Recall that the Kano State Election Tribunal has ordered the removal of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf from office as the state governor , adding that the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate won the election instead.
The court had issued an order for the withdrawal of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf’s certificate of return and directed the issuance of a new one to the All Progressives Congress (APC), candidate, Gawuna.
The proceedings leading….
The proceedings leading to this judgement were conducted via Zoom, with the proceedings broadcasted at the Miller Road venue of the tribunal. The verdict comes several weeks after lawyers for both parties presented their closing arguments on August 21.
The court declared that 165,663 votes attributed to the governor were deemed invalid. The judge explained that these votes were considered invalid because the associated ballot papers lacked the required signatures and stamps.
During the initial declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), was said to have secured 1,019,602 votes, defeating the APC candidate who had garnered 890,705 votes. This gave the NNPP candidate a winning margin of 128,897 votes.
However, the APC disputed the results and filed a petition with the tribunal to challenge INEC’s declaration.
In addition to the certificate of return issue, the tribunal also addressed the matter of sponsorship and party membership, ruling it as an internal affair of the party.
NNPP Reacts ..
In response to the judgment, the acting National Chairman of the NNPP, Abba Ali, expressed concerns that it resembled a replay of the 2019 governorship election, where the tribunal allegedly overturned the people’s mandate in favour of the losing party.
The NNPP called for calm among its supporters and across the nation while vowing to challenge what they perceive as an imbalanced judgment.
Ali said, “The New Nigeria People’s Party receives with utter incredulity and disbelief the judgment of the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal on the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
“The NNPP recalls with regret that this tribunal has simply replayed the unholy script of 2019 by overturning the will of the people and awarding election results to those who lost the election.
“The reported judgment nullified the free, credible, and globally acclaimed fair election of our governorship candidate, Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf brazenly awarded the election to the APC candidate, Nasiru Gawuna.’’
It alleged that the tribunal arrived at its judgment by deducting unfairly the votes of Yusuf by 165,663 and awarding it to the APC candidate, describing the judgment as laughable and a miscarriage of justice.
‘’The decision of the tribunal is a slap on the face of Constitutionalism and the rule of law and is capable of further discouraging the electorate from having confidence in the judiciary. The NNPP will appeal this most unfair judgment,” the party stated.
The counsel to the NNPP, Bashir Wada, said his clients would appeal against the judgment of the tribunal.
He stated, “The tribunal has delivered its own judgment, we are going to consult our clients and I can assure you that we are going to appeal against this judgment because it is a judgment which we felt does not manifest the justice of the matter and I can assure this decision will be set aside on appeal.
‘’It is not a new thing if you look at the decision that has been taken by the tribunal in Osun state, it is almost the same as this one that the tribunal without evidence can go and look at the document that was tendered before it. I can assure you this judgment will not see the light of the day in the Court of Appeal, by God’s grace.”
The Spokesperson for the NNPP Presidential Campaign Council, Ladipo Johnson, also said the party would appeal the verdict.
He said, “I have not seen the judgement but all I can say is that we are going to appeal it naturally.”
The spokesperson for the Agbor Major-led faction of the party, Abdulrazaq Abdulsalam, regretted the judgement, noting that the party still has other legal options it could explore to recover the mandate.
In response to the recent ruling by the tribunal, the Kano State government has taken precautionary measures to maintain law and order. On Wednesday, the government declared a 24-hour curfew in the state.
Security presence was visibly increased throughout the Kano metropolis immediately after the announcement of the tribunal’s decision, which declared Nasir Gawuna, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the winner of the March 2023 governorship election in the state, and subsequently, the removal of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigerian People’s Party.
The Kano State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Gumel, confirmed the imposition of the curfew in an official statement. The curfew, effective from 6 p.m. on Wednesday until 6 pm on Thursday (today), is intended to prevent any potential breakdown of law and order.
Gumel emphasised that strict compliance with the curfew order would be enforced, with a warning that individuals found in violation of the order would be apprehended and subjected to legal consequences.
He said, “A 24-hour curfew order has been communicated by the state government via letter with reference no: K/SEC/H/435/T.1/153 dated 20th September 2023 taking effect from 6pm of Wednesday, 20th September to 6pm of Thursday, 21st September 2023.
“In view of the constitutional mandate of the Nigeria Police Force alongside the relevant internal security and law enforcement agencies to preserve law and order in the state, the Kano State Police Command has mapped out strategies in that direction and called on the good people of the state to give the necessary confidence and support.
“Going forward, Kano State residents are called upon to note that combined security forces have already been dispatched to the nooks and crannies including the entry and exits of the state to ensure enforcement and strict compliance of the curfew. Violators will be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law.’’
“Finally, I wish to appreciate all the peace-loving people of the state and urge them to remain law-abiding as it’s in the best interest of all that we come together to maintain law and order in the state,” Gumel added.
Before the curfew was imposed, apprehensive traders had hurriedly locked up their shops across the major markets and shopping plazas as residents rushed home after the tribunal invalidated Yusuf’s election as Kano State governor.