There was a new twist to the 2023 Zamfara governorship election with the leadership of the North-Western state now in question as the Appeal Court nullified the election of Governor Dauda Lawal and ruled for a rerun in 3 local government areas.
Channels reports that Lawal, of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared the winner of the March 18 governorship election. In a shocking victory that dislodged then-incumbent Bello Matawalle of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he polled a total of 377,726 votes.
Matawalle scored 311,976 votes. The PDP candidate, now serving as the Minister of State for Defence, had accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of subverting his victory at the poll by failing to include the results of some ward areas.
But in an earlier ruling on September 18, the Zamfara Election Petitions Tribunal held that the petition was devoid of merit. While upholding Lawal’s victory, the tribunal awarded the N500,000 fine against the petitioners.
An unsatisfied Matawalle, as observers expected, took the matter to the Court of Appeal in Abuja, to challenge the decision of the lower court
Respite came for Matawalle on Thursday as the three-member panel led by Justice Oyebisi Folayemi, nullified the return of Governor Lawal as the winner of the governorship poll.
Justice Sybil Nwaka who read the lead judgment ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election in three local government areas of the state, where elections had not been held previously or where results from various polling units were not counted.
The affected council areas out of the 14 in the North-Western are Maradun, Birnin-Magaji, and Bukkuyum.
The court held that it was wrong for INEC to rely on information it obtained from its INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal to collate the final result of the governorship election.
Meanwhile, Gov Dauda Lawal of Zamfara on Friday called on the people of the state to ramain calm and law abiding over the Appeal Court verdict on his governorship election.
BRANDPOWER reports that the Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday declared March 18, Zamfara governorship election inconclusive.
The court ordered a rerun in three local government areas of Birnin-Magaji, Bukkuyum and Maradun.
Lawal, who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Sulaiman Idris, in a statement in Gusau described the verdict as a temporary setback.
“I want to call on the people of Zamfara to remain calm, our legal team is thoroughly reviewing the verdict.
“We will follow through with the necessary actions to achieve a just outcome,” the Governor said.
According to him, the outcome of the governorship election on March 18 represented the people’s yearning for a shift towards positive development and progress.
“I remain optimistic that the collective decision of the people will ultimately prevail.
“We will emerge victorious, our unwavering determination and steadfast commitment leave no room for doubt or fear.
“Though we faced numerous challenges on the road to victory in the last election, now we are fully committed to retain this widely acclaimed mandate.”