Youths under the aegis of Imo Youth Council (IYC) have petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Tanko, to wade into the Constitutional crisis brewing in the State over the outcome of the general election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Emeka Ihedioha as the governor-elect.
But in a petition signed by the National President and National Speaker of the IYC, Comrade Ikechukwu Obiora and Hon Samuel Godstime Chukwubuikem respectively, the youths urged the CJN to prevail on INEC to observe and respect the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution as it applies to the emergence of a winner in a governorship election.
They posited that the declaration of the PDP candidate as the governor-elect is a clear violation of the Constitution and should be reversed before it escalates into full-blown Constitutional crisis.
According to the youths, INEC as an institution should not operate outside the provisions of the Constitution or laws establishing it, adding that no person or institution is above the Constitution.
The petition read in part, “We the youths of Imo state and other well-meaning Imolites have observed with grave concern, the flagrant disregard of the Nigerian Constitution by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the governorship election of Imo State.
“INEC returned the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Emeka Ihedioha as governor-elect in a reckless violation of Section 179 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which stipulates that a candidate for an election to the office of the Governor of a State shall be deemed to have been duly elected where, there being two or more candidates; he has the highest number of votes cast at the election, and he has not less than one-quarter of all the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the Local Government Areas in the State.
“The statistics of the result of the governorship election showed that the PDP candidate did not score the percentage of vote required to be declared as governor-elect. We are therefore as Concerned Youths of Imo State soliciting your intervention to prevail on INEC to withdraw the purported declaration and order a fresh election to avoid impending Constitutional crisis”.
“We are therefore demanding that a date be fixed for a fresh election in the state and if a winner emerges in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, we shall gladly accept the verdict as the collective will of the people of the state, but we will employ all legitimate means to ensure that the illegality foisted on the people of the state by INEC does not stand”.
Meanwhile, twenty political parties have also called on INEC not to issue Certificate of Return to the PDP candidate because according to them, no winner has emerged yet in the March 9 governorship election.
The candidates described the declaration by the State Returning Officer for the governorship election, Prof. Francis Otunta as shocking and an aberration, adding that, “as a Professor of mathematics, he should have known what 25% of 2-3rd votes cast in the 27 Local Government Areas”.
They strongly contended that the declaration not in tandem with the provisions of Constitution.
At a press conference in Owerri, the state capital, the governorship candidate of Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN), Jerry Iheanacho, who spoke on behalf of others, said that they had individually decided to challenge the outcome of the governorship election at the Election Petitions Tribunal.
Iheanacho noted that the declaration of Ihedioha as the winner of the election was “a rape of our Constitution”.
The governorship candidate said, “it is not about Ihedioha but it is about what the Constitution says from the results as announced by INEC, the PDP candidate didn’t meet the constitutional requirement to have been declared the governor-elect”.