The Supreme Court on Monday affirmed Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State as duly elected in the March 23 governorship Election in the state.
In a unanimous judgement read by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta on Monday, the court held that the challenger, Abba Yusuf of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), did not show that the Court of Appeal and the Election Tribunal were wrong in their earlier rulings.
The seven-member panel said the appeal had no merit and dismissed it.
The apex court also struck out a cross-appeal filed by Mr Ganduje, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The Kaduna Division of the Court of Appeal had on November 22, 2019, upheld Mr Ganduje’s election, affirming an earlier decision by the tribunal led by Justice Halima Shamaki.
The Court of Appeal five-member panel, led by Justice Tijjani Abubakar, in a unanimous judgment, dismissed the entire petition of the PDP’s candidate and its party for lacking in merit.
The governor had defeated his opponent after a rescheduled election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
On March 24, 2019, the INEC had declared Mr Ganduje winner, saying
Mr Ganduje scored 1,033,695 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mr Yusuf, who got 1,024,713 votes.
Dissatisfied, the candidate of the PDP and his party challenged the outcome at the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal.
Appearing before the apex court on Tuesday, the lawyer to Mr Yusuf of the PDP, Adegboyega Awomolo, asked the court to allow the appeal and grant all the appellant’s prayers.
Mr Awomolo noted that the returning officer cancelled results in 207 polling units, declared the election inconclusive and rescheduled another election for March 23, 2019.
Mr Awolowo said the cancellation made by the state returning officer in 207 polling units after announcing the entire results in the state was outside his powers.
“Therefore, the result of the second rescheduled election of March 23 is null and void,” he said.
“The only lawful votes at the Kano State governorship election were those announced by the returning officer on March 11.
“In conclusion, I urge your lordship to allow this appeal on the grounds that the appellant scored the highest votes at the election of March 9, 20,19 and satisfied section 179 (2) a and b.”
But the lawyer representing INEC, Ahmed Raji, urged the court to summarily dismiss the appeal.
Mr Raji said it was not correct that the returning officer cancelled votes. He said the evidence laid did not prove any cancellation.
Also, the legal team said they had addressed all the issues raised in their brief of argument.
Mr Ganduje’s lawyers, including Alex Iziyon, said allowing the appeal would mean “sanctioning election violence, giving credit to somebody who has clearly violated the law and admitted the same”.
They urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal with a substantial cost of N5 million in their favour.