SUPREME COURT RETURNS LAGOS, KANO, BAUCHI, ZAMFARA, EBONYI, PLATEAU GOVERNORS

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SUPREME COURT RETURNS LAGOS, KANO, BAUCHI, ZAMFARA, EBONYI, PLATEAU GOVERNORS

The Supreme Court has affirmed the outcomes of the 2023 governorship elections in Lagos, Kano, Bauchi, Zamfara, Ebonyi and Plateau States.

The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal, which had confirmed the re-election of Babajide Sanwo-Olu as Governor of Lagos State.

In a lead judgement delivered by Justice Garba Lawal, the 5-man panel of the apex court unanimously held that the appeal by the Labour Party and its governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, was unmeritorious and therefore liable for dismissal.

The apex court ruled that all parties should bear their respective costs.

The Lagos State Division of the Court of Appeal dismissed Rhodes-Vivour’s appeal on November 15, 2023, having affirmed the decision of the Lagos State Governorship Tribunal, which upheld Sanwo-Olu’s re-election.

The Labour Party and its gubernatorial candidate had urged the court to allow the appeal, set aside the decision of the tribunal, and grant the reliefs sought.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Sanwo-Olu, winner of the governorship election having polled 762,134 votes to defeat his close challenger, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party (LP), who scored 312,329 votes.

S’Court upholds Bala Mohammed’s victory as Bauchi Governor

Similarly, the Supreme Court declared the election of Senator Bala Mohammed as Governor of Bauchi State.

In a lead judgement, Justice Ibrahim Saulawa affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which on November 17, 2023, upheld the election of Bala Mohammed as the duly elected Governor of Bauchi State.

The unanimous judgement of the 5-man panel was on an appeal by the gubernatorial candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Amb Saddique Baba Abubakar, who was not satisfied with INEC’s declaration of Bala as winner of the March 18 governorship election in the State.

Justice Saulawa held that Abubakar’s appeal was “devoid of merit” since all six issues adopted for determination were answered against the appellant.

The Bauchi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, had earlier declared Bala Mohammed the winner of the election.

Bala, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, polled 525,280 votes to defeat Abubakar

Plateau, Ebonyi, Cross River, Jigawa and Bauchi await fate.

NNPP’s Yusuf reinstated as Kano Governor

Also affirmed by the Apex Court is the election of Governor Abba Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) of Kano State.

Justice Inyang Okoro gave the judgement in an appeal by Governor Yusuf, challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal Abuja, which had on November 17 sacked him from office.

The Appeal Court had disqualified Governor Yusuf Kabir from the Kano state governorship election and declared Nasiru Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress (APC), winner of the March 18, 2023, governorship election in Kano State.

But in a lead judgement delivered by Justice Inyang Okoro, the Supreme Court unanimously held that the tribunal never found that Yusuf was not qualified to contest the election.

Justice Inyang Okoro held that the issue of sponsorship and nomination of candidates falls under the domestic affairs of a political party.

He insisted that the tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to entertain a matter that bordered on the internal affairs of a political party.

Dauda Lawal’s mandate as Zamfara Gov restored

In a related development, the Supreme Court declared Dauda Lawal as the validly elected governor of Zamfara State, having set aside the judgement of the Court of Appeal, which declared his election inconclusive.

Justice Emmanuel Agim, who read the lead judgement, held that the decision of the Court of Appeal in declaring the election inconclusive was perverse.

The judgement was on an appeal by Lawal, seeking redress over the decision of the Court of Appeal, which on November 16, 2023, declared the Zamfara gubernatorial election inconclusive.

Justice Agim held that the appeal has merit; it subsists and allowed.

A three-member panel of the appellate court had unanimously annulled the victory of Lawal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Lawal the winner of the March 18, 2023, election with 377,726 votes.

However, Bello Matawalle, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, who polled 311,976 votes, challenged the outcome of the poll.

S’Court affirms election of Governor Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi State

The Supreme Court has affirmed the election of Governor Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi state.

In a lead judgement of a 5-man panel of justices, Tijani Abubakar held that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chukwuma Odi failed to prove any allegation of non-compliance in the election.

Consequently, the apex court, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the appeal by Odi for lacking in merit and a gross abuse of court process.

The panel held that the PDP candidate cannot question the nomination of Nwifuru by his party, the APC.

The Lagos State Division of the Court of Appeal, had on November 24, 2023, affirmed the election of Francis Nwifuru as the duly elected governor of Ebonyi State in the March 18, governorship election.

The three-member panel presided over by Justice Jummai Sankey, in its unanimous decision, dismissed the appeal filed by Chukwuma Odii of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Apex Court restores Mutfwang as Plateau Gov

The Supreme Court has declared Caleb Mutfwang of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the duly elected governor of Plateau State.

Delivering the lead judgement, Justice Emmanuel Agim held that the Court of Appeal lacked the jurisdiction to determine the nomination of Mutfwang as candidate of the PDP in the March 18, 2023, governorship election in the State.

The judgement was on an appeal by Mutfwang challenging the decision of the appellate court, which nullified his election and declared Nentawe Yilwatda, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, as governor.On March 20, 2023, the Independent National Electoral Commission announced Mutfwang as the winner of the election, having scored 525,299 votes, while Nentawe Yilwatda, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) got 481,370 votes.

About Dons Eze

DONS EZE, PhD, Political Philosopher and Journalist of over four decades standing, worked in several newspaper houses across the country, and rose to the positions of Editor and General Manager. A UNESCO Fellow in Journalism, Dr. Dons Eze, a prolific writer and author of many books, attended several courses on Journalism and Communication in both Nigeria and overseas, including a Postgraduate Course on Journalism at Warsaw, Poland; Strategic Communication and Practical Communication Approach at RIPA International, London, the United Kingdom, among others.

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