HURIWA, in a statement, expressed concerns about allegations of undue influence and attempts to shift the date for the hearing, to a later date after the November 11 governorship elections in Imo State.
The Supreme Court had set October 31, as the date for hearing two separate appeals filed in 2020.
These appeals seek to determine the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 election, an issue that has remained contentious and a source of political instability in Imo State. This decision to fix a date for hearing the cases comes after years of uncertainty, providing a ray of hope for the people of Imo.
The human rights group revealed that it has been actively advocating for a resolution to these pending cases, recognizing their fundamental impact on the state’s political stability.
“The two appeals are a direct result of judgments delivered by the Supreme Court in late 2019 and early 2020, which had far-reaching consequences.
“In late 2019, the apex court disqualified Uche Nwosu from contesting the 2019 gubernatorial election. This ruling was based on Nwosu’s double nomination by the APC and the Action Alliance (AA), a move deemed unconstitutional and in violation of electoral laws.
“Subsequently, in early 2020, the Supreme Court removed Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from his position as the elected governor. The court declared Hope Uzodimma of the APC as the winner of the 2019 governorship election. However, dissatisfaction with how Uzodinma became the APC gubernatorial candidate led to a motion on notice filed by the PDP and Action People’s Party (APP) in 2019. They sought the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the judgment that held Nwosu as the APC’s candidate but disqualified him due to dual nominations by APC and AA.
“Another motion on notice was filed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Philip Umeadi, who asked the Supreme Court to interpret the judgment that disqualified Nwosu and to enforce this judgment regarding the APC’s participation in the 2019 Imo governorship election”.
HURIWA emphasised that justice delayed is justice denied, and the people of Imo State deserve a prompt resolution to the ongoing political impasse. The organization further stressed that the international community is closely watching Nigeria’s efforts to maintain a credible democratic process, and any perceived irregularities could damage the country’s reputation.
Furthermore, HURIWA urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, to resist external pressure and ensure the timely hearing and determination of these crucial cases. The organization stressed that the Supreme Court’s commitment to justice is paramount to restoring the confidence of the people of Imo State in the judiciary.
The statement signed by HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, also exposed an alleged move by some individuals to influence the Supreme Court into changing the hearing date.
The group revealed that significant amounts of money were being used to manipulate the process, with the apparent aim of delaying the hearing until after the November 11th governorship election, which would render the entire process meaningless.
In their final plea, HURIWA urged the Supreme Court not to bow to external pressure but to ensure the timely hearing and determination of the two pending motions. This, they argued, is essential to permanently settle the political impasse in Imo State and to maintain the credibility of Nigeria’s democracy in the eyes of the international community.