Ganduje’s Election As Kano Governor affirmed by Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Monday affirmed the election of Abdullahi Ganduje as governor of Kano and dismissed the appeal filed by the PDP and its candidate, Abba Yusuf.
Adegboyega Awomolo, Counsel to the PDP candidate had argued that the returning officer had cancelled results in 207 polling units, declared the election inconclusive and rescheduled another election for March 23, 2019.
According to Mr Awomolo, the cancellation after announcing the entire results in the state is ultra vires, adding 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.
“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.,” Mr Awomolo said.
However, Mr Ganduje’s counsel, M.M Duru, in his counter-argument, said the form EC8D does not contain the results of the 207 polling units.
He, therefore, asserted that there was “absolutely no way the returning officer could have declared a winner out of that result.
Mr Duru added that 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.
According to Mr Duru, allowing the appeal would mean “sanctioning election violence, giving credit to somebody who has clearly violated the law and admitted the same”.
On November 22, the court of appeal sitting in Kaduna had dismissed the 24 grounds of appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and its candidate.
In a unanimous judgement on Friday, the chairman of the appeal panel, Justice Tijjani Abubakar, upheld the judgement of the tribunal, saying Mr Ganduje was validly elected.
In its October 2 judgment, the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal held that the PDP and its candidate did not prove the case of substantial violation of the Electoral Act.
The tribunal chairperson, Halima Shamaki, said the reliefs sought by the petitioners are contradictory and mutually exclusive, and therefore could not be granted because they are not sought for in the alternative.
The judge also said the failure of the petitioners to include results of the votes secured by all the contestants of the March 2019 election was fatal to their case.
She also said the participation of the petitioners in the March 23 re-run election amounts to waiver of the claims of the winning election on March 9.
Mrs Shamaki held that INEC was right to declare the March 9 election inconclusive.
“The carbonised copies of documentary evidences tendered by the petitioners were mostly unstamped, some are unsigned, others were contained re write data hence amounted to documentary hearsay and therefore inadmissible.
“The act of self-locking up by Dr. Yakasai accorded him an opportunity to alter the snatched results.
“Claiming that electoral rules and guidelines have not been complied with in an election you claimed to have won majority of lawful votes is a paradox. It’s like trying to mix oil and water.
“We shall not go into details in the petition. He who asserts must prove beyond reasonable doubt.
“Respondents are not bound to proof. In civil cases, the burden to prove lies on the plaintiff.
“Where the plaintiff fails to prove his case, the case must fail. As such, the petition is hereby dismissed,” she declared.