Aggrieved by the judgment of the tribunal delivered on the 7th November 2015, Governor Darius Ishaku through his counsel, Kanu Agabi SAN lodged an appeal raising eleven (11) grounds. Some of these grounds are that;
- All the witness statements that accompanied the petition were not sworn to as no oath was administered.
- The so-called witness statements did not bear the name or signature of the person purporting to administer the oath.
- Under paragraph 4(6) of the first scheduled to the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), a petition should not be accepted for filing by the secretary of the tribunal unless accompanied by witness statements duly sworn.
- By the authority of Obumneke Vs Sylvester, 179 ors (2010) ALL FWLR (PT502) 1152 a commissioner for oath must append his signature to an oath or deposition to verify its authenticity and legitimacy.
- The petition was rendered incompetent by the petitioner pleading two or more grounds which were mutually exclusive in that the petitioner while pleading that the election was marred by corrupt practices and irregularities, the petitioner on another breath claimed that they were the winners of the same election.
- The tribunal by the supreme court decision of Rev. Wilson Sabiya Vs Bamanga Tukur (1983)PELR-SC 112/1983 and also the Supreme court decision of Ojukwu Vs Yar’adua (2009) 12 NWLR (pt 1154) 50 the tribunal ought to have dismissed the petition.
- The tribunal did not consider or review the evidence of 51 witnesses called by Gov. Darius Ishaku and this amounts to a denial of fair hearing.
- The facts pleaded in the petition that Primaries was inconsistent with ground one of the petition which alleged that Gov. Darius was not sponsored by a political party. The petitioners on their own went ahead to plead facts that Gov. Darius was sponsored by PDP and he won the election. This amounts to abandoning ground one of their petition.
Notice and Grounds of Appeal by PDP
Also aggrieved by the decision of the tribunal, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) through their counsel chief Solo Akuma SAN maintained an appeal raising seventeen (17) grounds some which are as follows;
- The petition did not disclose the date the result of the election was declared by INEC.
- By section 285 (5) of the 1999 constitution, an election petition shall be filed within 21days from the date of declaration of the election.
- The date of declaration of the election is fundamental and must be disclosed so as to determine when 21 days to file petition starts counting in line with section 285 (5) of the 1999 constitution.
- The tribunal acted without jurisdiction when it declared Sen. Aisha the winner of the election in disregard of section 140 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
- The petitioner did not ask for a fresh election in the petition and the tribunal ought to have dismissed the petition.
- The question of nomination and sponsorship of a candidate to an election is an internal affair of a political party and not open to persons who are not members of that party. By section 87 of the Electoral Act, only an aspirant who participated in the primaries of the party can challenge the party primaries.
- The petitioners themselves stated in their pleadings that Gov. Darius is a member of PDP and was sponsored by PDP. The petitioners are bound by their pleadings and cannot deny what they pleaded. Exhibits B2 and B3 are evidence to show that Gov. Darius was sponsored by PDP and that primary election was conducted.
- By virtue of section 85 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, it is not mandatory for INEC to supervise party primaries; and so non-attendance of INEC to party primaries cannot invalidate the primaries.
- The law is settled that a party cannot plead that the election was marred by electoral malpractice and should be annulled and at the same time claim victory of the same election. The petitioners pleaded that the election was marred by corrupt practices and at the same time claimed that they are the winners of the election.
- By the Supreme Court decision of Sabiya Vs Bamanga Tukur ᾲ ors (1983) LPELR, 112/83 the tribunal ought to have dismissed the petition as the tribunal have no jurisdiction to pick and choose between the contradictory facts pleaded in the petition.
Notice and Grounds of Appeal by INEC
Aggrieved by the tribunal, INEC through her counsel J.B Dauda SAN also filed an appeal raising nine (9) grounds, some of which are as follows;
- The ground of the petition that Gov. Darius Ishaku was not qualified to contest the election having not being sponsored by a political party was inconsistent or contradictory to paragraphs 3,4,9 and 76 (6) of the petition which were to the effect that Gov. Darius was indeed sponsored by PDP.
- It is settled law that where a ground of a petition is inconsistent with the facts pleaded in the said petition that ground ought to be struck out by the tribunal.
- The petition was rendered incompetent by the petitioner pleading two or more grounds which were mutually exclusive in that the petitioners while pleading that the election was marred by corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 nevertheless claimed victory in the same election and sought to be declared the winner.
- The judgment of the tribunal contravened the general principle of law that inconsistent reliefs cannot be tried jointly in the same action/petition.
- The tribunal made no reference or review the evidence of the witnesses called by INEC thus amounting to denial of fair hearing.
- The ground that Gov. Darius was not qualified to contest election should have been accompanied by a relief seeking for a fresh election. The petition did not seek a relief for fresh election. This makes the petition incompetent.
- That it is the exclusive power of the political party to decide who becomes the flag bearer; PDP conducted its primaries and Gov. Darius emerged the flag bearer and his name was submitted to INEC in line with section 177 (c) of the 1999 constitution and section 31 of the Electoral Act.
By section 31 of the Electoral Act, INEC has no right to disqualify any candidate whose party has complied with the Electoral Act.