The fate of Kano State Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf has been sealed by the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which affirmed the ruling of the tribunal that nullified his election.
Yusuf, who ran on the platform of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), had challenged the verdict of the tribunal that declared Nasir Ganuwa of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the March 9, 2023 governorship election.
The tribunal, headed by Justice Oluyemi Akintan Osadebay, had invalidated 165,663 votes cast for Yusuf on the basis that they were not endorsed or stamped by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
This reduced Yusuf’s total votes to 853,939, while Ganuwa’s votes remained unchanged at 890,705.
Yusuf was dissatisfied with the tribunal’s judgement, which he termed as “unfair” and “a miscarriage of justice”, and appealed to the higher court.
His lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, urged the court to set aside the tribunal’s decision.
He argued that it was unprecedented and erroneous for the tribunal to annul an election over the non-signing of the back of ballot papers.
He also contended that the petition filed by the APC was defective, as it did not join its candidate as a party.
However, the appeal court dismissed Yusuf’s arguments and upheld the tribunal’s findings.
The court agreed with the APC’s counsel, Akin Olujimi, SAN, that the non-signing of ballots amounted to electoral malpractice. The court also held that the APC’s petition was valid, as it was not mandatory to join its candidate as a party.
The court therefore affirmed Ganuwa as the duly elected governor of Kano State.