News

Supreme Court delivers judgements in Kano, Plateau, Lagos, 4 others today

 

The Supreme Court will deliver judgements on governorship
appeals in Kano, Plateau, Lagos, Zamfara, Ebonyi, Bauchi and Cross River states
today.

Of the seven states, those of Kano and Plateau are the most
contentious.

 

Kano

 

In Kano, the case is between Governor Abba Yusuf of New
Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, and Nasiru Gawuna of All Progressives Congress,
APC.

 

In September, a five-member panel, led by Justice John
Okoro, had nullified the victory of Governor Yusuf in the March 18 governorship
election and affirmed Nasiru Gawuna as the duly elected governor of Kano.

 

On November 13, the Court of Appeal upheld the verdict of
the tribunal, ruling that the fielding of Abba Yusuf was in breach of the
Electoral Law as he was not qualified to contest that election. But the
governor proceeded to the Supreme Court to seek redress.

 

Plateau

On January 9, 2024, the Supreme Court reserved judgment in
the appeal filed by the Governor of Plateau State, Caleb Mutfwang, seeking to
overturn the verdict of the Court of Appeal which nullified his election.

 

A five-member panel of justices led by Justice John Okoro
reserved judgement after hearing arguments from parties for and against the
appeal.

 

The governor through his counsel, Kanu Agabi, prayed the
court to uphold the judgement of the Tribunal and set aside the judgment of the
appellate court because the respondents have no right to question how a party
elects its state executives.

 

He said the respondents (Nentawe Goshwe and the All
Progressives Congress) can not plead that the governor did not score the number
of lawful votes ascribed to him at the same time say the election was invalid.

 

In November, the Appeal Court in Abuja sacked Mutfwang and
ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue a
Certificate of Return to Goshwe but the governor proceeded to the apex court to
seek redress.

 

Zamfara

Last November, the Appeal Court nullified the election of
Zamfara State Governor Dauda Lawal.

 

Lawal, of the main opposition PDP, was declared the winner
of the March 18 governorship election. In a shocking victory that dislodged
then-incumbent Bello Matawalle of the All Progressives Congress, APC, he polled
a total of 377,726 votes. Matawalle scored 311,976 votes.

 

The PDP candidate, now serving as the Minister of State for
Defence, had accused INEC of subverting his victory at the poll by failing to
include the results of some ward areas.

 

In an earlier ruling on September 18, the Zamfara Election
Petitions Tribunal held that the petition was devoid of merit. While upholding
Lawal’s victory, the tribunal awarded the N500,000 fine against the
petitioners.

An unsatisfied Matawalle, as observers expected, took the
matter to the Court of Appeal in Abuja, to challenge the decision of the lower
court.

 

Respite came for Matawalle on Thursday as the three-member
panel led by Justice Oyebisi Folayemi, nullified the return of Governor Lawal
as the winner of the governorship poll.

 

Justice Sybil Nwaka ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election
in three local government areas of the state, where elections had not been held
previously or where results from various polling units were not counted.

But the governor proceeded to the apex court to seek
redress.

 

Bauchi

 

Also in November, the appellate court affirmed the victory
of Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State in the March 18 governorship
election.

 

The appeal was filed by the All Progressives Congress, APC,
governorship candidate, Sadique Abubakar, following the tribunal judgment
upholding Mohammed’s victory.

 

The panel of three justices were unanimous, awarding no cost
as the court ruled that each party to the matter should bear their costs.

 

The presiding judge, Justice Chidi Nwaoma Uwa, read the
judgment in the order of the appellant’s plea before the appeal court.

 

On plea number one, the appellant pleaded that the election
be nullified because the forms and booklets used in the election were not
properly filled. The court ruled that the appellant failed to prove this
allegation with the needed evidence.

 

Lagos

 

The Appeal Court in Lagos in November affirmed the judgment
of the tribunal, confirming the return of Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Obafemi Hamzat
as the Governor and Deputy Governor of Lagos state.

 

The justices of the court of appeal in a unanimous decision
dismissed the appeal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party
(LP) for lack of merit.

 

In March, INEC declared Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the Lagos
governorship election.

 

Sanwo-Olu polled 762,134 votes to defeat his close
challenger, LP’s Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour also known as GRV, who scored 312,329
votes. PDP’s Abdulazeez Adediran popular as Jandor came a distant third with
62,449 votes.

 

Not satisfied, the LP and PDP candidates approached the
Lagos State Election Petitions Tribunal to nullify Sanwo-Olu’s victory.

 

In its ruling on September 25, the tribunal dismissed
Adediran and Rhodes-Vivour’s suit seeking to nullify the victory of Sanwo-Olu
at the poll.

 

Displeased with the verdict, the duo approached the
appellate court but the higher court dismissed their suits. Both men
subsequently approached the apex court which is expected to deliver a judgement
on Friday.

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