The Court of Appeal in Abuja, Friday morning, nullified the election of Kano State Governor Abba Yusuf, declaring his rival, Nasir Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the winner of the March 18 governorship election.
The judgement was delivered by a three-member panel of justices led by Justice Moore A. Adumein.
The panel based their decision on the fact that Yusuf, a candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), was not a registered member of the party and, therefore, not qualified to contest the election.
The court held that according to Section 77 of the Electoral Act, 2022, every political party is mandated to maintain a register of its members.
“The appellant to his own detriment did not submit his NNPP membership registrar or even tendered his statement on oath regarding his membership of the party,” Justice Adumein stated.
The court further emphasised the importance of a membership register, noting that the 1999 Constitution requires political parties to have such a register and submit it to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Election Petition Tribunal when necessary.
“As rightfully found, Yusuf Abba was not a member of the NNPP at the time he was purportedly sponsored by his party and he was not qualified to contest the March Governorship Election,” Justice Adumein concluded.
Recall that the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal previously declared Gawuna the winner of the March 18 election.
The tribunal had overturned INEC’s initial announcement of Yusuf as the winner, citing electoral malpractices, including the use of over 160,000 unsigned and unstamped ballot papers.
With Yusuf’s votes reduced by 165,663 due to the invalid ballots, Gawuna’s lead widened.