On Monday, the Supreme Court will decide the fate of Abdullahi Ganduje of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who is the governor of Kano State.
Abba Yusuf of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is challenging the election of Mr Ganduje.
The governor defeated his opponent (Mr Yusuf) after a rescheduled supplementary election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
On March 24, 2019, the INEC declared Mr Ganduje winner.
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 approached the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal and then the Court of Appeal for election irregularities among others.
Not being able to get a judgement in their favour, Mr Yusuf and his party are before the apex court, asking for an order overturning the lower court’s decision and affirming them as the winner of the last governorship election.
Appearing before the court on January 14, Mr Yusuf’s lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, asked the court to allow their appeal and grant all the appellant’s prayers.
Mr Awomolo, in his submission to the seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN), Tanko Mohammed, noted that the returning officer had cancelled results in 207 polling units, declared the election inconclusive and rescheduled another election for March 23, 2019.
The lawyer said, the cancellation made by the state returning officer in 207 polling units after announcing the entire results in the state is ultra vires(beyond his powers) and that the declaration of the election as inconclusive is also ultra vires.
“Therefore, the result of the second rescheduled election of March 23 is null and void,” he argued. “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 Mr Yusuf’s 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, M N Duru, the lawyer to Mr Ganduje, said “they had addressed all the issues raised in their brief of argument.”
The lawyer also said “the appellant’s premise, exhibit P1 which is form EC8D, upon which the appellant based his argument, does not contain the results of all the 44 local governments that make up Kano State, contrary to his assertion.”
According to him, “the form EC8D does not contain the results of the 207 polling units. Therefore, there was absolutely no way, the returning officer could have declared a winner out of that result.”
Mr Ganduje said out of the 207 polling units, 62 polling units were from Gama ward.
“The results from that unit were not collated by relevant officers as agents of the appellant carted away the results, locked himself up in a room with a pen, stayed there for an hour, did not return the results to INEC, but took them to the commissioner of police in the state,” he said.
Mr Duru said allowing the appeal would mean “sanctioning election violence, giving credit to somebody who has clearly violated the law and admitted the same”.
He urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal “with a substantial cost of N5 million” in their favour.
The APC lawyer, Alex Iziyion, on his part, also urged the court to dismiss the appeal.
With the submissions of the lawyers of the respective parties, Nigerians eagerly await the decision of the apex court on Monday.