The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday sacked Kano State Governor Abba Yusuf of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP),and subsequently declared Nasir Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the lawfully elected candidate in the March 18 election governorship election election in the state.
The Court thereby upheld the verdict of the election tribunal led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan Osadebay which sacked Yusuf on September 20, 2023, and ruled in favour of the APC candidate.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yusuf of the NNPP polled 1,019,602 votes while Gawuna of the APC got 890,705.
But the tribunal invalidated over 165,663 ballots thumb printed in favour of NNPP. The court ruled that the votes were deducted because the ballot papers with which they were cast were not stamped or signed. This rendered the votes invalid, according to the tribunal.
The tribunal said the petitioner was able to prove the allegation of the invalidity of some of the votes on the grounds that the election was not in compliance with the provision of the Electoral Act, 2022.
Therefore, the tribunal ordered that the invalid votes be expunged from Yusuf’s scores.
Displeased with the tribunal’s judgement, Yusuf argued before the appellate court that the tribunal erred when it relied on Sections 71 and 63 of the Electoral Act, 2022 to invalidate thousands of ballot papers returned in his favour.
The governor also said the respondent, (the APC) “did not plead with the polling units where the alleged invalid papers ballot papers were used and the tribunal was therefore wrong to accede to cancel the lawful votes”.
There was no witness presented by the first respondent to testify as to the use of any of the ballot papers in any polling unit.
NNPP argued that the tribunal did not demonstrate in its judgement how it arrived at its decision on 165,616 invalid votes against the appellant.
Yusuf also argued that the tribunal misdirected itself when it went out of the judicial duties by constituting itself into witnesses, investigators and sat as judges.But the Appeal Court disagreed with this submission.