The Court of Appeal in Abuja is set to render its judgment on Friday, November 16, regarding the appeal filed by Kano State Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, challenging his removal by the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.
On September 20, 2023, a three-man panel of judges, led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan Osadebay, invalidated 165,663 of Yusuf’s votes as they were not signed or stamped by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). As a result, the governor’s vote count was reduced to 853,939, while Nasiru Ganuwa’s 890,705 votes remained unchanged.
The governor had rejected the tribunal verdict, which he described as “unfair” and “a miscarriage of justice”, and headed to the appeal court.
During the court proceedings, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria representing the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) candidate, Wole Olanipekun, requested that the tribunal’s decision be overturned.
He objected to the tribunal’s decision to nullify the election due to unsigned ballot papers, stating that this was unprecedented in history.
Olanipekun also argued that the tribunal made a mistake by allowing a political party to file a petition without including its candidate as a party. Despite this, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria representing the APC, Akin Olujimi, disagreed with Olanipekun’s arguments, citing the Appeal Court’s ruling that unsigned ballots constituted electoral malpractice.
He argued that INEC regulations have set out what presiding officers are to do at the point of voting, adding that the back of ballot papers must be signed and dated.