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Supreme Court Validates PDP’s Dauda Lawal As Duly Elected Zamfara Governor

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ABUJA, Nigeria – In a definitive ruling, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has upheld the election of Dauda Lawal of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the duly elected Governor of Zamfara State in the March 2023 governorship election.

This decision, announced on Friday, January 12, 2023, overturns the verdict of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which had declared the election inconclusive and called for a re-run in three local government areas.

Lawal was declared the winner of the March 18 governorship election, garnering a total of 377,726 votes, surpassing the incumbent, Bello Matawalle of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who secured 311,976 votes.

This victory marked a significant shift in the state’s political landscape, dislodging Matawalle from the governorship.

The electoral journey was not without controversy. Matawalle, who is currently serving as the Minister of State for Defence, had accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of undermining his victory by not including the results from some wards.

Initially, the Zamfara Election Petitions Tribunal, on September 18, dismissed Matawalle’s petition, finding it lacking in merit and upholding Lawal’s victory.

The tribunal further imposed a fine of N500,000 against the petitioners. Dissatisfied with the tribunal’s decision, Matawalle escalated the matter to the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

The appellate court, led by Justice Oyebisi Folayemi, nullified Governor Lawal’s election, ordering a fresh poll in three local government areas where the elections were previously not held or where the results were uncounted.

This ruling by Justice Sybil Nwaka was a significant turn of events, prompting Lawal to seek redress at the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s ruling, therefore, represents a crucial victory for Dauda Lawal and the PDP, confirming his position as the legitimate governor of Zamfara State.

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