The appellate court is scheduled to deliver judgments today on appeals arising from the election petitions tribunal in Kano and Bauchi states.
This comes a day after the Court of Appeal sacked the Governor of Zamfara State Governor, Dauda Lawal of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and ordered a rerun after former Governor Bello Matawalle filed a suit challenging the outcome of the election.
In the case of Kano, the court will rule on appeals filed by Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf, the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), and INEC, challenging the judgment of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal that removed the Governor.
The hearing notice communicated the judgment date to the concerned parties on Thursday. The tribunal, led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay, had on September 20, declared 165,663 of Yusuf’s votes invalid due to lack of signatures or stamps by INEC. The governor’s votes were reduced to 853,939, while those of his APC rival, Nasir Gawuna, remained at 890,705.
Dissatisfied with the verdict, Yusuf appealed, arguing that it was the first time in history for a tribunal to annul an election over the non-signing of the back of ballot papers.
Wole Olanipekun (SAN), counsel for Yusuf, requested the tribunal’s judgment be set aside, highlighting the unprecedented nature of an election annulment for non-signing. He also argued that it was the first time a political party filed a matter without joining its candidate in the petition, yet the candidate was declared the winner.
In response, Akin Olujimi (SAN), counsel for the APC, countered, stating that the Appeal Court had emphasized that the non-signing of ballots constituted electoral malpractice. The appellate court had reserved judgment after the hearing.
Meanwhile, in Bauchi State, the APC and its governorship candidate, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, had challenged the election petition tribunal’s judgment, which affirmed the re-election of Bala Muhammad of the PDP.