Supreme Court reserves judgment in Kano governorship legal battle


The Supreme Court on Thursday in Abuja, reserved judgment in the Kano State Governorship legal battle.

At the centre of the legal battle are the New Nigeria Peoples Party NNPP and the All Progressives Congress APC and their governorship candidates Kabir Yusuf and Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna,

At Thursday’s proceedings, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN asked the Supreme Court to set aside the decision of the Appeal Court and the Tribunal.

Olanipekun specifically pleaded with the five-man Apex Court panel headed by Justice John Inyang Okoro to determine whether or not, the guidelines of INEC would be a basis for nullifying the election victory of a candidate who won the election by a margin of over 100,000.

The senior lawyer argued that this is the first time in the annals of electoral jurisprudence that an election was nullified on grounds that ballot papers were not signed or stamped at the back.

He said INEC guidelines do not envisage that the courts would nullify an election based on INEC’s purported failure to stamp ballot papers on the back.

The governor’s legal team maintained that its client’s membership of the NNPP is a pre-election matter and that the Court of Appeal lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter

“The judgment of the lower courts is very unfair to the appellant and we urge your lordships to upturn it,” Olanipekun said.

“Nobody raised the legality or illegality of the ballots. They tendered the ballot from the bar. Nobody spoke to it,” Olanipekun replied.

The The ballot papers were legal because they were issued by INEC officials.

But in a counter-argument, the All Progressives Congress (APC) counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi maintained that the Electoral Act mandates INEC presiding officers to sign the back of ballot papers after the conclusion of the election to make them legal and lawful

Olujinmi said the findings of the tribunal were simply that the ballot papers were not signed at the back and not dated and proceeded to cancel the election where the ballots were used.

After taking arguments from parties, Justice Okoro reserved judgment on the governor’s appeal.

The tribunal had in September nullified Yusuf’s election, citing over 160,000 invalid votes due to missing signatures and stamps on the ballot papers.

The APC had challenged the election outcome at the Tribunal, alleging electoral malpractice.

Yusuf, however, appealed the tribunal’s decision to the Court of Appeal.

But the Court of Appeal in Abuja dismissed the appeal filed by the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) candidate against the judgment of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which declared the All Progressive Congress (APC) flag bearer, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, as the winner of the state’s governorship poll held on March 11.


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