The New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has filed its notice of appeal before the Supreme Court to challenge the November 17 judgement of the Court of Appeal which upheld the decision of the Election Petition Tribunal, sacking Governor Abba Yusuf and declared Dr Nasiru Gawuna, of the All Progressives Congress, APC as the duly elected governor of Kano State.
In the notice of appeal dated Nov. 22nd and filed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Gboyega Awomolo leading seven other senior advocates and 10 other lawyers, the NNPP listed 10 grounds for challenging the appeal.
The party challenged “the entire judgment of the Court of Appeal save and except the conclusion and orders at page 67 of the duly Certified True Copy, CTC including the order as to cost favourable to the appellant.”
Listed as respondents in the notice of appeal are Governor Abba Yusuf, the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
On Nov 17th, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the election petition tribunal, which sacked Governor Abba Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party and declared the APC candidate, Dr Nasiru Gawuna, winner.
The three-member panel of the appeal court dismissed the appeal filed by Governor Yusuf based on his membership status in his party.
Confusion, however, ensued on Tuesday, Nov 21 when the CTC of the court judgement which surfaced four days after the judgment had been delivered showed contradictions in the conclusions.
In the lead judgement delivered by Justice Moore Adumein, the judge held in one of the concluding paragraphs on Page 68, “I will conclude by stating that the live issues in this appeal are hereby resolved in favour of the 1st respondent and against the appellant.”
The appellant is Governor Yusuf; while the 1st respondent is the All Progressives Congress (APC) with the Independent National Electoral Commission and the NNPP listed as 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively.
The judge went further to hold that “In the circumstances, I resolve all the issues in favour of the appellant and against the 1st respondent.
“Therefore, I find no merit in this appeal which is liable to be and is hereby dismissed.
The judgment of the tribunal in Petition No.: EPT/KN/GOV/01/2023 between ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC) v. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION & 2 ORS. delivered on the 20th day of September 2023 is hereby set aside.
“The sum of N1,000,000.00 (one million naira only) is hereby awarded as costs in favour of the appellant and against the 1st respondent.”
While the last three conclusions of the judge suggested that the tribunal judgment sacking Governor Yusuf had been set aside and restored his mandate, the first conclusion that resolved the issues in favour of APC suggested that the decision of the tribunal was affirmed. In its grounds of appeal challenging portions of the judgment, the NNPP said “the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law and occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice to the prejudice of the Appellant, when it agreed with the trial tribunal, that, the party’s candidate, was not qualified to contest the election because he was not a member of a political party.”
The NNPP noted that the Court of Appeal reviewed and reversed the tribunals’ judgment which went in favour of the Appellant and 1″ Respondent on the issue of party membership, when no ground of appeal or issue was formulated to warrant such a review.
The NNPP also argued “that the court of appeal erred in law, and came to a perverse decision when their lordships mixed up the issue of party membership register for use at party primaries with qualification to contest the general election.
The party also submitted “that the justices of the court of appeal misdirected themselves in law by misapprehending the issue in the appeal when they delved into alternative hypothetical scenario…and became a cross-appellant with a grievance against the decision of the tribunal and reversed same on the issue of disqualification thus granting prayer not sought in the appeal.
“That the learned Justices of the court of appeal erred in law, acted without jurisdiction and breached the Appellant’s right to fair hearing thus coming to a wrong conclusion, on the actual issue submitted for their resolution regarding the trial Tribunal’s assumption of the role of Petitioners by reviewing documents dumped on the court, in the Tribunal Justices chambers, whereof the tribunal arbitrarily discovered, isolated and deducted 165,000 votes from the total votes of 1,019, 602 and recounted the remainder of votes cast for appellant and its candidate Ist Respondent to conclude that the All Progressives Congress’s candidate who scored 890,705 votes at the election had more votes and ought to have been returned as the winner of the Governorship election held in Kano state on 18 March, 2023…
“That the Court below erred in law when it held that the Appellant’s Candidate was not a member of NNPP (the political party that sponsored him for Governorship election in Kano State), and therefore not qualified to contest the said election…
“That the Court below erred in law when it held that the Appellant’s candidate should have personally given evidence to establish his Membership of his Party and that such failure to testify is fatal to his case.
“That the Court below erred In law when it upheld the decision of the Tribunal nullifying the election of the Appellant’s Candidate as elected Governor of Kano State and declaring 1st Respondent’s Candidate as the winner instead.
“That the Learned Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law and occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice when they held “that the live issues in this appeal are hereby resolved in favour of the Respondent and against the Appellant when the issue of the constitutionality of the judgment of the Election Tribunal delivered in violation of the mandatory provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) was not properly considered.
“That the Learned Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law when they held “if, as rightly found by the Tribunal, that the Appellant Yusuf Abba Kabir was not a member of the Ist Respondent (New Nigeria Peoples Party)” at the time he was purportedly sponsored for the Governorship election held on the 18th day of March 2023, then he was not qualified to contest the election by Section 17 (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 19 (as amended).
The party is seeking the following reliefs from the Supreme Court:
“AN ORDER ALLOWING THE APPEAL AND SETTING ASIDE the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on 17th November 2023.
“AN ORDER upholding the portion of the judgment of the court of appeal setting aside the judgment of the trial Tribunal in Petition No: EPT/RV/GOV/11/2023 and making order as to costs in favour of the Appellant.”
SUCH FURTHER ORDER(S) as this Honourable Court may deem appropriate in the circumstances of the appeal.