The Supreme Court has restored Abba Kabir Yusuf as the governor of Kano State. The apex court, in its final judgements on Friday (today), nullified the appeal court judgment that declared Nasiru Gawuna, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate as elected governor of Kano State.
A five-member panel of the apex court 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 Kano.
Power in the north-western state shifted from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in the 2023 general elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Yusuf of the NNPP as the winner of the March 18, 2023, gubernatorial election. However, his close contender, Gawuna of the APC, challenged the outcome of the election, alleging electoral malpractices.
The Kano State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal and the Court of Appeal had earlier nullified Yusuf’s victory and declared Gawuna the winner of the poll.
Yusuf and his party headed to the Supreme Court, seeking to nullify the decisions of the lower courts.
The suit was predicated on alleged forgery of NNPC membership card by Governor Yusuf, and votes manipulation by INEC in favour of the governor.
One of the main issues in the appeal is also whether the lower court was right to have cancelled 165,616 votes that were ascribed to Yusuf.
Justice Okoro held that decision of the tribunal to deduct the votes from the Governor’s results was based on provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, but added that the provision does not regulate actions at the polling units.
The justice added that there is no proof that the said ballot papers were not the one used at the election. “Thus the decision of the Court of Appeal affirming the decision of the tribunal ought to be set aside,” the Justice said
“The lower court wrongly misconstrued its evaluation of the ballot papers. This amounts to perversion.
Accordingly, all the ballot papers are restored to Governor Yusuf,” Okoro said.