Justice Muktar Hussein of the Court of Appeal Kaduna, on Thursday dismissed the appeal of the Peoples Democratic Party seeking the recount of votes cast in the March 9 Governorship election in Kaduna State for lack of merit.
The Appeal Court upheld the decision of the governorship election petition tribunal for dismissing the petitioners’ motion.
The Justice Hussein-led five-man panel in the appeal, said vote recount application could only be entertained during main hearing of the petition and not during pre-trial session.
He said: “The petitioners have the right to apply and seek for the order of the tribunal to compel INEC to produce and recount the ballot papers.”
According to the court, the tribunal was right not to have granted the application, because it was an attempt to decide judgment before the end of the trial at the pre-trial stage.
The Appeal Court, however, dismissed the ruling of the tribunal on petitioners’ application for ammendment to narrow the vote recount exercise to 12 LGs in the state.
Hussein said that the application by the petitioners “does not constitute abuse of court process”, and therefore dismissed the ruling.
The Tribunal had on May 28, struck out the petitioners motion seeking for recount of votes cast in the governorship elections in the state, for lack of merit.
Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Bako, who ruled on the motion, had said that the tribunal had a timeline of only 180 days within which to complete its assignment and would not accommodate the motion seeking for the recount of the votes.
He also refused the application for amendment of the motion seeking to narrow the votes recount exercise to only 12 local government areas.
The PDP and Ashiru had asked the Tribunal to order for a vote recount in 12 LGs mostly won by the APC in an amended motion.
The petitioners had asked that votes for Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Igabi, Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Zaria, Sabon Gari, Makarfi, Kudan, Kubau, Soba and Ikara local government areas be recounted.
The petitioners, dissatisfied with the ruling, went to the Appeal Court to challenge the position of the Tribunal.