It was reported earlier that the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday sacked the Kaduna State Governor, Uba Sani of All Progressives Congress, APC after declaring that the 2023 governorship election in the state is inconclusive.
However, a new ruling has emerged, stating that the Tribunal in Kaduna State upheld the victory of Governor Sani Uba while also dismissing the petition filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Different interpretations of the tribunal judgement which was delivered via Zoom on Thursday have sparked off confusion.
While some people interpreted the judgment to mean Governor Uba Sani’s election was upheld by the tribunal, others were of the view that it was declared inconclusive
The judgment, which took five and half hours, saw the three-man panel of judges led by Justice Victor Oviawie, and Justice K. Damlat and Justice N. Nonye, struck out the petition because the preliminary notice was filed out of time after the 21- day prescribed by the constitution, and was deemed to have been abandoned.
Giving the split judgment, Justice Victor Oviawie said the preliminary notice was filed outside the 21 days prescribed by the constitution from the day when the result of the election was declared, adding that the petition was deemed to be abandoned.
His ruling was also towed by Justice N. Nonye, while Justice K. Damlat disagreed noting that the preliminary notice was properly filed and was not abandoned.
But the tribunal noted that if the petition had not been dismissed for lack of merit, it would have ordered a fresh election in 22 polling units within 90 days in the substantive judgement.
DAILY GIST recalls that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the 2023 election, Isah Ashiru had filed a petition against the victory of the governor.
Senator Sani polled a total of 730,001 votes to defeat his closest rival Ashiru 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 Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) scored 21,405 votes.
The electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC consequently declared Uba Sani the winner of the governorship election
However, while the LP and NNPP accepted the outcome of the election, the PDP and its candidate rejected the results of the election, alleging that the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the wrong candidate winner of the election.
PDP and Ashiru alleged that there was massive irregularities and manipulation of results in favour of Governor Sani in some local governments by the INEC.
According to them, Senator Sani did not score the highest number of valid votes cast in the election and ought not to have been returned winner of the election by the INEC.
Delivering judgement via zoom on Thursday, the panel held that Governor Sani was duly elected.
Confirming his victory, the Governor commended the Kaduna State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal for affirming his victory at the 2023 general elections.
In a statement he personally signed on Thursday, the governor said the judgement was an unequivocal affirmation of the popular mandate given to him by the people of the state.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT BELOW:
THE KADUNA ELECTION PETITION TRIBUNAL JUDGEMENT IS A CLEAR AFFIRMATION OF THE POPULAR MANDATE GIVEN TO ME BY THE PEOPLE OF KADUNA STATE
I am extremely delighted and humbled by the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal affirming my victory in the 2023 Kaduna State Governorship Elections. The judgement is an unequivocal affirmation of the popular mandate graciously given to me by the good people of Kaduna State. I commend the Tribunal for their thoroughness and lucidity. They have enriched our jurisprudence and practice of electoral democracy.
I also commend my dear brother, Hon. Isah Ashiru Kudan for approaching the Tribunal to ventilate his grievances. This is a clear demonstration of his belief in the principles of democracy and the imperative of civility in the conduct of political actors.
I call on Hon. Isah Ashiru and members of the opposition parties in Kaduna State to join hands with us as we strive to move our dear state to a higher level. We are all stakeholders in PROJECT KADUNA. It is not about personal glory. Our people want all hands to be on deck to address the myriad challenges confronting the state. If political actors are united, a clear signal will be sent to our people that the quest for peace, security, progress and development of our state are the driving forces of our participation in politics.
I call on our party faithful to moderate their celebration of this victory. They must individually and collectively extend an olive branch to our brothers and sisters in other political parties. Instead of celebrating, we should bow down in prayers to the Almighty God for His continued guidance and protection. Let us focus on the tasks ahead.
However, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Hon. Isah Mohammed Ashiru claimed the election was declared inconclusive by the Tribunal.
Mohammed Baba Lawal, one of the counsels of the PDP, said, “What actually happened was that APC raised an objection about our petition that we filed out of time. But the position of the Electoral Act is that the tribunal must go into the knitty gritty.
“Now they found that there was the need for rerun in 22 polling units in four LGAs.
“We cannot activate that as inconclusive unless we appeal against that decision that declared our petition abandoned.
“The final decision of the court has two arms, that is what confused people.
“One declared our petition as abandoned, the second decision declared the election inconclusive but, that inconclusive decision cannot be activated unless the decision declaring the petition abandoned is appealed against and set aside.
“So technically the tribunal declared the petition abandoned and dismissed it. “
Another counsel to the PDP, Barr. Baba Aliyu said they are not fully satisfied with the judgment adding that they wanted their client, Hon. Isah Ashiru Kudan to be declared winner of the election based on their arguments and facts they laid before the tribunal.
He however stated that they would probably appeal the judgment because they believed that with the evidence before the tribunal the election should have been upturned.