The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have asked the Supreme Court to ignore the appeal brought before it by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Mohammed Ashiru Isa.
INEC and APC in separate preliminary objections against hearing of the appeal insisted that the petition by PDP and Isa is incompetent and worthless to be considered for adjudication.
At the Thursday’s proceedings, the two respondents drew the attention of the apex court to the findings by the Kaduna State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal and the Court of Appeal to the effect that the petition was not filed in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.
Among others, the electoral body and APC maintained that records established that the petitioners acted in breach of Paragraph 18(1) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2022, when they prematurely applied to the tribunal for the issuance of a pre-hearing notice.
They explained that the law provided that such application must be filed seven days after the close of pleadings by the parties.
According to them, the law is that a case must be initiated by due process of the law.
They subsequently asked the Supreme Court to turn down any request to attach probative value to the appeal and to either strike out the appeal or dismiss it in its entirety.
INEC and APC were represented by Abdullahi Aliyu SAN and Mohammed Sani Katu SAN respectively.
In the main appeal, governor Uba Sani represented by Chief Bayo Ojo SAN asked the Apex Court to dismiss the appeal for want of merit and substance.
Ojo, a former Attorney General of the Federation AGF and Minister of Justice canvassed that the totality of the case of the PDP and its governorship candidate did not establish the prove of any of their allegations.
The senior lawyer argued that most of the appellants’ witness statements were invalid because they were not filed alongside the petition.
Besides, the former AGF informed the apex court that the witnesses brought by the appellants gave hearsay evidence against the March 18, 2023 election of governor Uba Sani.
He thereafter asked that the appeal be dismissed and that the concurrent findings of the Court of Appeal and the Tribunal which had earlier upheld the election of his client be upheld.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun led panel of five Justices after taking arguments from lawyers announced that judgment has been reserved till a date that would be communicated to parties.
The court of appeal in Abuja had on November 24 last year in a unanimous judgment affirmed the election of Uba Sani as Kaduna state governor.
The PDP and Ashiru had challenged the outcome of the governorship election held in the state on March 18.
They alleged that Uba was not duly elected by a majority of valid votes cast in the election, adding that the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices and non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.
They further alleged that some polling unit results were wrongfully cancelled, insisting that there were inconsistencies in accreditation records from INEC.
However, in a judgment delivered on September 28, two of the three judges on the Tribunal dismissed the petition on technical grounds.
Victor Oviawie, who led the panel said that the petition was deemed abandoned because PDP and its candidate did not file their pre-hearing application within the time prescribed by law.