Kano: S’Court reserves judgement on appeal against Gov Yusuf’s sack

Aliya Moses
4 Min Read

The Supreme Court, on Thursday, reserved its judgement on the appeal that Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State filed to upturn the nullification of his election.

A five-member panel of the court, led by Justice Inyang Okoro, okayed the matter for judgement, after all the parties adopted their briefs of argument.

It will be recalled that the Kano State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal had in a virtual judgement it delivered on September 20, sacked governor Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, from office and declared Nasiru Gawuna of the All Progressive Congress, APC, as the valid winner of the governorship poll that 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 INEC.

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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.

With the development, his closest rival and candidate of the APC, Ganuwa, emerged as the winner of the election with 890,705 votes.

Dissatisfied with the judgement, Governor Yusuf approached the Court of Appeal, which on November 17, upheld the verdict of the tribunal.

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 that was held in the state on March 18.

It maintained that proof of evidence that was adduced before it established that the governor was not a member of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, as at the time the election 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 held that the Constitution stipulated that a person shall be qualified for the office of a governor of a state, if he is a member of a political party.

More so, the appellate court held that section 77 (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act made it mandatory for political parties to maintain a register of its members, which it must make available to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

It added that the tribunal was wrong not to have disqualified the Appellant after his name was not found in NNPP’s membership register.

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The court held that the party’s decision to sponsor a candidate that was not its member in the governorship contest, was fatal to its interest.

Consequently, it declared that governor Yusuf’s participation in the election without valid sponsorship by a political party, was “nothing but a mere nullity,” and awarded N1 million cost against him.

However, controversy trailed the certified true copy of the judgement of the appellate court, after it was discovered the concluding part, affirmed governor Yusuf’s election.

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