THE Court of Appeal in Abuja has sacked Abba Yusuf as Kano state governor, affirming the ruling of the state’s governorship election petitions tribunal.
In a judgment delivered on Friday, November 17, a three-member panel of the appellate court held that Yusuf’s party – the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) – breached the Constitution by sponsoring Yusuf, who was not a party member.
The Appeal Court ruled that the tribunal acted in the public interest when it permitted the APC to tender papers during the trial since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had given the APC access to materials piecemeal to undermine the petitioner’s claim.
The court further determined that the 1999 Constitution did not support Yusuf’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun’s contention that the APC should have included its candidate Yusuf Ganuwa as a party in the tribunal proceedings because a candidate is allowed to be represented by his political party during legal procedures.
The court’s three-man bench ruled that each political party must keep track of its voter registration.
According to the court, political parties are required by the 1999 Constitution to maintain a membership register and provide it to INEC and the tribunal upon request.
The court further stated that Abba’s NNPP membership is not registered.
“All issues in this appeal are dismissed, and the judgment of the tribunal is affirmed,” the court stated.
The ICIR reported that the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sacked Yusuf as the state governor.
The tribunal consequently declared the APC’s Nasir Gawuna as the winner of the March 18 governorship poll in the state.
In its judgment on Wednesday, September 20, the tribunal ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Yusuf and give it to Gawuna.
The three-person panel presided over by Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay deducted 165,663 votes from Yusuf’s total votes.
The court declared the deducted votes invalid because the ballot papers were not stamped or signed.
Through its lead lawyer, Offiong Offiong, APC is contesting Yusuf’s victory as the election winner.
The APC claimed that Yusuf’s name should have been added to the NNPP membership registry thirty days before the election.
It requested that the tribunal uphold the APC petition and approve all requested reliefs.
According to Yusuf’s lead counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, the sacked defendant is a legitimate member of the NNPP.
He added that it was not the APC’s business to decide whether someone is an NNPP member.
Awomolo requested that the tribunal dismiss the APC case since it was without merit.
After hearing from all the addresses, the three-judge panel, presided over by Osadebay, reserved a day for the ruling.
The Kano State Police Command had banned all protests in the state.
The command said this in a statement on Tuesday, November 14, signed by the Commissioner of Police (CP) Mohammad Usaini Gumel.
The Police spokesperson in the state, Abdullahi Kiyawa, said in a statement that it was best to avoid protests and activities that could incite crisis.
He added that it was also best to steer clear of remarks that could provoke needless conflict or jeopardize the security and integrity of the legal system.
According to the spokesman, the state commissioner of Police, Muhammad Gumel, has deployed sufficient manpower and equipment to designated strategic locations to ensure the security of lives and property and to thwart any attempt to cause disturbance or breakdown of law and order.