The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Governor Abba Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, as the elected governor of Kano State. The apex court set aside the judgements of the Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and that of the Court of Appeal, which declared APC candidate Nasiru Gawuna as the winner.
Delivering the judgement on Friday, January 12, the apex court in a unanimous decision vacated the concurrent judgements of the Kano State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal and the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which sacked governor Yusuf and declared Nasiru Gawuna of the All Progressive Congress, APC, as the winner of the gubernatorial poll.
In the lead judgement that was delivered by Justice Inyang Okoro, the Supreme Court held that the two lower courts wrongly deducted valid votes that were credited to Governor Yusuf by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. It held that the 165,663 votes that were deducted from Yusuf and the NNPP on the premise the ballot papers were not signed, stamped or dated, were valid.
The court held that contrary to the position of the lower courts, a total of 146, 292 of the ballot papers were confirmed to have been signed and stamped, only that they did not contain any date.
It held that by section 63(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, ballot papers, which bore the official mark and were duly issued by INEC, were not totally invalid.
Besides, the court held that there was no evidence that Governor Yusuf influenced the non-signing of the ballot papers. More so, the court faulted the lower courts for nullifying Yusuf’s election on the premise that he was not a member of the NNPP. It held that the issue of sponsorship of a candidate in an election was within the domestic affairs of a political party.
It held that Yusuf won the governorship election by a majority of lawful votes and was duly nominated by his political party.