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Falana calls for review of appeal court rulings that remove three governors



Femi Falana

The Independent National Electoral Commission had initially declared Abba Yusuf (Kano), Dauda Lawal (Zamfara), and Caleb Mutfwang (Plateau) as the duly elected governors of their respective states in the March 2023 governorship elections.

However, the Court of Appeal later overturned these decisions, ousting the governors who belonged to the opposition New Nigeria Peoples Party and the Peoples Democratic Party in separate rulings.

Falana, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, criticized the different circumstances behind the rulings, stating, “The situation in Lagos differs from that of Plateau. In Plateau, there was a High Court judgment mandating the conduct of primaries, which was disregarded, leading to the subsequent election. Meanwhile, in Kano, voters are being penalized. It is a perilous judicial approach to punish voters for the errors of electoral officers.

Further addressing the issue, he said, “We are told that 165,000 votes were invalidated due to the failure of some electoral officers to stamp the ballot papers. How does this impact the legitimacy of the election?”

He continued, “I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will resolve these unnecessary controversies surrounding the non-stamping of ballot papers by unsanctioned INEC officials. This is why these rulings must be reassessed.”

In Kano, the Court of Appeal declared the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Nasir Gawuna, as the winner of the election.

In addition, it deemed the election in Zamfara State inconclusive, ordering INEC to organize a fresh election in three local government areas of the state.

In a separate ruling, the appellate court instructed INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to Nentawe Goshwe, the APC candidate in Plateau State.