Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State has filed a cross-appeal at the Court of Appeal sitting in the state capital, asking it to reverse the controversial alternative ruling of the Governorship Election Tribunal, ordering a supplementary poll in the state.
Despite emerging victorious from the main ruling of the tribunal, delivered on September 28, the governor, who contested under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), is contesting the alternative majority ruling of two against one, which created a path for the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Isah Ashiru to claim victory
Also, in his appeal filed to the court of appeal, Ashiru provided 24 grounds to upturn the dismissal of his petition. He is also seeking an order of the higher court to invalidate Sani’s victory.
The cross-appeal was filed by Governor Sani’s legal team led by a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN).
According to Ojo, the tribunal threw the political space into a spin when, in a double majority decision, dismissed Ashiru’s petition for fatal non-compliance with the regulating laws, before proceeding to give an alternative ruling, favouring the petitioners.
He insisted that the dismissal of the petition gave substantive victory to the governor. Ojo further listed 14 grounds of errors committed by the tribunal in arriving at its second conclusion.
“The five reliefs he is seeking from the intermediate court include an order setting aside the majority decision of the Kaduna State Governorship Election Petition ordering supplementary election in 22 polling units or any unit whatsoever delivered on Thursday, 28th of September, 2023, by Hon. Justices K.D Damulak and Victoria T. Nwoye.
“An order dismissing the alternative reliefs of the petition for a supplementary election in any polling unit in Kaduna State which was granted by the tribunal.
“An order striking out the 1st and 2nd cross respondents’ (PDP and Isa) petition for being statue barred.
“An order striking out the 1st and 2nd cross respondents’ petition for non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022.
“An order allowing the cross-appeal.
Registering his grievance with the judgement, the governor pointed out the portions he is kicking against, including:
“The part of the majority decision granting the alternative reliefs of the 1st and 2nd cross-respondents, ordering the conduct of supplementary election in 22 polling units in Kaduna State.
“Part of the decision of the Tribunal dismissing the cross-appellant’s (Uba and APC) objection to the competence of the petition on account of being statue barred.
“Part of the decision of the Tribunal dismissing the cross-appellant’s motion challenging the petition on account of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022”.
In his grounds of appeal, Uba through Ojo noted that; “the learned trial judges erred in law when they failed and/or refused to pronounce on the cross-appellant’s Motion on Notice, seeing the tribunal’s order to pronounce on the cross-appellant’s preliminary objection before taking further steps in the proceeding.
“The learned trial judges erred in law when they relied on documents which were legally inadmissible to hold that the number of permanent voters’ cards collected in some polling units were more than the margin of lead between the cross-appellant and the 1st and 2nd respondents.
“The learned trial judges erred in law when they placed reliance on the Forms EC40G series, which are legally inadmissible in law.
“The learned trial judges erred in law when they placed reliance on the Forms EC40G series when their makers were neither called as witnesses nor any witness called from the respective polling units they relate to.
“The learned trial judges erred in law when after finding that the FORMS EC40G series were riddled with discrepancies still proceeded to rely on these discrepant FORMS EC40G series to order for supplementary election in the polling units.
“The learned trial judges erred in law and breached the cross-appellant’s right to a fair hearing when they appropriated one of the 1st and 2nd respondents’ witnesses (PW 1) as a witness of the Tribunal.
“The learned trial judges of the Tribunal (Coram: Hon. Justices V.O.A Oviawe, K.D Damulak and Victoria T. Nwoye) erred in law when they suo moto concluded that the date of declaration of results of the Governorship Election was excluded thereby necessitating their decision that the petition was filed within the 21 days’ period”.