The Court of Appeal in Abuja has nullified the election of Dauda Lawal as the governor of Zamfara State, ordering a rerun in three crucial local governments. The decision, led by Justice Omoloye Jombo-Ojo, cited discrepancies in the use of IREV by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for result collation, contrary to a prior Supreme Court ruling.
In the lead judgment, Justice Sybil Nwaka Gbagi upheld four out of seven issues raised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bello Matawalle, who petitioned against Lawal’s victory. The court declared the election inconclusive and directed INEC to conduct fresh polls in Maradun Local Government Area and specified polling units in Birnin Magaji and Bukuyyum local government areas.
Matawalle, former governor and current Minister of State for Defence, argued that the election irregularities and uncounted votes invalidated Lawal’s win. Despite the dismissal of his petition by the Zamfara State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, the Court of Appeal’s decision has set the stage for a renewed electoral contest.
Anticipation Builds as Kano and Bauchi Governors Await Appeal Court Rulings
Meanwhile, anxiety looms in Kano and Bauchi states as the Appeal Court is set to deliver judgments on the election petitions. In Kano, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf and the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) seek to challenge the tribunal’s decision, while in Bauchi, the All Progressives Congress (APC) contests the re-election of Bala Muhammad of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Kano case revolves around the tribunal’s removal of Governor Yusuf due to invalidated votes, a decision vehemently opposed by the governor and his party. The Bauchi APC, led by former Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, contests the tribunal’s affirmation of Bala Muhammad’s victory.
Precautions Taken Amidst Fears of Unrest
In Kano, residents have engaged in panic buying, fearing potential violence if the court affirms the removal of the NNPP-led government. Markets experienced a surge as people prepared for possible disruptions, echoing memories of unrest following the tribunal verdict. The NNPP and APC have signed a peace deal with the Kano State Police Command, emphasizing the need for order and restraint.
Similarly, the Bauchi State Police Command has cautioned against jubilations or violent reactions after the judgment, pledging decisive action against any breach of peace. The Kano State government has urged citizens to remain calm and avoid actions that could threaten peace, emphasizing the importance of maintaining stability for the state’s development.
As the legal battles unfold, these judgments hold significant implications for the political landscape in Zamfara, Kano, and Bauchi states, shaping the future trajectory of governance in these regions.