The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday invalidated the election of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State.
In a unanimous decision, a three-member panel of justices led by Justice Moore A. Adumein upheld the appeal filed by Nasir Yusuf Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress.
The court ruled that Governor Yusuf was not a legitimate candidate in the gubernatorial election held on March 18, 2023.
The panel concluded that evidence presented during the proceedings established that Governor Yusuf was not a member of the New Nigeria Peoples Party at the time of the election.
Citing Section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, as amended, the court determined that Governor Yusuf was ineligible to contest the governorship election due to the absence of valid sponsorship from the NNPP.
The panel emphasized that every political party is required to maintain a register of its members, as stipulated in Section 77 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The court noted that the appellant, Governor Yusuf, failed to present the NNPP’s membership register or submit a sworn statement attesting to his membership in the party.
Furthermore, the court asserted that the 1999 Constitution mandates political parties to maintain a membership register and submit it to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Election Tribunal upon request.
According to Justice Adumein who pronounced the ruling, he said, “As has been rightly established, Yusuf Abba was not a member of the NNPP at the time he was purportedly sponsored by his party, and he was not qualified to contest the March Governorship Election.”
The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal had previously declared Gawuna the winner of the March 18 election. On September 20, 2023, in response to a petition filed by the APC, the tribunal overturned INEC’s initial declaration of Yusuf as the winner, who received 1,019,602 votes compared to Gawuna’s 890,705 votes.
In nullifying the election, the tribunal concurred with the APC’s assertion that over 160,000 ballot papers “were not signed or stamped by INEC.”
After deducting 165,663 votes from his total, Yusuf’s vote count was reduced to 853,939, while Ganuwa’s 890,705 votes remained unaffected.
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