THE Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday affirmed the tribunal judgment which declared the All Progressive Congress candidate, Nasiru Gawuna winner of the governorship election.
The Tribunal led by Justice Oluyemi Osadebay had nullified the election of Gov. Abba Yusuf by declaring 165, 663 of his votes were invalid.
The appellate court declared Yusuf Gawuna, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the duly elected governor of the state.
In a unanimous judgment a three-member panel of the appellate court, dismissed the appeal.
Delivering the judgment Justice Moore Adumein, held that Yusuf was not qualified to contest the election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had announced Yusuf as the winner of the March 18, 2023 election, saying he garnered 1,019,602 votes to defeat Gawuna who got 890,705 of the votes cast.
But the APC approached the Tribunal, citing alleged electoral malpractice.
The Tribunal, agreeing with the APC, nullified Yusuf’s election, adding that over 160,000 ballot papers “were not signed or stamped by INEC”.
Yusuf’s votes were subsequently reduced to 853,939 while Ganuwa’s 890,705 votes were not affected.
The three-man panel of the Tribunal led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan Osadebay sacked Yusuf on September 20, 2023, after deducting 165,663 of his votes.
The governor then filed an appeal before the appellate court.
The court held that Yusuf did not put up any resistance against the allegation that he was not a member of the party.
“If you claim you are a member of a party is it not logical to say so yourself rather than by proxy ?” the judge asked.
He held that Section 134 of the electoral act allowed the court to entertain an averment on the qualification of a candidate in an election.
The appellate court held that the court cannot allow political parties act arbitrarily.
He said, “Constitution is supreme and binding on all person including political parties.
“Political parties cannot be permitted to circumvent the clear and mandatory provision of the constitution. To contest an election you must not only be a member of a party but sponsored by that party.
“The electoral act made it mandatory that a party must keep a register of its members and make it available to INEC before an election.
“Yusuf was not a member of his party by the time he was purportedly sponsored by his party. He was not qualified to contest for the election.
A court must be consistent with its judgment”
He noted that the tribunal was wrong not to have disqualified Yusuf in its ruling.
“The tribunal Was wrong not to have disqualified him. The failure to comply with sec 177(c) is fatal to their election. A person must.
“Where a party carelessly nominates a candidate such is nullity irrespective of whether he performs well. Sponsorship without membership is like putting nothing on something, it cannot stand.
This is a clear example of acting with brazen impunity as if the Constitution is not binding, “he held.
Adumein, however, berated political parties for always blaming their defeat at the court and on the judges.
He said, “The same party will wake up to accuse the judiciary including infamous allegations of corrupt practices.
On Sept. 20, the Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sacked Gov. Yusuf and declared 165,663 of his votes invalid, saying they were not signed or stamped by INEC.
Then, INEC declared Yusuf the winner of the March 18, 2023 election after he secured 1,019,602 votes against his opponent Nasiru Gawuna who secured 890,705 votes.
But, after the tribunal deducted the 165,663 votes from Yusuf’s tally, his votes were reduced to 853, 939, which were over 30,000 votes less than the 890,705 votes polled by Gawuna of the APC.
Going by that declaration, the Tribunal then ruled that the APC candidate was the winner of the governorship election and ordered INEC to withdraw Yusuf’s certificate of return and give Gawuna a new one.
This prompted Gov. Yusuf and his party, the NNPP as well as the INEC to appeal the Tribunal’s judgement wishing to be upturned in their favour(NAN)
-Nov. 17, 2023 @ 16:45 GMT |