By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed January 20 for judgment in the appeal seeking to sack Abdullahi Ganduje as Governor of Kano State.
A seven member panel of Justices of the apex court presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, fixed the date after taking submissions of counsel in the appeal.
The appeal filed by candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abbah Yusuf, had approached the apex court to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal which affirmed Ganduje as lawfully elected as Governor of Kano State.
The Court of Appeal had in a judgment delivered on November 22 upheld the judgment of the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which upheld the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s) declaration of Ganduje as winner of the March 9 governorship election in Kano State.
In arguing the appeal, Yusuf’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo urged the court to nullify the election of Ganduje on the grounds that his victory was based on a purported illegal bye election conducted in 207 polling units.
Awomolo had argued that the State Returning Officer who had conducted the bye election in the affected polling units lacked the legal powers to do so.
He added that the State Returning Officer after declaring the entire results of election in the 44 local government areas of Kano State was wrong to have gone ahead to cancel election in 207 polling units and conducting a bye election thereafter.
Awomolo therefore urged the court to nullify the purported bye election conducted on March 23 in the 207 polling units and declare his client winner based on the results declared by the State Returning Officer on March 11, 2019.
However, the respondents in their various submissions urged the court to dismiss the appeal on grounds that the State Returning Officer did not cancel election of 207 polling units as claimed by the appeallants.
Counsel to INEC, Ahmed Raji SAN in his submissions told the apex court that the appellants both at the tribunal and Court of Appeal failed to prove that votes were cancelled in 207 wards
According to Raji record only showed the inability of the State Returning Officer to collate results of the affected polling units which was occasioned by the action of the appeallants own witness, who in his evidence admitted carting away with ballot boxes of Galma wards belonging to the 207 polling units.
Both lawyers to the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Ganduje aligned themselves with Raji and urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking merit.
Justice Muhammad after listening to submissions of all counsel in the matter announced that judgment has been fixed for January 20, 2020.
Other members of the panel include; Justice Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, Justice Kudirat Keke- Ekun Justice, Justice Aminu Sanusi, Justice Amina Augie and
Justice Uwani Musa Aba Aji.