Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has reserved judgement in the appeal filed by the Kano State governor, Abba Yusuf, against his removal from office by the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in the state.
However, the court sacked a member of the House of Representatives, Musa Iliyasu Kwankwaso, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and reinstated Yusuf Umar Datti of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in the Kura/Madobi/Garun Malam federal constituency election in Kano State.
The lower tribunal which sacked the governor held that the ballot papers were neither signed nor stamped by the Independent National Electoral Commission. Consequently, it declared the APC candidate, Nasiru Gawuna, winner of the governorship election.
Dissatisfied with the judgement, Yusuf appealed against the tribunal verdict and urged the court to set aside the judgement.
At the hearing of the appeal yesterday, the lead counsel for the appellant, Chief Wole Olanipekun, urged the court to set aside the judgement of the lower court.
Olanipekun said the tribunal has created a new jurisprudence that departs from the precedent set by the appeal court and the apex court with its judgement.
He submitted that it was the first time an election would be nullified based on non-stamping and signing of ballot papers.
He also held that the tribunal erred in referring to section 71 of the Electoral Act and citing decisions arising from the section.
Olanipekun, however, urged the court not to allow the judgement of the lower court to stand.
The lead counsel for the first respondent, Akin Olujuimi (SAN) urged the court to dismiss the appeal.
Olujimi said, “Contrary to the contention that the tribunal created a jurisprudence, the decision of this court right from 2009 laid it down under the regulation of INEC has set up what presiding officers are to do at the point of casting of votes. It said signatures and stamps must be on ballot papers with dates. And this court has heard that failure to do this is a clear case of non-compliance. It is not a new jurisprudence.”
He said INEC admitted that the ballot papers were invalid, urging the court to dismiss the appeal.
He further argued that section 71 alluded to by the lower court rather than section 63 should not be a basis for the nullification of the court’s decision.
“The wrong reference to section 71 should not have anything to do with the validity of the decision, ” Olujuimi added.
Responding to Olanipekun’s submission that the candidate was not joined in the case, Olujimi said it is settled law that votes are cast for the party in an election and that any decision affecting a political party embraces all its members.
The court, however, reserved judgements in all the matters till a date that would be communicated to parties involved in the appeal.
On the lawmaker’s seat, the three-man panel led by Justice Tunde Oyebamiji Awotoye held that Datti’s appeal had merit and allowed it. The panel further averred that the tribunal was wrong to have counted the date of the appellant’s resignation on the date of his party primary, adding that Section 77 of the Electoral Act was misapplied as the issue of membership of a political party is an internal affair, which no court has jurisdiction on.
On September 20, 2023, the Kano State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Kano, sacked the state governor.
The tribunal declared the Gawuna, winner of the March 18 governorship poll in the state.
The three-man panel, led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebe, delivered the judgement virtually from Miller Road, Kano, venue of the Election Petition Tribunal..…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>