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Imo State: The Judiciary As The Last Hope Of The Common Man – Prince Eze Ugochukwu

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THE JUDICIARY AS THE LAST HOPE OF THE COMMON MAN

By Prince Eze Ugochukwu

All over the world, the Judiciary, is regarded as the last hope of the common man.What it means is that, the courts are the only place the common man can get justice!When there is a dispute, and the parties cannot settle amicably between themselves, a party to the dispute can resort to the court in search of remedy and justice.The judgement of a court can affect a person either good or bad. Most importantly, the court will not allow the common man’s hope to be lost.It will be shocking to our shared sensibilities if people resort to self help in settling their matter. This will amount to jungle approach to justice.

Here in Imo State, a cross section of the public has continued to serve us
with the accusatory madness of questioning the integrity of the Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria over their judgement of the Imo State governorship election of 2019 which ruling was delivered on the 14th of January 2022 in favour of His Excellency Governor Hope Uzodimma.

Hope Uzodimma did not take up violent arms against anybody. He did not engage in slander. He did not fire any gun nor use illegal weapons against anybody. He did not embark on press interviews neither did he instigate street protests or demonstrations to breach the peace.

What Uzodimma did was very simple.He asked the court to tabulate the results from 388 polling units. These results were already signed by agents of all the political parties, and collated by the election authorities, but were not added before the final pronouncement of the results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

This same INEC could not satisfactorily explain their reasons of excluding an already signed and collated polling unit results. Neither could INEC present evidence to show that the results from the 388 polling units were cancelled. In any case, and as required by law, duplicate copies of the results had been submitted to the security agencies namely the police.

Infact, the police under summons tended their copies of the result.When Uzodimma lost his case at the tribunal, he did not kill anybody nor disturb the peace. He quietly appealed to the Court of Appeal as a firm believer that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man.Indeed Hope Uzodimma was a common man then. He was not holding any public office. He was merely an ordinary citizen looking for justice.

Uzodimma then proceeded to the Supreme Court of Nigeria where he asked for the same relief. He asked the justices of the apex court to carefully look into the results from 388 polling units which were excluded by INEC before making their pronouncement as to who rightly and legitimately won the governorship election in Imo State.That was all !!!!And the Supreme Court agreed with him and tabulated the results.Uzodimma finally won and all hell was let loose.

He was called the Supreme Court Governor as if he was the only Governor in Nigeria that obtained justice from the apex court.

At least 30 other sitting governors got their mandate through the Supreme Court.The epitaph of Supreme Court Governor was not even enough for those he defeated.

They took the more dangerous road of accusing the Supreme Court justices of corruption and bribe taking. As if this was not enough, they equally accused the justices of taking orders from unknown quarters. They labelled the justices as disreputable and dishonourable.

Beyond all these, the losers went as far as demostrating in front of foreign embassies in Abuja. They submitted petitions to the embassies of foreign nations accusing the Supreme Court of Nigeria of corruption. They violated the sovereignty of Nigeria as an independent nation.

The embassies categorically ignored them and refused to dabble into the affairs of their host nation. The embassies refused to join them in condemnation of the apex court of an independent Nigeria.Not done, they signalled their foot soldiers to embark on street demostrations and protests in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

For days, Owerri was kept at standstill by riotous gangs unleashed to cripple all activities of citizens.Open statements of making Imo State ungovernable were issued to the press. An amalgram of interest with non state actors was consolidated. The rest is the obvious history of mayhem Imo witnessed.

People were massacred, beheaded, kidnapped, human flesh boiled and roasted for dinner. Our revered traditional rulers were gunned down mercilessly. Policemen, army men, civil defence, INEC officers were assasinated in large numbers. Police formations were burnt down, so also the prison and even homes belonging to innocent people. The Governor’s home was not left out as it was burnt to pieces.

In all these mayhem, the so called democratic opposition did not rise to defend democratic institutions. They did not issue any statement in condemnation, neither did they condole with the victims. Infact all they did was to heap and pile up accusations against the Governor while extending salutations to the culprits.In all these, Governor Hope Uzodimma in his usual characteristic kept quiet.

On many occasions he summoned meetings of critical stakeholders where he appealed for peace, reconciliation and cooperation. He opened his hands of fellowship to embrace harmony and inclusion. His opponents rejected all entreaties for peace.But God was not asleep. Not at all.Dramatically God arose in his mighty glory and opened the mouth of Uzodimma’s detractors. They now convicted themselves by their own words.

They stated that unless Uzodimma leaves the Imo State Government House, then there will be no peace. They announced that Uzodimma will not succeed in doing anything so long as they are there. And you begin to wonder. When has seeking refuge in the bosom of the courts become a crime?. When has accepting the verdict of a court like Uzodimma did become a crime.?Imo people are thanking their God that Uzodimma is not a violent and wicked man despite all the dirts thrown at him.

The story would have been different if not for the grace and fear of God which resides in the heart of Governor Hope Uzodimma.No wonder his parents called him HOPE, which he has justified in all his conduct by restoring hope to the people through fantastic infrastructures.

No wonder his people invested on him the traditional title of “ONWA” the moon that glows for everybody irrespective of who you are, whether rich or poor, whether friend or foe.May God continue to keep Imo safe.

Eze Ugochukwu is the Special Adviser to Imo State Governor on Public Enlightenment.

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