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How APC’s cross-appeal downed Abba Kabir, as Appeal Court affirms Nasiru Gawuna Kano gov

How APC’s cross-appeal downed Abba Kabir, as Appeal Court affirms Nasiru Gawuna Kano gov

The Nigerian Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the tribunal judgment which declared the All Progressive Congress (APC’s) candidate, Nasiru Gawuna winner of the governorship election.

But the Court of Appeal sacked Governor Yusuf for a different reason.

The tribunal led by Justice Oluyemi Osadebay had nullified the election of Governor Abba Yusuf by declaring 165, 663 of his votes were invalid.

The tribunal held that the ballot papers were not signed nor stamped by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared that the NNPP polled 1,019,602 votes against the APC’s 890,705 to emerge victorious.

But the tribunal invalidated over 165,663 ballots thumb printed in favour of NNPP. The court ruled that the votes were deducted because the ballot papers with which they were cast were not stamped or signed. This rendered the votes invalid, according to the tribunal.

The tribunal said the petitioner was able to prove the allegation of the invalidity of some of the votes on the grounds that the election was not in compliance with the provision of the Electoral Act, 2022.

Therefore, the tribunal ordered that the invalid votes be expunged from Yusuf’s scores.

Displeased with the tribunal’s judgement, Yusuf in a notice of appeal dated 2 October 2023, argued that the tribunal erred when it relied on sections 71 and 63 of the Electoral Act, 2022 to invalidate the 165,616 ballot papers returned in his favour.

The governor also said the respondent, (the APC) “did not plead with the polling units where the alleged invalid papers ballot papers were used and the tribunal was therefore wrong to accede to cancel the lawful votes”.

There was no witness presented by the first respondent to testify as to the use of any of the ballot papers in any polling unit. NNPP argued that the tribunal did not demonstrate in its judgement how it arrived at its decision on 165,616 invalid votes against the appellant.

The governor also argued in ground 20, that the tribunal misdirected itself when it went out of the judicial duties by constituting itself into witnesses, investigators and sat as judges.

But the Court of Appeal aligned with the cross-appeal filed by the APC, saying Abba Kabir Yusuf was not even in the election because he was not a member of the NNPP under which he contested. (Read here what APC told the Court of Appeal)

APC had demonstrated before the lower court that the NNPP membership register which was submitted to INEC does not have the name of Abba Kabir Yusuf in it, arguing that the law in Nigeria does not allow a candidate to contest without being in a party.

This argument appears to have appealed to the Court of Appeal.

 

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