KANO, (iexclusivenews) -The Governorship Election Tribunal in Kano, has delivered a landmark judgment that overturned the outcome of the March 18, 2023 election that saw Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) emerge as the winner.
The tribunal declared Yusuf Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the duly elected governor of the state and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him a certificate of return.
The Petition and the Judgment
The APC had filed a petition challenging the election of Governor Yusuf on several grounds, including allegations of electoral malpractice, violence, over-voting, and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 and the INEC guidelines.
The petitioners also claimed that Governor Yusuf was not qualified to contest the election because he did not possess the minimum educational qualification required by the constitution.
The petition was heard by a three-man panel of judges headed by Justice Aminu Aliyu.
The panel conducted a virtual hearing via Zoom on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 and delivered its judgment after reviewing the evidence and arguments presented by both parties.
The tribunal agreed with the petitioners that there were substantial irregularities and non-compliance with electoral laws during the election.
The tribunal also found that Governor Yusuf did not have the requisite educational qualification to contest the election.
The tribunal therefore nullified the election and declared Gawuna as the winner, having scored the highest number of valid votes cast.
The Background and the Implications
The Kano State governorship election was one of the most keenly contested and controversial elections in Nigeria’s history.
The election pitted two political heavyweights against each other: Yusuf Gawuna, who was the anointed candidate of the former governor and current APC National Abdullahi Ganduje.
And Abba Kabir Yusuf, who was the anointed candidate of Ganduje’s political rival and former governor Rabiu Kwankwaso.
The election was initially declared inconclusive by INEC after the first round of voting on March 9, 2023 due to cancellations in some polling units.
A supplementary election was held on March 18, 2023 in 207 polling units across 28 local government areas.
The supplementary election was marred by violence, intimidation, and allegations of vote-rigging.
At the end of the exercise, INEC announced that Yusuf had won the election with a margin of 26,655 votes over Gawuna.
The tribunal’s judgment has overturned this result and has given a major victory to the APC and Ganduje.
The judgment has also dashed the hopes of Kwankwaso and his supporters who had hoped to reclaim power in Kano State after losing it to Ganduje in 2019.
The judgment is likely to have significant implications for the political landscape and stability of Kano State, which is Nigeria’s most populous state and a key battleground for national politics.
The judgment is also expected to generate reactions from various stakeholders, including INEC, PDP, civil society groups, and observers. It is not clear whether Governor Yusuf will accept the verdict or appeal to a higher court.
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