No Upsets As Supreme Court Affirms Six Governors Elections

Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Kayode Ariwoola
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Legal fireworks around the elections of the governor’s of Lagos, Ebonyi, Kano, Plateau, Gombe and Zamfara states were put to a final rest on Friday as the Supreme affirmed the victories of the governors concerned.

On the five-man panel of the Supreme Court led my Justice Emmanuel Agim reversed the Court of Appeal’s sack of Governor Caleb Muftwang of Plateau State.

The Court of Appeal voided Muftwang’s election on the grounds that his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not conduct valid congresses in 17 local councils of Plateau State.

But the Supreme Court averred that the issue of the primary election that produced Mutfwang was outside the jurisdiction of the lower court.

Governor Mutfwang of Plateau State

It also ruled that the validity of nomination and sponsorship is not a valid ground to void an election.

Similarly, Justice John Okoro, in a lead judgment concerning the appeal of Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State, reversed the governor’s sack by both the electoral tribunal and the Court of Appeal.

Both the election tribunal and the Court of Appeals had deducted 165,616 votes from Yusuf’s tally to declare that he lost the gubernatorial election of Malam Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

However, the Supreme Court ruled that the sections of the Electoral Act relied upon by the lower courts did not apply in Yusuf’s case.

In addressing the submission that Yusuf was not a member of the NNPP as of the time he contested the election, which was the second ground upon which Yusuf lost at the lower courts, the Supreme Court averred that the issue of nomination and sponsorship is a pre-election matter and outside the jurisdiction of the two courts below at the time it was raised belatedly. Thus it upheld Yusuf’s election by striking out the second claim.

Giving its verdict in the case against the election of Governor Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi State, the apex court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, dismissing the appeal of Chukwuma Odii of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for lacking in merit.

Justice Jummai Sankey led a three-man panel in the Nwifuru case.

Also, the apex court upheld the election of Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State by overruling the Court of Appeal which had declared the poll inconclusive and ordered a rerun on some areas in the state.

Likewise, the Supreme Court ruled that the appeal filed before it by a former Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, of the APC against the victory of Governor Bala Mohammed of Gombe State lacked merit, and therefore dismissed it.

Justice Chidi Nwaoma Uwa read the lead judgment in the Gombe case.

Governor Sanwo-Olu

And, the Supreme Court also upheld the election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State by dismissing the two appeals filed against him by Mr.Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party (LP) and Mr. Abdulazeez Adediran of the PDP who came second and third respectively in the election.

Both appellants had asked the apex court to nullify Sanwo-Olu’s election on the grounds that his deputy, Babafemi Hamzat, held dual citizenship, which made the APC ticket defective.

But the Supreme Court ruled that the acquisition of a foreign citizenship does not bar any Nigerian by birth from contesting election insofar as such a citizen has not renounced his or her Nigerian citizenship.

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