go to court.
“They just feel that it is their birthright to continue to rig elections. So the next time you see them talking, ask them how many local government did PDP score one-quarter of the votes in the total votes cast in how many local government.
“That is not in the provision of the Electoral Act, that is an express provision of the Nigerian Constitution. I think all of you should read the Nigerian Constitution and ask INEC to give you the results of Imo, even their own version, even excluding that of Governor Hope Uzodinma, you will find that Emeka Iheidioha ought not to have been declared.
“For me, it shows that nobody is interrogating INEC and that is why they are getting away with blue murder. And this is minus the fact that INEC has not explained why they did not collate votes that were certified and signed by the presiding officers, appointed by INEC in each of the 388 polling units. If there is something wrong with those votes, INEC is on record to having had course to cancelled unit votes where they are dissatisfied. Those votes were not cancelled, they just chose to ignore them”, he said.
Speaking further, the party leader noted that the opposition PDP had received too much-underserved connivance from some state institutions, so much that the party had assumed that some of its alleged wrong patterns when challenged, it resorts to attacking the state and its institutions.
He cited the example of the recent public protests organised by the PDP to lament its loss in Imo State, noting that although the case in Imo was one of righting a wrong done, there had been several cases where the ruling APC had suffered real injustices, meted out to it by the Judiciary and the INEC, but for which it never considered pulling down the state and its apparatuses.
“When I see people protesting, that is my primary constituency, to do protests but I don’t run after mad man when he is naked and I have to join him to run because I want to make a point. That is the reason we just allowed them to the sort of thing they were doing. Have you also found out what happened in Sokoto?
“There are a lot of issues that INEC cannot defend but we have to leave with the pain. Look at Rivers, for some technical reasons we were told we cannot even have candidates, and nobody asked questions. But because we are ruling party, we cannot just begin to go to the streets and begin to protests those things. You also know of another state Zamfara, where we won governorship, Senate, House of Representatives, Supreme Court said our primaries were not perfect, therefore those who were not in the ballot box were declared, so we lived with that pain.
“If it is about mobilizing people to attack, we would have mobilized out to the Supreme Court but that will not be a responsible behaviour in a democracy. So we lived with the pain because we understand that, we operate under the principle of separation of powers. So please don’t accept those half-truths that PDP is parading.
“I think this is important, when I saw Secondus leading that protest, I was tempted to tell him who is the real protester, how did Wike, Emmanuel Udom and Dickson become governors? Supreme Court ordered the previous leadership, choose to completely dismiss the use of card reader, that is what has brought a lot of mischiefs now into our electoral system.
“Because, whereas the law recognize the power of INEC to make bylaws and those bylaws are you enforceable in court and there are judicial pronouncements holding those bylaws, when they wanted to allow these PDP states to be returned, their elections having been annualified by elections petition tribunal, nullified by the court of appeal on the basis that they did not comply with INEC guidelines, as regards to using card reader, the Supreme Court looking for escape route for PDP, decided that the use of card reader, yes though in the INEC guidelines, is not in the law. Can everything possibly be in the law?
“The same court recognized the fact the power of INEC to make rules and regulations for smooth conduct of elections. We have stomach all of these because as they say two wrongs don’t make a right. If we choose to question on the streets of Nigeria, all of the impunity we have seen that have affected APC negatively coming from our courts, there will be no peace anywhere.
“But we have said that somebody must bear the price of peace that is why we choose to keep quiet, it doesn’t mean PDP has any valid case. Ask Emeka Iheidioha how many local government areas did he score 1/4 votes, these are not classified matters”, Oshiomhole said.