The Kaduna State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in the state capital has rejected the petition lodged by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their 2023 candidate, Isah Ashiru.
This petition contested the victory of Governor Uba Sani from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The three-judge panel, headed by Justice Victor Oviawie and including Justices K. Damlat and N. Nonye, rendered their verdict after a lengthy five-and-a-half-hour deliberation.
They dismissed the petition due to its late submission, which exceeded the constitutionally mandated seven-day timeframe, consequently deeming it abandoned.
Justice Victor Oviawie ruled that the preliminary notice had been filed beyond the constitutionally mandated seven-day period from the filing of the main case.
Consequently, he deemed the petition abandoned. Justice N. Nonye concurred with this judgment, while Justice K. Damlat dissented, asserting that the preliminary notice had been correctly filed and was not abandoned.
The tribunal chairman and another member reached a consensus that the appeal brought by PDP and Ashiru against the dismissal of their preliminary stage petition by the first and second defendants lacked merit.
They attributed this decision to the abandonment and untimeliness of the pre-hearing notice filing, which, in their view, had fatally compromised the entire petition.
However, the tribunal made a notable observation: if the petition had not been dismissed for lacking merit, it would have included a directive for a supplementary election in 22 polling units within a 90-day timeframe as part of its substantive judgment.
Reacting to the judgment, counsel to the APC, Sanusi Musa SAN said they were happy with the judgment, adding that they have no course to file any appeal as the judgment is in their favour.
According to him,
- “The tribunal has dismissed the petition filed by PDP and its candidate in the lead judgment. The tribunal ruled that the petition had been abandoned and it was dismissed.
- We are happy with the judgment because it affirmed the election of Governor Uba Sani.”
Counsel to the PDP, Barr. Baba Aliyu in his reaction to the judgment said they are not fully satisfied with the judgment adding that they wanted their client, Hon. Isah Ashiru Kudan to be declared the winner of the election based on their arguments and facts they laid before the tribunal.
Earlier Disputes and Clarification
Earlier, it was widely reported that the tribunal sacked Gov. Uba Sani and ordered a rerun. However, this was due to the ambiguity in the legal language of the jurist.
What was disputed is the hypothetical assertion that there would have been a rerun if the case of the petitioner, PDP Ashiru was meritorious and within the constitutionally required timeframe.
It is important to note that Uba Sani has clarified this ambiguity while speaking in an interview on Channels TV.
He made it clear the verdict was granted in his favour, as the tribunal dismissed the petition of the PDP candidate, Isah Ashiru.
What You Should Know
PDP and Ashiru jointly contested the outcome of the March 18th governorship election, challenging the declaration of Governor Uba as the victor.
Senator Sani during the election polled a total of 730,001 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mister Ashiru of the PDP, who scored 719, 196 votes.
The Labour Party (LP) candidate, Jonathan Asake came a distant third with 58,283 votes, while Suleiman Hunkuyi of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) scored 21,405 votes.
While the Labour Party and NNPP accepted the outcome of the election, the PDP and its candidate rejected the results, alleging that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the wrong candidate winner of the election.