Kaduna Tribunal: More Drama As APC, PDP Candidates Make Conflicting Claims On Verdict
More drama has trailed the judgment of the Kaduna State Election Petition Tribunal in a petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) guber candidate, Isa Ashiru Kudan, as the incumbent Kaduna State Governor, Senator Uba Sani, and Ashiru have both claimed they secured victory in the verdict.
The governor, who first issued a statement after the Tribunal’s verdict, described the judgment as a win for democracy, the rule of law, and validation of the people’s will.
“On this historic day, I join the people of Kaduna state to celebrate this monumental victory for democracy.
“I consider this verdict not only as a win but a call to action, a call to deliver on our campaign promises as captured in the SUSTAIN agenda. This victory is a testament to the strength of our great judicial institutions and a proud moment for me as one of the pioneer advocates for democratic governance in Nigeria decades ago,” the governor said in a statement signed by his official spokesperson, Muhammad Lawal Shehu.
Shehu stated the governor and his deputy, Dr Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe expressed immense gratitude to the good people of Kaduna State for their prayers, support and firm belief in our mandate.
A few hours later, the PDP candidate said in a statement on his Facebook page that the Tribunal indeed nullified Sani’s election and ordered a rerun in some polling units in 4 LGAs.
According to Ashiru, the tribunal, based on the majority of 2:1 judges, upheld the preliminary objection of Sani’s legal team to the effect that the application for pre-hearing was done prematurely but they went on to pronounce on the polls.
“However, the law enjoins the tribunal, as a trial court, to proceed to pronounce on the merit of the substantive suit so that in the event the court of appeal finds that the trial tribunal was wrong in its decision on the preliminary objection, it would have the benefit of pronouncing on the decision of the tribunal in the substantive matter.
“Accordingly, the trial tribunal finds merit in the aspect of the petitioner’s case relative to the margin of win between the two leading candidates. The tribunal by a split decision of 2:1 accordingly, nullified the election of the governor of Kaduna state, ordered that the Certificate of Return be retrieved and fresh elections be conducted in some polling units in 4 LGAs and the outcome thereof be reckoned with before the declaration of the winner of the governorship election in Kaduna state,” Ashiru asserted, while thanking Kaduna residents.
These statements from both sides claim that the Kaduna Governorship Tribunal judgment was in their favour.
Some sections of the media said the tribunal sacked the governor and declared the election inconclusive, while others reported the governor’s election was upheld.
The judgment was delivered via Zoom, but access was reportedly given to a very few media houses.
THE WHISTLER is yet to access the certified true copy of the judgment.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in his statement, Ashiru said “I want to again thank the people of the state while urging them all to remain law abiding while we pursue the appeal process.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had said Governor Uba Sani polled a total of 730,002 votes to win the March 13 guber election in the state while Ashiru scored 719,196 votes.
But Ashiru and the PDP approached the tribunal, accusing INEC of allowing irregularities and electoral fraud in favor of the governor.
However, the governor’s lead counsel, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN, had said the petitioners failed to prove their claims during proceedings in the case.