Supreme Court affirms Abba Yusuf as duly elected Kano Governor

The Okoro-led ruling reversed the verdict of the appellate court which declared Nasiru Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress, APC, winner.

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Supreme Court affirms Abba Yusuf as duly elected Kano Governor
Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State

The Supreme Court has affirmed the election of Abba Yusuf as duly elected governor of Kano State.

The apex court set aside the verdicts of the Court of Appeal and election petitions tribunal, which nullified the victory of Yusuf in the March 18, 2023 governorship poll.

A five-member panel of the apex court in a judgment delivered by Justice John Okor, held that the tribunal and the court of appeal erred by sacking Yusuf, candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), as governor of the state

BRANDPOWER reports that Yusuf , and his party NNPP, had filed an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which had affirmed his sacking as earlier pronounced by the Kano State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.

The tribunal had sacked Yusuf and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw his certificate of return and instead issue same to to Nasir Yusuf Gawuna, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 18, 2023 governorship election.

However, not satisfied with the Tribunal judgment, Yusuf had approached the Appeal Court. But the appellate court had while affirming his sack, further held that the governor was not a member of the party as of the time of the election and could not have been said to have been properly sponsored for the election.

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The five-member panel of justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Inyang Okoro delivered the unanimous verdict in Abuja.

The Okoro-led ruling reversed the verdict of the appellate court which declared Nasiru Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress, APC, winner.

In delivering the judgment, Justice Okoro gave two reasons that favoured Governor Yusuf, the candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP.

Wrong deductions of votes

In the lead judgement, Okoro delivered, held that the two lower courts – Kano State Election Petitions Tribunal and Court of Appeal wrongly deducted valid votes that were credited to Governor Yusuf by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

It held that the 165,663 votes were removed from Yusuf and the NNPP on the premise that the ballot papers were not signed, stamped, or dated, and were valid.

The court held that contrary to the position of the lower courts, a total of 146, 292 of the ballot papers were confirmed to have been signed and stamped, only that they did not contain any date.

It held that by section 63(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, ballot papers, that carried the official mark and was duly issued by INEC, were not totally invalid.

Sponsorship as domestic affairs

Also, in the ruling, Justice Okoro-led panel held that the issue of sponsorship of a candidate in an election was within the domestic affairs of a political party.

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It held that Yusuf won the governorship election by a majority of lawful votes and was duly nominated by his political party.