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Emeka Ihedioha vs Hope Uzodinma: Imo Assembly orders prosecution of University Vice-chancellor, Prof Otunta

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The Imo State House of Assembly, has asked relevant government authorities to arrest and prosecute the Returning officer of the 2019 governorship election conducted in Imo state, Professor Francis Otunta.

Professor Otunta is the current Vice Chancellor of the Michael Okpara Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia state.

The State Assembly, made the demand during it’s plenary session, in a motion moved on Friday in Owerri.

The lawmakers berated the alleged electoral malpractices which heightened tension in the state, since the supreme court sacked Emeka Ihedioha, of the PDP and installed Senator Hope Uzodinma of the APC as governor of Imo state.

Recall that the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, was declared winner of the governorship election in Imo State.

He polled 273,404 to defeat candidate of the Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law who polled a total of 190,364.

The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ifeanyi Ararumecame third with 114, 676 while Hope Uzondima of the All Progressives Congress (APC) polled 96,458 while the Accord Party candidate was fifth with 6,846 votes.

INEC Imo State Returning Officer and Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Umundike, Abia State, Francis Atunta, put the total votes at 2,221,008 and the total accredited voters as 823,743.

25,130 votes were cancelled across the state with total valid votes as 714,355 while the total votes cast is 739,485.

However, the Supreme Court of Nigeria had last month, declared Uzodinma, the candidate of the APC in the 2019 governorship election as Imo Governor.

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A seven-man panel of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, unanimously declared Hope Uzodinma as the winner of the March 9, 2019, governorship election and the validly elected governor of the state.

In the judgment read by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the judges unanimously agreed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was wrong to have excluded some votes from the scores of Uzodinma.

The judge said with the result, the APC governorship candidate polled majority of lawful votes and ought to have been declared winner by INEC.

But, in the motion as moved by the member representing Obowo state constituency, Kennedy Ibeh and cosponsored by twenty other members, the Assembly accused the state Resident Electoral Commission(REC), Prof. Chukwuemeka Ezeonu and the Returning Officer, Prof. Francis Otunta of illegally declaring Ihedioha winner hence, should be made to face the music.

While supporting the motion, which prayed that the state Resident Electoral Commissioner and Returning Officer, who declared Emeka Ihedioha winner of March 9 Imo governorship election be arrested and prosecuted forthwith, Eddy Obinna, the member representing Aboh Mbaise state constituency, begged the ousted Governor and PDP supporters to embrace the new government instead of taking to the streets to protest a judgement which, according to him, is final.

Meanwhile, Professor Francis Otunta, the INEC Returning officer during the last March 9 gubernatorial election in Imo state, could not be reached to respond to claims by the Imo lawmakers as at the time of this report.

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