24th November, 2023
>By Taiye Agbaje and Edith Nwapi
The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday declared that Uba Sani of All Progressives Congress, APC conclusively won the 18 March Kaduna State governorship.
The three-member panel of the Appeal Court in their unanimous judgment therefore set aside earlier order of the Kaduna Governorship Election Tribunal directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a supplementary election in some polling units in parts of the state.
The panel of the appellate court in the verdict on Friday said the tribunal was wrong to have declared the poll inconclusive.
Justice Obietonbara Owupele Daniel-Kalio, who read the judgments on the main and cross-appeals, held that the March 18 election which produced Sani was in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.
The panel dismissed the five-ground appeal filed by Isa Ashiru, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s candidate in the March 18 governorship election in the state, for being unmeritorious.
Ashiru and PDP sued INEC, Sani and APC; while in the cross-appeal marked:: CA/K/EP/GOV/KAD/40/2023, Sani and APC filed the appeal against Ashiru and three others
In the main appeal, Justice Daniel-Kalio resolved all the five formulated issues against Ashiru and PDP.
The five issues bothering on alleged malpractices, overvoting, manipulation of results, and ballot stuffing.
In the cross-appeal filed by APC, which challenged the declaration of the election inconclusive, the panel resolved the three formulated issues in favour of the party and vacated the declaration of the tribunal.
The court held that evidence relied upon by the tribunal to declare the election inconclusive was manifestly bad, unreliable and ought not to have given any probative value.
The panel of justices, headed by Justice Daniel-Kalio, was supported by James Gambo Abundaga and Mohamed Baba Idris.
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kaduna had, on Sept. 28, declared the Kaduna State governorship election inconclusive.
The petition was filed by Ashiru against Sani.
In a split decision of a ratio of 2:1, the three-man tribunal panel led by Justice Victor Oviawe declared that the election was inconclusive.
The panel thus directed that a supplementary election should be held by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within 90 days.
The tribunal further directed INEC to conduct elections in seven wards, four local governments, and 22 polling units consisting of 16,300 registered voters.
NAN reports that the PDP had headed to the tribunal to challenge Sani’s election victory.
The PDP had baked its arguments on the grounds of alleged irregularities and electoral fraud, deposing that its candidate, Ashiru, won the election.
During the hearing of the petition, the PDP and Ashiru called 24 witnesses and presented claims and documents to prove their case.