The National and State House of Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal in Kano State has rendered a landmark decision, nullifying the election victory of Muktar Umar Yerima, from the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) as the House of Representatives member for Tarauni Federal Constituency.
The tribunal’s three-man panel, led by Justice I.P. Chima, ruled that Yerima’s victory was invalid due to the alleged forgery of his primary school certificate, which had been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Justice I.P. Chima, while delivering the tribunal’s decision, stated, “After a thorough examination of the evidence presented before us, it has been established beyond reasonable doubt that Muktar Umar Yerima submitted a forged primary school certificate to the INEC. This act disqualifies him from holding the position he was elected to.”
The petitioner in the case, Hafizu Kawu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had challenged Yerima’s eligibility and presented evidence proving the forgery allegations.
The tribunal found in favour of Kawu, highlighting a compelling case of alleged forgery against Yerima. As a result, the tribunal determined that the NNPP had no legitimate candidate in the election and declared all the votes cast for Yerima as “wasted votes”.
The tribunal also directed INEC to retract the certificate of return that had previously been issued to Yerima, effectively stripping him of his elected position.
In his defense, Yerima had claimed to have legally changed his name in 2022.
However, the tribunal rejected this argument, emphasising that Yerima’s inconsistent use of multiple names – Umar Mukhtar Zakari – on his passport since 2009 undermined his credibility.
Furthermore, the primary school in question, Hausawa Primary School, disowned the certificate presented by Yerima, adding weight to the tribunal’s decision.