Sequel to the sacking of now former Governor of Imo State, Emeka Iheadioha, by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, our writer observes that courts have nullified elections of several governors in the past; but while some were handed some lifeline to go for re-run elections which many of them actually won, many others were not that lucky as they were sacked outright by the courts.
Following were the governors and reasons they were sacked.
1. Chris Ngige (Anambra)
The first sitting Governor that will be removed by a court was Chris Ngige of Anambra.
Ngige, who succeeded Chinwoke Mbadinuju in the 2003 elections, saw his administration facing turbulent period throughout his reign which culminated into his eventual removal by the Appeal Court on March 14, 2006.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu, subsequently the court declared Peter Obi of All Progressive Grand Alliance party (APGA) winner. The court of appeal upheld the ruling of the Anambra State Election Petition Tribunal, which had earlier confirmed Obi as the winner of the election.
Ngige of the Peoples Democratic Party had a running battle with his political godfather Chris Uba who got tacit support from the then President Olusegun Obasanjo.
This had led to the abduction and unconstitutiona
l removal of the governor from office, the stripping of his security detail and arson and destruction of Anambra state properties by gangs believed to be Chris Uba’s loyalists.
He finally lost the battle with the declaration from the court which sacked him with less than one year to the end of his four-year tenure.
2. Segun Oni (Ekiti State)
In what looked like a political coup, People Democratic Party hijacked five of the six states under the then Action Congress in the 2003 elections. Only Bola Tinubu of Lagos was able to hold on to his seat but the party regrouped in 2007 polls to wrestle powers from the PDP.
In what appeared to be the most flawed elections in Nigerian history, several candidates of the AC were allegedly robbed by the incumbent governors.
One of those elections results challenged at the court were that of Segun Oni of Ekiti state who ran on the platform of the PDP and declared winner.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on Oct 15, 2010 declared Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Action Congress, winner of Ekiti State re-run governorship election and ordered that he should be sworn in immediately as the duly elected governor of the state.
In a unanimous judgment read by the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, the court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Governor Segun Oni of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and give it to Fayemi.
The appellate court held that Fayemi won both the April 14, 2007 election and the re-run election of April 25, 2009 with highest lawful votes cast at the polls.
According to the court, the AC candidate won the re-run election by 10,955 votes.
3. Andy Uba (Anambra State)
One of the Uba brothers that were political gladiators in Anambra suffered the ignominy of being arguably the governor with the shortest reign.
Ubah who was an aide of Obasanjo contested the gubernatorial elections in 2007 and won and was sworn in May same year but by June 14, exactly 14 days after he assumed office, the politician was removed as Governor by the judgment of the Supreme Court in Abuja.
Peter Obi who had defeated Ngige in court to become the governor of the state had challenged the conduct of 2007 election, insisting he had only spent nine months as a governor and the election should not have held.
In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that former governor Obi should go back to the Government House as governor of the state till March 17, 2010. The court also ordered that the incumbent Governor, Uba, should vacate office as he ceases to be governor.
In the lead judgment, Justice Katsina Alu said INEC erred in law by conducting election in Anambra State when Obi had not served his four-year term.
The court ruled that the four year tenure of Obi commenced from the day he was sworn in and will terminate on 17 March 2010.
4. Prof Oserhiemen Osunbor (Edo State)
Benin City and other towns and villages erupted in wild jubilation On November 11, 2008, when a federal Appeal Court sitting in Benin City upheld the ruling of the state’s elections petitions tribunal, declaring Adams Oshiomole of the Action Congress of Nigeria to be the Governor of Edo State
The Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Benin City, the Edo State capital had ruled that it was the former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Governorship Candidate of the Action Congress Oshiomole, that won the April 2007 Governorship Elections in Edo State, and not Prof Osunbor of the Peoples Democratic Party as claimed by the Prof Maurice Iwu-led ‘Independent’ National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In a judgement that lasted over two hours and a half, Justice Umaru Farouk Abdullahi president of the Appeal Court held that the Action Congress (AC) candidate scored highest vote, in the April 14, 2007 governorship poll in Edo State. The court thus dismissed the appeal filed by Professor Oserheimen Osunbor of the People’s Democratic Party.
Backed by other members of the Appeal Court, like Justices Isa Ayo Salami, John Fabiyi, Amina Audi and Uzo Anyanwu, the court ordered that Oshiomhole was the duly elected governor and the certificate of returns should therefore be given to him immediately.
5. Olusegun Agagu (Ondo State)
As a testimony to the alleged fraud perpetrated by the ruling party PDP in South West, the Appeal Court upheld the ruling of the Ondo State Elections Petitions Tribunal, which had nullified the election of Governor Olusegun Agagu of Ondo State, and declared Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the 14 April, 2007 polls, winner of the election.
The unanimous judgment, handed down by Appeal Court President, Justice Umaru Abdullahi, ended the nearly six-year rule of Agagu, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who began his first term on May 29, 2003.
According to the court, the Labour Party candidate won 198,269 votes while the PDP candidate, Agagu won 128, 669 votes.
By this, the court stated that Mimiko won 25 per cent of the valid votes in 13 out of the 18 local governments in the state, thereby fulfilling the constitutional provision, which states that a candidate must win at least two-thirds of the votes cast in 13 local governments.
6. Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun State)
Another by-product of the flawed elections of 2007, after more than three years of legal battles the Appeal Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State on Nov 26, 2010 declared Engr. Rauf Aregbesola of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) winner of the 2007 governorship election in the state, awarding him 198,799 votes, against the ousted Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s 172,880.
Delivering judgment, the head of the five-member appeal panel, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi declared Aregbesola the winner and ordered that he should be sworn in immediately. It was a unanimous judgment.
Aregbesola had in his petition prayed the court to cancel the elections in 10 local government areas of the state where violence and electoral malpractices marred the elections.
In the judgment, read for about five hours by Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, the court affirmed, INEC did not conduct election in accordance to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in accordance with the Electoral Act�. It thus annulled the election held in 10 local governments in dispute saying that the allegations against the election in the 10 disputed local government areas were valid and genuine.
7. Emeka Ihedioha (Imo State)
The Supreme Court on January 14, 2020 nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party as the governor of Imo State.
The apex court declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the March 9 governorship election in the state.
The seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad gave the unanimous decision in Abuja.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Mr Ihedioha, a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives winner of the governorship election in Imo.