An Appeal Court on Friday sitting in Abuja has sacked Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State.
The panel affirmed the tribunal’s decision, headed by Justice Oluyemi Akintan Osadebay, which removed Yusuf on September 20, 2023.
The lower court had invalidated 165,663 votes for Yusuf, who ran with the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), citing their lack of signature or stamp by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The governor’s votes were then reduced to 853,939 while those of Nasir Ganuwa, his All Progressives Congress (APC) rival, remained at 890,705.
Rejecting the tribunal’s decision as unfair and a miscarriage of justice, Yusuf took the matter to the appeal court.
At the court, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, lead for Yusuf, asked that the judgment of the tribunal be set aside.
Kicking against the ruling on ballot papers, the senior lawyer said that was the first time in history that a tribunal would annul an election over non-signing of the back of ballot papers.
He claimed that the tribunal had made an error, asserting that it was unprecedented for a political party to submit a case without including its candidate in the petition, only for the candidate to be declared the winner of the polls.
But Akin Olujimi SAN, counsel for APC, countered him saying the Appeal Court stated emphatically that the non-signing of ballots amounted to electoral malpractice.
What the Court said
The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of justices, held that Governor Yusuf was not a valid candidate in the gubernatorial election held in the state on March 18.
It maintained that evidence that was adduced by the parties established that Governor Yusuf was not a member of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, at the time the election was held.
According to the court, Yusuf, under section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, was not qualified to contest the governorship election since he was not validly sponsored by the NNPP.
“A person must be a member of a political party before he can be sponsored for an election.
“Sponsorship without membership is like putting something on nothing,” the court held in its lead judgement that was delivered by Justice M. U. Adumeh.
It will be recalled that the tribunal had in a virtual judgement it delivered on September 20, sacked governor Yusuf of the NNPP, from office and declared Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna of the All Progressive Congress, APC, as the valid winner of the governorship poll held in the state on March 18.
The three-member panel tribunal, led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay, held that some ballot papers that were relied upon to declare Yusuf as the winner of the gubernatorial contest, were neither signed nor stamped by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
It proceeded to declare 165,663 of the votes that were credited to the NNPP candidate as invalid.
Following the deduction of the said invalid votes, Yusuf, who was initially declared winner of the governorship poll with a total of 1,019,602 votes, had his tally reduced to 853, 939 votes.
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I am a journalist and a political and socioeconomic analyst currently employed at Nairametrics. I pride myself on being a skilled wordsmith with a passion for delving into contemporary political issues on both a national and international scale. Additionally, I contribute research-based columns and op-eds to national publications.
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