July 20, 2024

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has dropped its appeal against the ruling of the Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to declare Governor Abba Yusuf’s election unlawful.

INEC indicated in a letter dated October 6 and signed by Suleiman Alkali, the head of the commission’s legal division in Kano, that it withdrew its appeal since it had no basis to oppose any verdict.

“I have been instructed by the Commission headquarters that INEC as an umpire have no reason to appeal any judgment.

“Consequently, the National Commission In charge if Legal Services and National Commissioner in charge of Kano zone directed that the appeal be withdrawn and all processes for all Appeals should be forwarded to the Kano Office,” the letter, addressed to the secretary of the Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, read.

However, INEC has withdrawn the letter sent to the Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal withdrawing its appeal.

Confirming the development, Suleiman Alkali, the head of INEC’s legal department in Kano, said the letter has been withdrawn as there was no need for it.

He confirmed that INEC would continue with the appeal of the judgement.

On September 20, a 3-man panel sacked Governor Abba Yusuf and declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Nasiru Gawuna, winner of the March 18 governorship poll.

Reading the judgment transmitted via a teleconference service, Zoom, the tribunal deducted 165,663 votes from Mr Yusuf as invalid, stating that the ballot papers (165,663) were not stamped or signed and therefore declared invalid.

But the electoral commission had earlier filed a 33-ground appeal against the judgment, saying the trial tribunal erred in law by declaring the candidate of the petitioner, who is not party to the case, as the winner of the election.

It also said the tribunal “erred in law and fell into grave error when it failed or neglected to properly evaluate the evidence before it especially evidence elicited during cross-examination by the Appellant which had a far-reaching consequence on the resolution of the issues in the Petition thereby occasioning a miscarriage of justice to the Appellant.”

On another ground, INEC also said the tribunal erred in law and violated the Appellant’s fundamental right by descending into the arena of the case especially by privately examining documents in the recesses of their chambers, carrying out mathematical calculations, making discoveries and investigations, and thus arrived at answers that only evidence demonstrated in the open court could have revealed, which in this case was not so demonstrated, thus rendering the entire proceedings a nullity.”

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