The Court of Appeal in Abuja has upheld the ruling of the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, resulting in the removal of Abba Yusuf, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) candidate, from the position of governor.
The panel supported the earlier verdict of the tribunal, led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan Osadebay, which had ousted Yusuf on September 20, 2023.
The tribunal, in its prior ruling, declared 165,663 votes of Governor Yusuf invalid due to a lack of signatures or stamps by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Consequently, the governor’s vote count was reduced to 853,939, while his All Progressives Congress (APC) rival, Nasir Ganuwa, maintained his tally at 890,705.
Governor Yusuf had vehemently rejected the tribunal’s decision, denouncing it as “unfair” and “a miscarriage of justice.” Seeking recourse, he appealed the case to the Court of Appeal, where Wole Olanipekun, SAN, leading the legal team for Yusuf, requested the tribunal’s judgment to be set aside.
Olanipekun argued against the tribunal’s ruling on invalid ballot papers, asserting that it marked the first instance in history where an election was annulled due to the non-signing of the back of ballot papers. He also highlighted procedural irregularities, emphasizing that it was unprecedented for a political party to file a case without joining its candidate as a party in the petition, yet the candidate was declared the winner.
However, Akin Olujimi SAN, counsel for the APC, countered Olanipekun’s arguments. He pointed out that the Appeal Court emphatically stated that the non-signing of ballots constituted electoral malpractice, adding a layer of complexity to the already contentious legal battle. The fate of Kano State’s leadership now hangs in the balance as the legal saga unfolds. Stay tuned for further updates on this developing story.