September 28, 2023

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is set to present its defence on Wednesday in response to the petition brought forth by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which challenges the conduct of the March 8, 2023 Kaduna governorship election.

The election was won by Uba Sani of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

INEC has consistently maintained that Uba Sani, the APC flag bearer and incumbent governor of Kaduna State, emerged victorious in a free and fair election that was conducted in substantial compliance with the existing laws governing election processes in Nigeria.

The tribunal handling the dispute over the election had adjourned the proceedings to allow INEC to begin its defence after the PDP and its candidate, Mohammed Ashiru Isa, surprisingly closed their case on Thursday.

The petitioners had initially called an INEC staff as a crucial witness through a subpoena but later abandoned their pursuit when the deposition of the witness contradicted their claim that the election was not conducted fairly.

In earlier stages of the proceedings, another summoned INEC witness had also contradicted the case presented by the petitioners. This witness confirmed, during cross-examination by the legal team of Governor Uba Sani, that the governorship election was indeed free and fair, which was against the petitioners’ argument.

To avoid further setbacks, the petitioners decided to abruptly close their case, rather than putting the summoned INEC official on the witness stand.

The tribunal also scheduled today’s proceedings for Governor Uba Sani to commence his defence, with INEC’s defence expected to follow within the designated time frame. The governor’s defence is anticipated to take place from today through Friday.

The All Progressives Congress (APC), the party that sponsored Governor Uba Sani, will then present its defence from Saturday through Monday, in support of its candidate’s victory in the election.

Following the conclusion of the ruling party’s defence, the parties involved in the petition will present their final arguments. The tribunal will subsequently determine a date for the final address before delivering a judgment on the only remaining petition against the governor’s election.

Governor Uba Sani had submitted motions that could potentially conclude the proceedings prematurely, citing a recent unanimous judgment from the Court of Appeal. However, the Kaduna tribunal opted to proceed with the case, committing to deliver a ruling on those motions at an unspecified future date.

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