Appeal Court to rule on Kano, Bauchi governorship election today
Nigeria’s Court of Appeal has fixed today for judgments in the appeals emanating from the election petitions tribunal of Kano and Bauchi states.
For Kano, the court will rule on the appeals filed by Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf; his party, the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP); and INEC challenging the judgment of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which removed the governor.
The appellate court, in a hearing notice, communicated the date for the judgment to the parties on Thursday.
Recall that a three-man panel of judges led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay sacked Yusuf on September 20, by declaring 165,663 of his votes invalid because they were not signed or stamped by the INEC.
The governor’s votes were then reduced to 853,939 while those of Nasir Gawuna, his APC rival, remained at 890,705.
Yusuf had rejected the tribunal verdict, which he described as “unfair” and “a miscarriage of justice”, and headed to the Appeal Court.
At the Appeal Court, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), counsel for Yusuf, asked that the judgement of the tribunal be set aside. He said this is the first time in history that a tribunal would annul an election over non-signing of the back of ballot papers.
He also said the tribunal erred, arguing that, that was the first time that a political party would file a matter without joining its candidate as a party in the petition and the candidate would be declared winner of the polls.
But Akin Olujimi (SAN), counsel for APC, countered saying the Appeal Court stated emphatically that the non-signing of ballots amounted to electoral malpractice.
The appellate court had after the hearing reserved judgement.
For Bauchi State, the APC and its governorship candidate, former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, had challenged the judgment of the election petition tribunal, which affirmed the re-election of Bala Muhammad of the PDP.
The Bauchi State Police Command warned political party supporters against wild jubilations or any violent reactions after the judgement, saying blockage of roads, fireworks and inciting utterances or blackmail against the opposition party would not be condoned.
The spokesman for the command, SP Mohammad Wakil, in a statement said, “The Command will not dawdle to decisively deal with any persons or groups who violate this order or deliberately cause the breakdown of law and order in whatever manner.
“Those in violation will be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law as security agencies have been deployed strategically and directed to ensure full enforcement.”
NNPP, APC sign peace deal in Kano
Meanwhile, the NNPP and APC have signed a pact with the Kano State Police Command to maintain peace before, during and after the governorship election appeal verdict.
The peace pact was signed on behalf of the NNPP by Wada Ibrahim, its Vice Chairman while Ibrahim Zakari Sarina, the APC secretary, represented the opposition party.
Briefing journalists after the peace accord signing, the state Commissioner of Police, CP Usaini Gumel said the force has drawn up modalities that would promote peace and harmony in the state before, during and after the governorship appeal verdict.
Gumel, who spoke in company of other heads of security agencies, said the peace deal signed by the two parties include: “No politically motivated clusters of people would be allowed at any location under whatever guise; that, their supporters would not engage in any mass action suggesting preparation for violent procession, protests or celebrations that may trigger reactions; That, unguarded statements from their members likely to increase political tension or undermine the security arrangements and sanctity of the Judiciary would be avoided.”
Other conditions in the deal are: “That, their parties will support all the arrangements put in place by the security apparatus to maintain peace and order, and that, any person or group of persons directly or indirectly found disrupting the peace before, during and after the appeal judgment shall face the full wrath of the law.”
Kano government calls for calm
Kano State government has advised people in the state to remain calm and avoid acts capable of causing breach of the peace as the Appeal Court delivers judgement today.
A statement issued to newsmen in Kano by the state Commissioner for Information, Baba Halilu Dantiye, on Thursday, said the advice became necessary as some may take advantage of the situation and cause breach of the peace.
Dantiye stressed the need for people to maintain the peace for the development of the state and country at large.
He also called on security agencies to double their efforts in ensuring that law and order are maintained as well as ensure full protection of lives and properties of the citizens in the state.
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