SUPREME COURT DECISION IN: SENATOR HOPE UZODINMA VS RT. HON. EMEKA IHEDIOHA SALIENT AREAS OF EVIDENCE OF PW54 (POLICE OFFICER IN THE TRIBUNAL)
The Supreme Court based its judgment in the above case, solely on the evidence of PW54 DCP Rabiu Hussain.From the C.TC. of the proceedings of the Tribunal on 31July, 2019 DCP RABIU HUSSAIN testified in the Tribunal as follows:“In Exhibit NNN1 to NNN18, (subpoena) I was asked to produce 388 Forms EC8As retrieved by the Police Officers. I have some of the FORMS. I don’t have 388 FORMS. The total number I brought is 368 and I cannot lay my hands on 20 FORMS”.
OUR COMMENT:The record of Court only showed that 366 FORMS EC8As (not 368 and definitely not 388) were admitted in evidence and marked as Exhibits PPP1 to PPP366. These conflicting figures of 366, 368, or 388 Forms make his evidence completely unreliable.
DCP RABIU HUSSAINI CONTINUED:“I didn’t tabulate the scores in Exhibit PPP1 to PPP166(366?).I didn’t observe the entries in any of them.I didn’t go through Exhibits PPP1 to PPP166(366) because Police are not interested in the scores of the parties”.“I am surprised that the number of forms I tendered are not up to the number I told the Hon. Tribunal”.“I cannot know whether there are mutilations or tampering in Exhibit PPP1 to PPP366.”
The above evidence of PW54, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, did not say what each candidate scored or the figures.
PW54 did not give evidence with regards to 388 polling units. PW54 did not tender results from 388 polling units.
PW54 stated in his testimony that he did not know the contents of Exhibits PPP1 to PPP366, or PPP1 to PPP388 or any of the forms whatever the number.
PW54 did not testify that results from 366, or 368 or 388 polling units were excluded.
If, from the Certified True Copy of the evidence/testimony of PW54 which the Supreme Court relied upon to give its final judgment, there is no evidence of the votes scored in Exhibits PPP1 to PPP366, or PPP1 to 368 or 388 where did the Supreme Court get the 213,695 votes it added to the scores of Hope Uzodinma?. And from where did the Supreme Court get the evidence that results from 388 polling units were excluded when PW54 testified that he brought only 366 or 368 FORMS EC8As. Since 366 and not 388 FORMS were eventually found to be tendered by DCP Rabiu Hussaini, where did the Supreme Court get the 213,695 votes it added to Hope Uzodinma?. Or did Supreme Court merely copy tge pleadings of Hope Uzodinma and regarded it as evidence? It is trite Law that averment in pleadings or Address of Counsel cannot take the place of evidence?
From the 20 or 22 EC8As forms PW54 admitted that he omitted to tender at the Tribunal from the 388 he was subpoenered to produce, how many votes did it contain for each candidate? What is the spread? These are questions the Supreme Court must answer, since their judgment did not cover these issues and contain unbelievable gaps.
It is obvious that the Supreme Court relied only on the submission of Hope Uzodinma without any reference to the records of proceedings of the Tribunal/Court of Appeal or otherwise, it would have realised that even though Hope Uzodinma claimed 388 polling units, he only dumped 366 discredited polling units results through the Police, yet the Supreme Court unilaterally credited him with figures from the 388 units which figures did not remove the 20 or even 22 polling units that were in fact not tendered before the tribunal .
The Supreme Court judgement was erroneously premised on 388 polling units results when indeed only 366 polling units’ results were admitted in the Tribunal before being expunged on very solid grounds by both the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal. We may never know the impact the exclusion of the results from the 20 or 22 units by the Supreme Court based on its own perverse findings could have had on the scores of each candidate.
It is our candid submission that the Supreme Court is left with no other option than to review and reverse this anomaly, even if it means applying a Judicial Doctrine of Necessity (borrowing from the intervention of the National Assembly, when Nigeria was in a big fix). The confidence of Nigerians in the Judiciary is at the lowest and we believe that the Supreme Court can help to restore it and save the future of the future of elections. This is the time to apply what the Supreme Court in Federal Republic of Nigeria V. MKO Abiola (1995) 7 NWLR, said:
“Justice must be rooted in confidence and confidence is destroyed when right-minded people go away thinking: The Judge is biased.”
Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC)
Convener, Ariyo-Dare Atoye