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Appeal Court Reschedules Hearing of Motions
posted on 30th September, 2009

Court of Appeal Nigeria, Kaduna
Court of Appeal Nigeria, Kaduna Division
The Federal Court of Appeal, Kaduna has moved the hearing into the motion filed for the retrial of the electoral dispute between the Kaduna State Governor, Namadi Sambo and the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate in the April 2007 gubernatorial race, Hon. Sani Sha'aban to 30th November, 2009.

The decision to shift the date that was necessitated by the lack of a quorum (five) in the number of justices present to hear the case was taken at the scheduled sitting of the court on Monday, 28th September, 2009.

At the Monday court sitting, after the usual introduction of lawyers representing the different parties (ANPP, PDP and INEC), the presiding judge, Justice Alkali Ba'aba leading a team of three Appeal Court justices appologised for the inability of the Court of Appeal to fully constitute the panel as was required following the last sitting in June 2009. According to the presiding judge, eventhough a fourth judge has been added to the Kaduna Appeal Court, the fifth judge was yet to be appointed to the Court. The adjournment is required to allow the Federal Court of Appeal address this structural problem and conclude the appointment process which they expect could happen any time soon.

After his apology, the presiding judge directed the lawyers to agree amongst themselves and advise the court on the next date to reconvene and hear the motion before it.

Hon. Sani Sha'aban, ANPP Gubernatorial Candidate, Kaduna State
Hon. Sani Sha'aban
The first lawyer to address the court was Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), counsel to Sha'aban and the ANPP. Ahamba in his address reasoned with the Court of Appeal over the delay considering the structural changes going on at the court. In Ahamba's view, since nothing can be done until the court is full, he appealed for an expedited effort to resolve issues and facilitate the hearing of this case as there is palpable concern right across the hierarchy over the delay.

Emmanuel Toro (SAN) counsel to Namadi Sambo and the PDP in his address argued that the motion filed by his colleague, Ahamba amounts to an abuse of process and should be thrown out by the court.

The presiding judge interjected some humour into the day's proceedings. As soon as Toro got up to speak, the judge jockingly asked him "so you people still have not yet contacted the other people to settle this matter? Do you know the magnitude of what is before us?" Before Toro could say anything, Ahamba quickly responded, "My Lords, we are not here for any settlement. The only settlement I am asking for, is for these people to vaccate the Government House for my client". Following Ahamba's remarks, the entire court room bursted out into very prolonged laughter.

What was germaine in the presiding judge's comment is a veiled reference to the weight and seriousness of the issues addressed in Ahamba's motion and its possible legal ramification that the Court has to deal with.

Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN) has filed a civil motion requesting that the Court of Appeal declare as nullity and set aside the judgement of the Bulkachuwa panel that threw out the appeal he lodged with the court because the 'judgement' they gave was not a judgement. Unlike an election petition motion in which the Appeal Court is the final court of recourse, with a civil motion, technically, the matter can end up at the Supreme court if not adequately resolved at the lower level. Some of the key constitutional breaches Ahamba is challenging in the appeal and interlocutory injunction are Supreme court rulings that were disregarded by the said judgement.

Mohammed Namadi Sambo, Governor of Kaduna State, Nigeria
Arc. Namadi Sambo
Emmanuel Toro (SAN) went on further to suggest that, if the court of Appeal is facing diffulties constituting a new panel, they should bring back the other panel that dealt with the case previously to come and handle it again.

Ahamba objected strongly to the suggestion by the PDP counsel which if entertained would amount to bringing back the Bulkachuwa panel whose decision he is challenging. In Ahamba's words, "My Lords, the Court Appeal is the Court of Appeal. It, and it alone can set aside its judgement and not those panelists. Going by judicial precedence, the complaint being filed is against the conduct of those people and by mere fact that we are complaining against them, they are disqualified."

After considering different dates, the court set 30th November, 2009 as the next date for a full hearing into motions.

The ANPP gubernatorial challenger, Hon. Sani Sha'aban accompanied by his deputy, Mr. Joel Giwa Kwasu were at the Appeal Court to witness the day's deliberations. Sha'aban later addressed members of the press and reiterated his confidence in the judiciary believing that ultimately justice will be served notwithstanding the protracted nature of the case. He again thanked the people of Kaduna State for their support and appealed for their patience in this long struggle for justice.

    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.

Vote Sani Sha'aban - ACN for Kaduna State Governor 2011