By Nicholas Ojo
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has reserved judgment in the appeal filed by Kano State Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) against the judgment of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which declared the All Progressive Congress (APC) flagbearer, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, winner of the election.
The Independent National Electronic Electoral Commission (INEC) had announced Yusuf winner of the March 18, 2023 election, after he garnered 1,019,602 votes to defeat Gawuna who got 890,705 of the votes cast.
But the APC approached the Tribunal, citing alleged electoral malpractice.
A three-man panel of judges led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan Osadebay sacked Yusuf on September 20, 2023, by declaring 165,663 of his votes invalid because they were not signed or stamped by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The governor’s votes were then reduced to 853,939 while Ganuwa’s 890,705 votes remained.
Yusuf had rejected the tribunal verdict, which he described as “unfair” and “a miscarriage of justice”, and headed to the appeal court.
The governor then filed an appeal before the appellate court. The APC, INEC, and the NNPP also entered cross-appeals before the court. https://sundiatapost.com/appeal-court-verdict-aida-nath-campaign-organisation-congratulates-agbese-urges-him-to-justify-mandate/
At the court on Monday, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, lead for Yusuf, asked that the judgement of the tribunal be set aside. While he kicked against the ruling on ballot papers, noting that its the first time in the history that a tribunal will annul an election over non-signing of the back of ballot papers.
The lawyer explained that the tribunal erred, adding that, that was the first time that a political party would file a matter without joining its candidate as a party in the petition and the candidate would declared winner of the polls.
While Akin Olujimi SAN, counsel for APC, countered him saying the Appeal Courts stated emphatically that the non-signing of ballots amounted to electoral malpractice. He argued that INEC regulations have set out what presiding officers are to do at the point of voting, adding that the back of ballot papers must be signed and dated. https://sundiatapost.com/reps-deputy-spokesperson-agbese-wins-in-appeal-court/
The appeal court panel subsequently reserved judgment, saying a date would be communicated to the parties.
“Judgement in this appeal is hereby reserved to a date to be communicated to the parties,” the panel held.