Details: Supreme Court Rules on Kano, Abia, Cross River, Zamfara, Other Guber Poll Tussles

The Supreme Court has upheld the election of the governors in over five states including Kano, Abia, Zamfara, and Cross River among others after a legal battle that lasted for months.

The apex court affirmed the victory of Governor Alex Otti of Abia State.

The court dismissed the appeals by the Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Okey Ahiwe, and Ikechi Emenike of the APC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, reserved judgment in the appeals by the PDP and the APC against the election of Otti.

The five-man panel led by John Okoro adjourned the matters for judgments after taking arguments from parties involved in the matter.

Otti of the Labour Party polled 175,466 votes to defeat his closest rival, Okey Ahiwe of the PDP, who scored 88,529 votes in the March 18 governorship election.

Similarly, the Supreme Court has upheld the election of Dauda Lawal of the Peoples Democratic Party as Zamfara State Governor.

The apex court set aside the decision of the court of appeal declaring the governorship election in Zamafara State inconclusive.

The tribunal had dismissed the petition of the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Bello Matawalle, challenging the victory of Dauda Lawal of the PDP.

But at the appeal court, the court declared the election in the state inclusive and ordered a rerun in three local government areas which are Maradun, Birnin-Magaji, and Bukkuyum.

The court held that it was wrong for the Independent National Electoral Commission to adopt results from the IReV to declare the winner in the affected LGA, adding that “IReV is not part of the collation system but for viewing purposes.”

Reading the lead judgment at the Supreme Court, Emmanuel Agim described the decision of the appeal court as perverse.

He held that the respondents did not provide substantial evidence to prove their allegations of overvoting, among others.

Agim said, “The court of appeal decision is perverse. Has no evidential foundation. Although the appeal has merit, it succeeds, and it is allowed.

“The order that the election is inclusive is hereby set aside. The election of the appellant is upheld.”

—Cross River—

Also, the Supreme Court has affirmed the election of the governor of Cross River Governor, Bassey Otu of the All Progressive Congress.

The Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Sandy Onar had challenged the victory of Cross River governor.

The apex court while dismissing the appeal described it as a waste of judicial time and resources

From the other end, many youths on Friday thronged some major streets to celebrate the Supreme Court judgment following the affirmation of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf as the duly elected governor of the State.

The youths were seen in troops along all the streets across the metropolis chanting solidarity songs and dancing in the streets, raising placards and party insignia.

It was observed that some of the jubilating youths were seen stunting with motorcycles and cars in the city while others were seen dragging brooms which is the logo of the All Progressives Party.

One of the jubilating youths, who simply gave his name as Hassan, noted that the Supreme Court averted what would have been a violent reaction.

“The Supreme Court has saved Kano from violent reaction because, if the judgment had not favoured Abba, the situation would have been different by now.

“But with what you are seeing now, there is relief all over. People are going about with their normal businesses,” he said.

At the marketplaces that were hitherto closed down in the early hours of Friday, like the Rimi and Kantin Kwari markets, traders have already started opening their shops and places of business.

The Supreme Court had earlier on Friday set aside the lower courts’ decisions sacking the Kano governor.

The tribunal had set aside Yusuf Abba of the New Nigeria Peoples Party victory after declaring 165,663 of his votes invalid. The tribunal held that the deducted votes were from ballot papers that were neither stamped nor signed.

He then approached the appeal court for redress. The appeal court upheld the tribunal’s decision and faulted the lower court for not disqualifying the governor.

The appellate court said the governor was not properly sponsored by the New Nigeria Peoples Party, thus violating the provisions of Section 177 (c) of the constitution.

Abba Yusuff also had a smooth ride to victory at the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, on Friday, reinstated Abba Yusuff as Kano State governor thereby setting aside the decisions of the lower courts that earlier sacked him.

Yusuff, a candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, was declared winner of the March 18, 2023 governorship election in the state beating the All Progressives Congress candidate, Nasir Gawuna.

Unsatisfied, Gawuna petitioned the Governorship Election Tribunal asking the court to annul Yusuff’s victory.
The appeal court upheld the tribunal’s decision and faulted the lower court for not disqualifying the governor.
The appellate court said the governor was not properly sponsored by the NNPP, thus violating the provisions of Section 177 (c) of the constitution.
The court declared Gawuna the APC winner of the election.

However, at the Supreme Court, Justice John Okoro ordered that all the ballot papers from which the appellant votes were deducted should be restored to the governor.

He said the said paper contains the logo of INEC and the coat of arms as prescribed by the provisions of the Electoral Act.

He also held that the issue of party membership is an internal affair of the party.


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