The APC Concerned Group has called on the Chief Judge of Kaduna state to set up a new Election Petition Tribunal to address the 58 pending petitions from the Kaduna state local government elections held last September.
The APC group, who commended Governor Nasir el-Rufai for conducting the most transparent election in Nigeria using electronic voting machine, said the call became necessary following the expiration of the 120 days tenure of the election petition tribunal on Thursday February 10th, 2022, even as the tribunal could not deliver a single judgment on the 58 petition before it.
According to the spokesperson of the APC Concerned Group, Comrade Victor Duniya, the tribunal which commenced sitting on October 11, 2021 did not take into consideration the staggered local council polls on September 4, September 25 and October 23 and the fact that they did not sit on Fridays, weekends and public holidays, even as they took out five days to mourn the late grand khadi of the state.
“The tribunal commenced sitting over the election of the 4th September, 2021 on the 11th day of October, 2021 and by law, its lifespan expires 120 days from the date the tribunal commenced sitting; section 86 (6) extant law. In the 120 days allotted, the tribunal did not sit on public holidays and weekends.
“For the 2nd batch of elections conducted on the 25th September, 2021 and that of the 23rd October, 2021, separate tribunals should have been set up to entertain their petitions. However only the tribunal of the elections of September 4 was available to receive petitions.
“The tribunal often times give long adjournment rather than sitting day to day as required by the extant laws. One of such instances is the adjournment on a case to the 14th of February when their tenure was to elapse on the 10th of February 2021. Despite pleas from the lawyers not to do so. That within the 120 days of the life span of the tribunal, the tribunal did not sit for a period of over 50 days.
“There are several petitions (about 58 petitions) before the tribunal and the tribunal could not deliver a single judgment over any petition.
Ordinarily, the tribunal’s lifespan over elections of 25th September and 23rd October, 2021 ought to have ran to 120 days limit.
“Since the life span of the tribunal for the election of 4th September, 2021 had elapsed, there is an urgent need by the Chief Judge of Kaduna state to set up another panel to continue hearing of the pending petitions that are still very alive and subsisting before the tribunal.
“For the batch “A” elections, there’s need to deduct those number of days that the tribunal did not sit and the petitions be dealt with to its logical conclusion. For batch “B” and “C” elections, a new panel be set up for them for the just determination of petitions pending before the tribunal,” the group said