The Supreme Court of Nigeria, in one of the most controversial rulings in the country’ s history, may have removed the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC declared winner of the 2019 General Elections in Imo State, and installed Senator Hope Uzodinma as governor.
But Senator Hope Uzodinma is not yet in the clear, as he dares not go against, or disobey the powers in Abuja, believed to be responsible for his emergence as Imo governor, for fear of losing his seat.
The reason for Uzodinma’ s obedience is very simple; Philip Umeadi SAN.
Before the controversial ruling of the Supreme Court, the Apex Court handed down a judgement to Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, the son inlaw of former Imo govenror, Senator Rochas Okorocha, wherein disqualifying him on the grounds, that he was the candidate of the Action Alliance AA, as well as the All Progressives Congress APC in Imo State.
Several people had wondered if that judgment was personally sought for by the former governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, as a way to cage Senator Hope Uzodinma, should he go against whatever agreements they entered into, to guarantee their support for his coup against Ihedioha.
Umeadi, a former INEC Commissioner, had picked up the two countering rulings by the same Supreme Court, and approached the court to offer explanation as to how, Uche Nwosu was ruled as the APC candidate, yet Hope Uzodinma is sitting as Imo State governor, presumably riding on an APC ticket he is not supposed to have.
As the Supreme Court’ s silence, and seeming reluctance to address this abnormality keeps raising questions of the integrity of the court, there are beliefs in some quarters across the state, that money may be changing hands, to ensure that case doesn’ t come up for hearing.
There are other points of view, that believe that powerful elements in Abuja, are using the case as a check on Senator Hope Uzodinma, to make sure he falls in line, and does as he is told, even if it’ s against the interest of his people.
There are people in the state, who believe that Uzodinma was following orders, when he claimed that he invited the military to Imo State, as an unnamed aide would admit that Uzodinma regretted that politically suicidal statement.
However, some analysts in the state believes Uzodinma has no choice than to do as he is told, or risk having the Philip Umeadi suit called up at the instructions of the powers in Abuja, and that would lead to his sack, and a return to power of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, who according to the final count, from the results Hope Uzodinma produced in court, came second.
There are those who believe that the fear of the Umeadi suit that is hanging over him, may be the reason Uzodinma avoids Southern meetings where decisions Abuja would frown at, such as the ban on open grazing is discussed. Sending his deputy, affords him deniability, which is why, despite the ban on grazing in the South, herdsmen still graze openly in Imo State.
Uzodinma may not be able to stand against any order given to him by powers in Abuja, and any day he refuses to obey, could see the hearing of the Umeadi suit.
Recall also that Uzodinma has an alleged contract scam matter still facing him, concerning a $12million contract in Port Harcourt. Should he be kicked out of office prematurely, before he finds a way to settle that matter, Uzodinma may be looking to return to the courts, to save himself from prison.
The possibilities of such suspected manipulations of the judiciary, have cast serious doubts on the reliability, independence and integrity of the country’ s judicial system.