By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday nullified the application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demanding the recount of votes cast in the March 9 governorship election.
The PDP and its candidate, Isa Ashiru, are challenging the declaration of the incumbent Governor, Nasir el-Rufai of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election on the grounds that the polls were characterised by irregularities.
The party had applied for the recount of ballot in some polling units and wards in Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Igabi, Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Zaria, Sabon Gari, Makarfi, Kudan, Kubau, Soba and Ikara Local Government Areas won by the APC in the election.
However, ruling on the application, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ibrahim M. Bako, noted that the court does not have the power to grant the application for the recount of ballot papers.
The judge adjourned the case to June 15, 2019 for continuation of hearing.
Reacting to the ruling, the lead counsel to the PDP, Elisha Kurah (SAN), in an interview, frowned on the ruling, saying that the legal team will study it and take the necessary action.
He said the ruling is strange because other tribunals and the court of appeal had ordered for recounting of votes in a number of similar cases in the past.
“So, we wonder at this stage why the tribunal would say it doesn’t have the power to order a recount. We have to take it up so that the issue will be trashed out,” he said.
He said the claim of the court not to have powers to grant the application and to assume that there is no specific provision in the electoral act that talks about recount is strange.
While quoting section 6(17) of the constitution, he said the inherent powers of the court is clear, explaining that judicial powers conferred on the court to do justice to the case and this one cannot be an exception.
Also in his reaction to the ruling, the counsel to Nasiru to the APC, Abdulhakeen Mustapha (SAN), said he was satisfied with the ruling, noting that the application by the PDP lacked merit.