The Court of Appeal in Abuja has scheduled Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf’s appeal against his removal by the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Kano State for Friday. On September 20, 2023, a three-member panel of judges, led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan Osadebay, nullified 165,663 of Yusuf’s votes as they lacked the required signatures or stamps from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Consequently, the governor’s vote count was reduced to 853,939, while Nasiru Ganuwa’s 890,705 votes remained unaffected.
Governor Yusuf rejected the tribunal’s decision, deeming it “unfair” and a “miscarriage of justice,” prompting his appeal to the higher court. During the court proceedings, Wole Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria representing the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) candidate, called for the reversal of the tribunal’s decision. Olanipekun contested the unprecedented nature of nullifying an election based on unsigned ballot papers.
He also argued that the tribunal erred in allowing a political party to file a petition without including its candidate as a party. However, Akin Olujimi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria representing the APC, disagreed with Olanipekun’s assertions. Olujimi cited the Appeal Court’s ruling, emphasizing that unsigned ballots constituted electoral malpractice. He further argued that INEC regulations mandate presiding officers to sign and date the back of ballot papers during the voting process.