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Appeal Court Affirms Uba Sani As Kaduna Governor




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The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the election of Uba Sani of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as duly elected Governor of Kaduna State.

In ruling on Friday, a three-man panel of justices dismissed the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Isa Ashiru, against the election victory of Governor Sani.

The appeal court held 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.

It stated that a key witness called by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the tribunal hearing merely gave hearsay evidence as he was not present when the malpractices he alleged happened.

It also held that the tribunal was right in dismissing the petition of the PDP and Isa Ashiru because the petitioners had abandoned their petition for their failure to apply for the issuance of a pre-hearing information sheet after the close of pleadings as required by paragraph 18(1) of the first schedule to the Electoral Act 2022.

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared that Sani polled a total of 730,002 votes to win the March 18 election in the state, while Ashiru scored 719,196 votes.

But Ashiru and the PDP approached the Kaduna State Election Petition Tribunal, accusing INEC of allowing irregularities and electoral fraud in favour of the governor.

According to Ashiru, the election was marred by non-compliance with the Electoral Act, adding that the governor did not score the majority of lawful votes cast.

Ashiru had asked the Tribunal to determine that he was the winner of the guber poll, having scored the majority of lawful votes cast. He also asked the Tribunal to order a fresh election in areas where polls were cancelled.

But the governor’s lead counsel, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), had said the petitioners failed to prove their claims during the case proceedings.

In its judgment on September 28, the Tribunal upheld the preliminary objection filed by Sani’s legal team against Ashiru’s petition, to the effect that the application for pre-hearing notice filed by the PDP candidate was done prematurely and abandoned.

The tribunal immediately dismissed PDP’s petition following the preliminary objection of the governor and the APC but looked into the case’s merit as it pertains to the margin of win between the two leading candidates.

The tribunal subsequently nullified Sani’s Election by a split decision of 2 to 1, declaring that the guber poll was inconclusive.

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows.