The Supreme Court yesterday said the Independent National Electoral Commission did not counter the result sheets produced by Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress in the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State which made them admissible.
The apex court, in a copy of the judgment released yesterday said the Court of Appeal and the election petition tribunal misread the pleadings by Uzodinma and APC in their dismissal of the petition and appeal.
The Supreme Court had on January 14 nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party who polled 273,404, and declared Uzodinma who polled 96,458 votes winner after his 213, 695 votes from 388 polling units were added to his total result. According to the Supreme Court, the main issue by Uzodinma and APC was that votes due to them in 388 polling units were excluded, which if added, they would have emerged winners.
In the lead judgment read by Justice Kudirate Kekere-Ekun, the apex court said while INEC alleged that the results pleaded by Uzodinma, through the police officer, were false, it did not call any witness and did not tender any documents to counter it. “Having pleaded that the documents are false, the respondents made allegations of a criminal nature against the appellants. They were required to plead the specific elements of fraud and lead evidence showing the genuine results. Not only must the allegations be proved beyond reasonable doubt, it must also be proved that the appellants personally committed or aided and abetted the commission of the crime or that they procured the commission of the crime through their agents or officials,” she said.