Appeal Court affirms Uba Sani as Kaduna governor

THE Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed Governor Uba Sani of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the March 18 governorship election in Kaduna state.   

While delivering the lead judgment, a three-member panel of the appellate court, on Friday, November 24, ruled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed to prove the allegations of malpractices and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022.

According to the panel, the key witness called by the PDP during the tribunal hearing merely gave hearsay evidence as he was not present when the malpractices he alleged happened.

The appellate court confirmed that the accusations regarding vote deductions, ballot box stuffing, and tampering with sensitive electoral materials presented by the witness were based on hearsay.

The court also held that the tribunal’s decision to dismiss the PDP and Isa Ashiru’s petition was justified, citing the petitioners’ abandonment of their case by failing to request the issuance of a pre-hearing information sheet after the completion of pleadings, as mandated by paragraph 18(1) of the first schedule to the Electoral Act 2022.

It, however, stated that the tribunal acted in error when it depended on inadmissible evidence to order the conduct of supplementary polls in 22 polling units of four local government areas (LGAs) where the exercise was deemed inconclusive.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Sani the winner of the Kaduna governorship election conducted on March 18.

INEC’s returning officer, Lawal Bilbis, said Sani secured 730,002 votes to defeat his closest rival, Isah Ashiru Kudan of the PDP, who garnered 719,196 votes. Jonathan Asake of the Labour Party (LP) came third with 58,283 votes.

The ICIR reports that Sani won in 10 local government areas (LGAs) of the state, while Ashiru won in 13. The LGAs won by Ashiru include Kaura, Sanga, Kajuru, Jaba, Makarfi, Jema’ah, Zango-Kataf, Soba, Chikun, Kagarko, Kachia, Lere, and Kudan.

Dissatisfied with the poll’s outcomes, the PDP candidate petitioned the Kaduna State election petitions tribunal to declare Sani’s victory void.






     

     

    Meanwhile, the tribunal had split two-to-one in its conclusions on the merit of the petition and a technical aspect of the case.

    The three-member panel led by Justice Victor Oviawie, dismissed the petition filed by Ashiru.

    In a two-to-one decision, the tribunal said it would have declared the election inconclusive had the petition passed the procedural test.

    Disappointed with the decision, Ashiru appealed the tribunal’s ruling at the Appeal Court.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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