The Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has removed Abba Kabir Yusuf from his position as the state governor and declared Nasir Gawuna, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, as the winner of the March 18 governorship election in the state.
The tribunal, in its judgment on Wednesday, September 20, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to revoke the certificate of return issued to Yusuf of the New Nigeria People Party (NNPP) and present it to Nasiru Gawuna.
The tribunal, headed by Justice Oluyemi Akinatan-Osadebey, cited three key reasons for their decision:
- Membership Issue: The tribunal noted that Yusuf was not officially a member of the NNPP when he contested in the governorship election.
- Overvoting Concern: The election was marred by overvoting, which cast doubt on the legitimacy of the results.
- Voting Margin Discrepancy: The margin of victory between the NNPP and APC candidates was smaller than the number of canceled votes.
The panel subtracted 165,663 votes from Yusuf’s total vote count. These votes were declared invalid because the ballot papers lacked the necessary stamp or signature.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), led by its counsel Offiong Offiong, had lodged a petition challenging the controversial election of Abba Kabir Yusuf on various grounds.
In their petition, the APC contended that Yusuf’s name should have been officially included in the NNPP membership registry at least thirty days before the election. The APC requested that the tribunal accept their petition and grant all the reliefs they sought.
Kano State, led by former governor, Umar Ganduje, had been under APC control for the preceding eight years.
In response, Yusuf’s lead counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, argued that the ousted defendant was indeed a legitimate member of the NNPP. He further stated that it was not within the purview of the APC to determine whether someone was an NNPP member. Awomolo urged the tribunal to dismiss the APC’s case, deeming it without merit.
Yusuf is expected to appeal the judgment.
However, a 24-hour curfew has been declared in Kano to forestall possible unrest following the judgment. The Commissioner of Police, Muhammad Usaini Gumel, in a statement he personally signed, said a combined team of security operatives has been dispatched across the city to enforce the curfew.
“In view of the Constitutional mandate of the Nigeria Police Force alongside the relevant Internal Security and Law Enforcement Agencies to preserve law and order in the State, the Kano State Police Command have mapped out strategies in that direction and call on the good people of the State to give the necessary confidence and supports.
“Going forward, Kano State residents are called upon to note that combined Security Forces have already been dispatched to the nooks and crannies including the entry and exits of the State to ensure enforcement and strict compliance of the Twenty-Four Hours (24hrs) Curfew order as communicated by the State Government via letter with Reference No: K/SEC/H/435/T.1/153 dated 20th September, 2023 taking effect from 6 pm of Wednesday, 20th September to 6 pm of Thursday, 21st September 2023.
“Violators will be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law,” he said.