By Our Correspondent
The Supreme Court has declared Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf winner of the March 18, 2023 Kano governorship election.
Daily News 24 reports that Justice John Inyang, Okoro who read the lead judgment held that the lower court was wrong in its judgment to have deducted 165,616 votes from the vote secured by the governor.
“The respondents claim that the 165,616 ballot papers were not from INEC, that allegation was not proven.
“By virtue of section 63(1) of the Electoral Act before a ballot paper can be declared invalid, it must be proven that it was not given to the presiding officer.
“The ballot papers in question were both signed and stamped, the only feature left out, was the date.
“The 165,616 votes should be added to the votes secured by Abba Yusuf.
“The Court of Appeal was wrong to find that the governor was not a member of the NNPP.
“The issue of nomination of a candidate is a pre-election matter and no political party can interfere with how another party nominations its candidates,” Justice Okoro ruled.
The development has put an end to the protracted legal tussle between Mr Yusuf’s party, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) and Mr Gawuna’s party the All Progressives Congress.
It was observed that teams of armed security personnel including the Police, army, DSS and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) have been deployed in strategic locations across Kano city to forestall break down of law and order.
Highlights of the Kano governorship election case:
INEC had declared Mr. Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) winner of the March 18, 2023, governorship election after securing 1,019,602 votes against Mr. Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who trailed with 890,705.
Mr. Gawuna challenged the results at the Election Petition Tribunal, which sacked Mr. Yusuf by deducting 165,616 votes from his tally, leaving him with 853,986 votes under the guise that the deducted votes were not signed, stamped, or dated.
The tribunal then declared Mr. Gawuna the winner of the polls on September 17, 2023.
Mr Yusuf rejected the tribunal verdict and filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal, which also sacked him, this time relying on the claim that Mr Yusuf was not a registered member of his party, the NNPP.
The appellate court, led by Justice Moore Adumein, again declared Mr Gawuna winner of the polls on November 20, 2023.
Not satisfied, Mr Yusuf then filed a nine-grounds appeal at the Supreme Court, where the case is scheduled to be finally settled.
In December last year, a five-member panel of the apex court led by Justice John Inyang Okoro had heard arguments from all parties in the case and adjourned for the final judgement that was delivered today, January 12, 2024.