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Supreme Court Overturns Appeal Court’s Nullification of Governor Abba Yusuf’s Election

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ABUJA, Nigeria – The Nigerian Supreme Court has overturned the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which had earlier nullified the election of Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State.

The five-member panel of justices, led by Justice Inyang Okoro, on Friday, January 12, 2023, delivered a unanimous verdict, clarifying significant misinterpretations by the lower court regarding the election results.

The core issue addressed by the Supreme Court involved the alleged deduction of 165,616 ballot papers in favour of Governor Yusuf.

The justices found that the Court of Appeal had misunderstood the implications of this purported deduction, leading to an erroneous decision to nullify Yusuf’s election.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court addressed the matter of Governor Yusuf’s party membership, a pivotal point in the case.

Justice Okoro emphasised that Yusuf’s membership was a pre-election matter, not within the scope of the electoral tribunal’s jurisdiction.

He clarified that the finding by the lower court, which suggested that Yusuf was not sponsored by the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) due to his name’s absence on the membership list, was not an official finding but merely an observation.

“This court has consistently maintained that the issue of nomination or sponsorship of a candidate for an election is completely an exclusive prerogative of the political party,” Justice Okoro asserted in the lead judgment.

This principle underlines the autonomy of political parties in deciding their representatives in elections, a fundamental aspect of the democratic process.

The Supreme Court’s decision to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal represents a significant affirmation of Governor Yusuf’s election and the NNPP’s role in his candidacy.

This ruling not only reinstates Yusuf as the legitimate governor of Kano State but also reinforces the legal framework surrounding electoral processes and the rights of political parties in Nigeria.

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