In a decisive ruling, the Court of Appeal in Abuja upheld the election of Governor Uba Sani in Kaduna State, dismissing the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Mohammed Ashiru.

The unanimous decision by a three-member panel of Justices affirmed the verdict of the Kaduna State Election Petition Tribunal, validating Governor Sani’s victory in the March 18 gubernatorial election.

Justice Obietonbara Daniel-Kalio delivered the lead judgment, emphasizing that the tribunal’s declaration of the PDP’s petition as abandoned was correct.

The court pointed out that the petitioners violated Paragraph 18(1) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2022 by prematurely applying for a pre-hearing notice.

The law stipulates that such applications should be filed seven days after the close of pleadings, and the court rejected the Appellants’ argument that they acted “out of the abundance of caution.”

The court underscored that adherence to due process is essential for the exercise of jurisdiction, and the vigilance in prosecuting a case does not justify bypassing established legal procedures.

It further noted that statements on oath from witnesses, not filed alongside the petition within the prescribed 21 days, were deemed legally incompetent.

The Court of Appeal highlighted that many witnesses for the Appellants provided hearsay evidence, contributing to the dismissal of the appeal.

It stressed that the tribunal properly evaluated the evidence presented, giving probative value to validly submitted materials while rejecting those considered legally insufficient.

After addressing all five issues raised in the appeal, the court concluded that the appeal lacked merit, resulting in its dismissal. The ruling concluded with an order for each party to bear its respective costs.

Governor Uba Sani, representing the All Progressives Congress (APC), secured victory with 730,001 votes against PDP candidate Mohammed Ashiru’s 719,196 votes, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Discontent with the outcome, the PDP and Ashiru approached the tribunal, alleging irregularities, corrupt practices, and noncompliance with the Electoral Act 2022.

However, the tribunal, in a two-to-one split decision on September 28, dismissed the petition on technical grounds, upholding Uba Sani’s election.

Source: Vanguard News

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