By Aliyu Dangida
The Kano chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has filed a cross-appeal at the Supreme Court against Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf and his party the New Nigeria Peoples Party (INEC) over the Kano governorship election dispute.
Daily News 24 reports that the APC cross-appeal was filed on behalf of the party’s candidate Nasiru Gawuna, who was proclaimed winner of the March 18 governorship election by the Election Petition Tribunal and later by the Court of Appeal in a controversial judgement.
The notice of cross-appeal, seen by Daily News 24 lists Governor Yusuf, the NNPP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as cross-respondents.
The notice was filed at the apex court on 29 November, 2023 with appeal number CA/EP/GOV/KAN/34/2023.
It was noticed that the document, which stated only one ground of cross-appeal is seeking four reliefs at the apex court as follows:
An order allowing the cross-appeal, An order setting aside the order of the lower court complained about by the cross-appellant (Mr Yusuf). An order affirming the judgement of the tribunal on all the issues it decided against the appellant (now appellant/cross-respondent) Further orders including cost of the cross-appeal
Recall that after the March 18, 2023 Kano governorship election, the INEC had declared governor Yusuf as winner of the exercise after he polled 1,019,602 votes, while his opponent Mr Gawuna trailed second with 890,702 votes.
However, not satisfied with the results, Mr Gawuna’s party, the APC challenged the polls in the Election Petition Tribunal (EPT), which nullified Mr Yusuf’s election by deducting 165,000 votes from his tally on the basis that the ballots were not signed or stamped by INEC.
The court, then declared Mr Gawuna winner of the polls.
But governor Yusuf and his party, the NNPP, appealed the judgement at the Court of Appeal which also nullified the governor’s election, this time on the basis that he was not a member of his party.
In its November 17, 2023 verdict, the appellate court nullified the election of Mr Yusuf and announced his opponent Mr Gawuna as winner.
But in the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the Judgement issued four days later, the appellate court reversed itself and declared Mr Yusuf winner of the election in the concluding part of the document.
When alarm was raised over the CTC controversy, the Appeal Court, described the contradiction in the document as “clerical errors” and asked parties in the suit to return their original copies for replacement with the “correct version”.
However, Mr Yusuf and the NNPP ignored the court’s request, saying it lacked jurisdiction to correct any errors. The aggrieved appellants subsequently filed an appeal at the Supreme Court.
This newspaper reports that the controversial judgement is still eliciting reactions while some pockets of protests were held against the Appeal Court’s ruling in Kano.
Also, senior legal practitioners, including human rights lawyers Femi Falana and Professor Chidi Odinkalu, both senior advocates of Nigeria (SANs) as well as constitutional lawyer Professor Auwalu Yadudu have criticized the appellate court and called the controversy “scandalous”.