Supreme Court to hear Lagos, Plateau governorship cases today

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  • Fixes Thursday to hear appeal from Kano

The Supreme Court will today hear governorship election cases from Lagos and Plateau States.

It also slated Thursday to hear the appeal from Kano State.

The Point learnt on Monday that after the hearing, judgements on the cases may likely be reserved till a later date.

The court had yet to disclose the names of five justices that will entertain the appeals.

However, there were indications that the panel, which will be constituted by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, may be led by Justice Inyang Okoro.

The Court of Appeal in Lagos had, on November 15, upheld the re-election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressives Congress and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat.

The court upheld the September 25 judgement of the Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

The tribunal had dismissed petitions that challenged the declaration of Sanwo-Olu as winner of the gubernatorial contest of March 18.

The appellate court held that the appellants failed to prove that Governor Sanwo-Olu did not secure a majority of the votes cast.

Furthermore, it held that the appellants failed to prove allegations of forgery and non-qualification they brought against Sanwo-Olu and his deputy.

Those that the court dismissed their appeals for want of merit were Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party, and Abdulazeez Adediran, also known as Jandor, of PDP. While Rhodes-Vivour came second, Jandor was third.

In the case of Plateau State, the Abuja Division of the appellate court had, in a judgement it delivered on November 19, nullified the election of Governor Caleb Mutfwang.

The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of Justices, held that Mutfwang was not validly nominated and sponsored by the PDP to participate in the gubernatorial contest that was held in the state on March 18.

It held that all the votes that were credited to him and the PDP after the election amounted to wasted votes.

Consequently, the appellate court panel, led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to withdraw the Certificate of Return that it earlier issued to Mutfwang of the PDP as the winner.

It ordered that the candidate that got the second majority lawful votes at the election be sworn in as governor.

The judgement followed an appeal that was lodged against Governor Muftwang’s election by the governorship candidate of APC, Nentawe Goshwe.

INEC had declared that Mutfwang of the PDP won the gubernatorial contest. He got 525,299 votes, ahead of the APC candidate, who polled 481,370 votes.

Dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, Goshwe went before the Plateau State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

He, among other things, contended that the PDP lacked a political structure in the states. He said they were incapable of validly nominating or sponsoring any candidate for the governorship poll.

Besides, he argued that the election of Mutfwang was not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act. He insisted that Mutfwang did not win the majority of lawful votes cast during the election.

Meanwhile, a three-member panel of the tribunal headed by Justice R. Irele-Ifijeh, in a unanimous decision, dismissed Goshwe’s petition as lacking in merit.

Not happy with the judgement of the tribunal, Goshwe brought the case before the appellate court. He maintained that the PDP candidate, Governor Muftwang, lacked the platform and legal qualification to contest the election.

He further alleged that the election was marred by over-voting and non-compliance with key provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act.

Delivering its judgement in the matter, the appellate court upheld the appeal and nullified the election of Governor Mutfwang.

Other Justices on the panel were Muhammed Mustapha and Okon Abang.

Similarly, the court, in a judgement it gave on November 17, nullified the election of Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State.

The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of justices, held that Governor Yusuf was not a valid candidate in the gubernatorial election.

It maintained that proof of evidence that was adduced before it established that the governor was not a member of the New Nigeria Peoples Party at the time of the election.

According to the court, Yusuf, under section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, was not qualified to contest the governorship election since he was not validly sponsored by the NNPP.