The Court of Appeal in Abuja has sacked Abba Yusuf as governor of Kano State, upholding the decision of the lower election petition tribunal that earlier nullified the governor’s election.
A three-member panel of the Court of Appeal led by Moore Adumein, in a unanimous judgement on Friday, declared Nasiru Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the 18 March governorship election in Kano State.
The tribunal had declared Mr Gawuna of the APC the winner of the election after removing what it described as invalid votes cast in favour of Mr Yusuf.
But the Court of Appeal anchored its decision on disqualification of Mr Yusuf as a candidate in the election.
The court held that he was not a member of the NNPP as of the time of the election.
The court added without being a member of a political party, Mr Yusuf could not have been validly nominated to run for the election in March.
“Yusuf Abba was not a member of the NNPP as of the time he was purportedly sponsored on 18 March for the Kano Governorship election,” the judge ruled.
“The tribunal was wrong not have disqualified the appellant, Governor Yusuf. The failure of NNPP to properly sponsor Mr Yusuf according to Section 177 (c) of the constitution, is fatal to their case.
“All the nine issues are hereby resolved against the appellant, the judge held. This appeal is hereby dismissed. The sum of N1 million is awarded as cost against Governor Yusuf,” Mr Adumein declared.
Mr Yusuf, the incumbent governor, who had won the governorship election on the platform of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), is locked in a fierce legal battle with Nasiru Gawuna of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), over the outcome of the poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Mr Yusuf as the winner of the 18 March election with 1,019,602 votes against Mr Gawuna’s 890,705 votes.
Mr Yusuf had rode on the popularity of a former governor of the state, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and his political machinery, the Kwankwasiya Movement, to defeat Mr Gawuna of the then ruling APC in the state.
But Mr Gawuna challenged the election outcome at the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
In a unanimous verdict on 20 September, a three-member panel of the tribunal set aside Mr Yusuf’s victory after declaring 165,663 of his votes invalid.
Therefore, the lower tribunal declared Mr Gawuna, who turned out to have the highest number of votes after the deduction from Mr Yusuf’s score, as the lawfully elected candidate.
However, the governor appealed against the tribunal’s decision at the Court of Appeal, which is set to deliver its decision today.
The Court of Appeal’s decision will not be the final, as whoever is aggrieved with the outcome can still appeal to the Supreme Court.