The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has sacked the Governor of Kano State, Abba Yusuf and upheld the decision of the Election Petition Tribunal that earlier nullified his election.
In a unanimous judgement on Friday, a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal led by Moore Adumein, declared Nasiru Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the March 18, 2023, governorship election in Kano state.
Recall that the 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 Gawuna as the valid winner of the election.
But the Court of Appeal held that Yusuf was not a member of the NNPP as at the time of the election.
The court said that under section 177(c) of the 1999 constitution, as amended, that Yusuf was not qualified to contest the governorship election since he was not validly sponsored by the NNPP.
“Yusuf Abba was not a member of the NNPP as of the time he was purportedly sponsored on 18 March for the Kano Governorship election.
“The tribunal was wrong not to have disqualified the appellant, Governor Yusuf. The failure of NNPP to properly sponsor Mr Yusuf according to Section 177 (c) of the constitution, is fatal to their case.
“All the nine issues are hereby resolved against the appellant,” the judge held.
Adumein dismissed the appeal and awarded the sum of N1 million as cost against Governor Yusuf.
With the Court of Appeal’s decision, the incumbent governor, Yusuf stands a chance to challenge the judgement at the Supreme Court.
In The Beginning
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Mr Yusuf as the winner of the March 18, gubernatorial election.
He polled 1,019,602 votes to defeat Mr Gawuna of the APC, who placed second with 890,705 votes.
Mr Yusuf rode on the popularity of a former governor of the state, Rabiu Kwankwaso and the Kwankwasiya Movement to defeat Mr Gawuna.
Not satisfied with the victory, Gawuna challenged the election outcome at the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
The three-member panel, 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 Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
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.