THE Kaduna state governorship election petition tribunal, sitting in the state capital, has dismissed a plea submitted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the 2023 election, Isah Ashiru, challenging the win of All Progressives Congress (APC) Governor Uba Sani.
A three-member panel led by Justice Victor Oviawie in the dissenting judgment handed today denied the petition on the grounds that the pre-hearing notice was filed late and thus deemed to be abandoned.
The tribunal chairman and another member determined that the appeal filed by PDP and Ashiru against the first and second defendants’ dismissal of their petition at the preliminary stage was not meritorious because the filing of the pre-hearing notice was abandoned and out of time, effectively eliminating the entire petition.
However, the tribunal stated in the substantive judgment that if the petition had not been dismissed for lack of merit, it would have ordered a supplementary election in 22 polling units within 90 days.
The PDP and Ashiru are contesting Governor Uba’s announcement as the winner of the March 18th governorship election.
Senator Sani got 730,001 votes during the election, defeating his nearest challenger, Ashiru of the PDP, who got 719,196 votes.
Jonathan Asake of the Labour Party (LP) finished third with 58,283 votes, while Suleiman Hunkuyi of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) received 21,405 votes.
While the Labour Party and the NNPP accepted the election results, the PDP and its candidate challenged them, claiming that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) named the wrong candidate the winner.
The PDP and Ashiru stated that INEC committed huge irregularities and manipulated results in various local governments in favor of Governor Ubah. According to them, the APC candidate did not receive the greatest number of legal votes cast in the election and so should not have been declared the winner by INEC.
However, in June 2023, the PDP and Ashiru filed a petition at the electoral petition tribunal to contest Governor Uba’s election.
All parties presented their final written addresses before the tribunal on September 3rd, with the APC’s legal team, led by a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Bayo Ojo (SAN), arguing that the petitioners had helped in proving he won the election free and fair, pointing in particular to the admission of a star witness for the petitioner, Bonett Gwazah, a senior system analyst in INEC’s VR/ICT department.