Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has fixed Friday for the judgement in the appeal filed to challenge the removal of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf by the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.
A three-man panel of judges led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay had sacked Yusuf on September 20, 2023.
The tribunal declared 165,663 of his votes invalid because they were not signed or stamped by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Yusuf’s votes were then reduced to 853,939 while those of Nasir Ganuwa, his All Progressives Congress (APC) rival, remained at 890,705.
The governor, who rejected the tribunal verdict, described it as “unfair” and “a miscarriage of justice”, heading to the appeal court.
At the appeal court, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, lead for Yusuf, asked that the judgement of the tribunal be set aside.
Olanipekun, while kicking against the ruling on ballot papers, said this is the first time in the history that a tribunal would annul an election over non-signing of the back of ballot papers.
The senior lawyer further argued that this was the first time a political party would file a matter without joining its candidate as a party in the petition, and the candidate would declare the winner of the polls.
However, counsel for APC, Akin Olujimi, SAN, countered him, saying the Appeal Court stated emphatically that the non-signing of ballots amounted to electoral malpractice
Olujimi argued that INEC regulations have set out what presiding officers are to do at the point of voting, adding that the back of ballot papers must be signed and dated.
The appellate court had reserved judgement, saying a date would be communicated to the parties involved.
Nevertheless, the appellate court on Thursday announced that judgement would be delivered on Friday. [GKN]