In a unanimous ruling by a panel of three justices, the Court of Appeal in Abuja declared on Friday that Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State was not eligible to run for governor in the state’s March 18 governor’s race.
The court claimed that evidence presented by the parties proved that Governor Yusuf was not a member of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) at the time of the election.
According to the court, Yusuf, under section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, was not qualified to contest the governorship election since he was not validly sponsored by the NNPP.
“A person must be a member of a political party before he can be sponsored for an election.
“Sponsorship without membership is like putting something on nothing,” the court held in its lead judgement that was delivered by Justice M. U. Adumeh.
Consequently, the appellate court upheld the earlier judgement of the Kano state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which nullified Governor Yusuf’s election.
It will be recalled that the tribunal had in a virtual judgement it delivered on September 20, sacked governor Yusuf of the NNPP, from office and declared Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna of the All Progressive Congress, APC, as the valid winner of the governorship poll held in the state on March 18.
The three-member panel tribunal, led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay, held that some ballot papers that were relied upon to declare Yusuf as the winner of the gubernatorial contest, were neither signed nor stamped by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
It then declared as invalid 165,663 of the votes attributed to the NNPP candidate.
Yusuf, who was once declared the winner of the governorship contest with a total of 1,019,602 votes, had his tally cut to 853, 939 votes after the elimination of the aforementioned illegal votes.
As a result, Ganuwa, the APC candidate and his closest challenger, received 890,705 votes to win the race.
Governor Yusuf filed a request to have the verdict set aside with the appellate court because he was unhappy with it and thought the tribunal had applied the law incorrectly.