Emeka Ihedioha, former governor of Imo, has accused the supreme court of contravening the will of the people of the state.
In his last address as governor, Ihedioha said people of the state clearly elected him.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Ihedioha winner of the election but Hope Uzodinma, who came fourth, challenged the outcome of the election in court.
According to INEC results, Ihedioha, who ran under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secured 273,404 votes in the election; Uche Nwosu of Action Alliance had 190,364 votes; Ifeanyi Ararume of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) polled 114,676 votes while Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) secured 96,458 votes.
But in a unanimous decision on Tuesday, a seven-man panel held that Ihedioha did not win majority of votes cast in the election.
Ihedioha said although he did not accept the verdict of the court, he decided to comply with it as a democrat.
“In my relationship with you as Governor of Imo , I had employed regular consultations and dialogue as a tool of political discourse. This informs this course of action.
“I am reporting back to you our great Imo people on the fate of the mandate you freely gave to me as Governor and Engr. Gerald Irona as Deputy Governor. This mandate has now been truncated and cut short by the Supreme Court, in contravention of the will of the people.
“We shall always cherish the tremendous goodwill and support you gave us as we grappled with setting up a new administration to rebuild a state that was devastated by bad governance.
“No doubt, yesterday’s Supreme Court verdict, came to us as a rude shock and surprise considering the facts on ground, legal precedence and clear verdict of Imo People on March 9 2019, that returned me as Governor with the highest valid votes of 273,404
“I do not agree with the judgement of the Supreme Court. I think it is unfair, unjust and does not reflect the voting that took place during the elections. It also didn’t take care of the sensibilities of the people of Imo State. But as true democrats, Engr Gerald Irona and I have no option but to respect the outcome of that judgement.”
Ihedioha directed members of his cabinet to prepare their handover notes immediately, vowing not to be in support of stealing of the state’s resources.
He also highlighted his achievements in the last seven months, thanking the people for having faith in his administration.
“In the last seven months we sought to elevate merit, unity of purpose, honesty, transparency and an inclusive approach to governance, as the hallmarks of our administration. We sought to restore once again, the pride and dignity of Imo people. We worked very hard to re-engineer the Imo renaissance. But God knows why he has allowed this current state of affairs.
“Consequently, we have put machinery in motion to hand-over the reins of office to the APC Candidate as the the next governor of Imo State. This will be coordinated by the Secretary to the State Government. I therefore direct all members of Imo State Expanded Executive Council, and all political appointees to write their handing-over notes and to return all government properties in their custody, forthwith. I shall not be party to pilfering of Government property or funds.
“May we use this opportunity to express our gratitude to God for the opportunity to serve, within the short period he granted us. We sincerely appreciate you for all your solidarity and goodwill. We would forever cherish and treasure your love, your trust and your partnership. We made our mark. Rebuilding our dear state is neither easy nor personal, but a task undertaken for our today and tomorrow.”
He also appealed to the people to support Uzodinma, adding: “It is my wish that he will continue on the path we had set for the rebuilding of our state as well as consolidate on the progress and milestones we achieved.”