The Supreme Court on Friday nullified the election of Kebbi state Governor Usman Saidu Dakingari of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct a fresh governorship election in the state within 90 days.
The decision of the court was premised on the failure of the Sokoto Division of the Court of Appeal which had earlier upturned the decision of the Kebbi state Election Petition Tribunal which also nullified the governor’s election.
The Court of Appeal while affirming the governor’s election delivered its judgment on 29 December 2011 but deferred the reason for its decision to 23 January, 2012, a day clearly out of the 60 days prescribed by section 285 (7) and (8) of the nation’s constitution as amended.
The court held that the Court of Appeal not being the final court in the determination of appeals arising from the conduct of governorship elections, lacked the power to deliver judgment and defer the reasons for its decision, more so, to a date which is outside the mandatory 60 days prescribed by Section 285 (7) of the Constitution.
According to Justice Walter Onnonghen who delivered the decision of the court, “it is obligatory for the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court to dispose an appeal within 60 days from the date of the decision being appealed. Section 285 (7) implies that both the decision and the reasons for that decisions must be completed within the stipulated time. Any decision without a reason is no decision at all. The judiciary has no option than to work within the time frame provided by the law.”
The court subsequently upheld the appeal of the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Abubakar Malam Abubakar which challenged the validity of the decision of the Court of Appeal and declared the Court of Appeal’s decision invalid and a nullity.
—Nnamdi Felix/ Abuja