The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has nullified the election of Dauda Lawal as the governor of Zamfara State and ordered a fresh election in three local government areas.
The three-man panel of justices, presided over by Justice Omoloye Jombo-Ojo, delivered the judgment on Thursday, following an appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bello Matawalle.
The appellate court held that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) erred in using IREV, an electronic result viewing platform, for the collation of results, contrary to the Supreme Court’s ruling that it is not a result collation system but only for public viewing.
The court agreed with four out of the seven issues raised by Matawalle and the APC, who challenged the declaration of Lawal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the election held on March 18, 2023.
Lawal had polled 377,726 votes, while Matawalle, who was the former governor of Zamfara State and the current Minister of State for Defence, had 311,976 votes.
However, Matawalle and the APC argued that the election was marred by irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022. They also claimed that election did not hold in many polling units in the three local government areas of Birnin Magaji, Bukuyyum and Maradun, where 98,506 votes in Maradun were not counted.
The court, therefore, declared the election inconclusive and directed INEC to conduct a fresh election in the affected local government areas within 90 days.
“I hereby declare that the governorship election of 18th of March, 2023 is inconclusive.
“That the return of the first respondent (Lawal) by the third respondent (INEC) is hereby set aside.
“The third respondent (INEC) is hereby directed to hold fresh elections in Maradun Local Government Area and the affected polling units in Birnin Magaji and Bukuyyum local government areas. This is the judgment of this honourable court,” the court held.
The Zamfara governor and his associates could not be reached for comments on their next line of action.