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Kaduna Guber Appeal Case Opened for Retrial
posted on 12th June, 2009

(L-R) Justice Idris Kutigi, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and Justice Umaru Abdullahi, President of the Court of Appeal
(L-R) Justice Idris Kutigi, Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of Nigeria and Justice Umaru
Abdullahi, President of the Court of Appeal
Kaduna: The Federal Court of Appeal, Abuja has directed that the appeal into the Kaduna State gubernatorial elections filed by Sani Sha'aban and the ANPP challenging the election of Namadi Sambo of the PDP as governor in the April 2007 elections be reopened and retried.

On 6th March 2009 penultimate, the Kaduna Court of Appeal, led by Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa unceremoniously dismissed Sha'aban's appeal declaring the appeal as status barred and lacking in merit. This decision took the legal community and those that were familiar with the development in the case by surprise, especially in its obvious disregard of the point of law.

Dissatisfied with the ruling of the Bulkachuwa panel, Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), counsel to Sha'aban and the ANPP appealed the ruling on behalf of his clients to the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Umaru Abdullahi and the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC).

In appealing these bodies, Ahamba identified fundamental flaws in the conduct of the Bulkawacha panel in the discretionary approach and manner they adopted in dispensing justice. The panel's handling of the appeal he argued amounted to a legal travesty as the presiding justices made a number of spurious decisions that have no basis in Nigerian jurisprudence. Particularly troubling was the fact that the panel contradicted itself on the motion that dealt with the timing of the filing of the appeal.

Also, some of the panel's pronouncements were contemptous of the Supreme Court as they set aside subsisting rulings of the apex court on some of the underlying issues brought before the panel during the appeal hearings. Ahamba further cited gross violations of the 1999 constitution by the Bulkachuwa panel in their handling of the appeal which if sustained would have far-reaching consequences on the Nigerian judicial system.

Following Ahamba's appeal, a fresh hearing into the Kaduna State gubernatorial appeal has now been fixed for 17th June, 2009 at the Kaduna Court of Appeal. The appeal will be heard by a different panel consisting of three Honourable Justices of the Nigerian Court of Appeal. They include, Justice Alkali Baaba, Justice Amina Adamu Augie and Justice Oji Okoro.

Reacting to the developments, the ANPP gubernatorial candidate for Kaduna State, Sani Sha'aban expressed delight with the decision of the Court of Appeal to reopen his appeal. He went on further to praise the leadership of both the Appeal and Supreme Courts for taking bold and well informed decisions such as this one as it would go a long way to strenghten their effort to transform the Nigerian judicial system.

Sha'aban is appealing the decision of the election tribunal that had earlier refused to entertain his challenge of the INEC results of the April 2007 that declared Namadi Sambo of the PDP winner. He is asking the appeal court to examine the evidence at its disposal which proves overwhelmingly that the ANPP won the 2007 gubernatorial election in Kaduna.

    Timeline of Sha'aban's Quest for Justice
  • April 14th, 2007 - Governorship elections organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in all states of Nigeria, including Kaduna State.
  • April 15th, 2007 - INEC declares Namadi Sambo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner.
  • April 15th, 2007 - Sani Sha'aban protests INEC manipulation of election results and is detained in the process.
  • April 16th, 2007 - Other Kaduna opposition parties that contested the April 14th elections pay solidarity visit and pledge their support to Namadi Sambo and the PDP.
  • May 15th, 2007 - Sani Sha'aban and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) file petition with Election Petitions Tribunal in Kaduna.
  • October 23th, 2007 - Sambo fails in bid to stop election petition hearing.
  • April 17th, 2008 - Election Tribunal rules to uphold election of Namadi Sambo, of the PDP as Governor of Kaduna State.
  • May 2008 - Sani Sha'aban and the ANPP appeal ruling of Election Tribunal at the Kaduna Court of Appeal.
  • January 7th, 2009 - Hearing at Kaduna Court of Appeal suspended due to court registry mix - up of documents.
  • February 11th, 2009 - Final briefs on Sha'aba's appeal presented by Mike Ahamba (SAN). Court also struck out motion by Sambo and the PDP pleading with court to throw out Sha'aban's appeal.
  • March 6th, 2009- Justice Bulkachuwa appeal panel upholds Namadi Sambo's election.
    Sha'aban condemns the Bulkachuwa panel's decision as a rape of justice.
  • May 15th, 2009 - Mike Ahamba (SAN) appeals the Justice Bulkachuwa panel ruling to the President Court of Appeal and the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC).
  • June 2nd, 2009 - Federal Court of Appeal, Abuja issues directive for appeal to be retried.
  • June 17th, 2009 - Appeal retrial proceedings begin in Kaduna.
  • September 28th, 2009 - Scheduled hearing of motions moved for lack of quorum.
  • November 30th, 2009 - Court sitting postponed because of Eid-el-Kabir public holidays.
  • February 10th, 2010 - Hearing into motions for retrial by the Justice Kumai Bayang Akaas panel.
  • March 1st, 2010 - Appeal Court denies motion for retrial of election appeal.
  • March 15th, 2010 - Sha'aban files appeal at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Abuja.
  • November 1st & 4th, 2010 - Supreme Court, Abuja hearing of appeal.
  • November 4th, 2010 - Supreme Court dismisses appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

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