Kalshingi H Jedidah
Governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Gombe has dismissed the petition of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) which challenged the outcome of April 11th 2015 governorship election conducted in the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC that declared Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of People’s Democratic Party ( PDP) as the winner.
The petition was nullified and dismissed by the court the competency of the petitioner’s counsel, Mr Sam Kagbo as a legal practitioner.
The Tribunal chairman Justice Mohammad Sirajo in his ruling stated that, based on the provision of section 1(2) and 24 of the Legal Practitioner’s acts, only persons whose names are on the roll of Legal Practitioners can practice as Barristers or Solicitors in a court.
According to him, the nullification of the petition was on the basis that, the name Sam Kagbo was not on the roll of Nigerian Legal Practitioners, and that by interpretation, the name or whoever bears the same, was not entitled, qualified, or have the right of audience in the court as granted to legal practitioners in section 8 of the Legal Practitioners act and section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Justice Siraj also ruled that the petition remained competent based on the fact that it was signed by both Sam Kagbo and the petitioner Alh. Jafar Abubakar. He also added that, the tribunal was bound by its ruling of July 9th, and that nullification of the petition was a unanimous decision of the Tribunal and that was not set aside by the entire judicial authority. He ruled that, all processes filled including proceedings conducted by the Sam Kagbo on behalf of the petitioner remained nullified based on incompetence.
Earlier, the first respondent’s counsel, Mr Solomon Umoh SAN submitted a preliminary objection before the tribunal questioning competence of the petitioner’s counsel, insisting that the name Sam Kagbo with which the petitioner’s counsel appeared before the Tribunal was not the same as Samuel Peter Kagbo which the person in question claimed, on this basis he insisted the petitioner’s counsel was not competent to sign the petition asking the Tribunal to dismiss the petition.
In an interview shortly after the court session, the petitioner’s counsel told journalists that, the ruling was straightforward, even as he said the matter had already been taken to the court of Appeal based on the earlier ruling of the tribunal, and that, they would still take up the matter to the court of Appeal for redress.
“We verily believe that this ruling will not stand, the only fear we have for now is the time we’ve already gone three months into the time limited for us to conclude this tribunal sitting. We pray that the court of Appeal would attend to us as early as possible so that we can come quickly and continue with the job, believe me we are certain that we are coming back.” He stated.
Also speaking on the matter lead counsel to the first respondent Ibrahim Isiyaka SAN said all effort was to attain justice. He said, the decision by the petitioner to take up the matter to the Court of Appeal was constitutionally right, whenever a party is not satisfied with a certain court ruling in order to ventilate their grievances, even though he said the question whether the matter would be sustained at the court of Appeal would be decided by the law.