A former Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, Ado Doguwa, has alleged that the electoral processes that saw the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) garner votes in the presidential election as well as those that made Abba Yusuf emerge as Governor of Kano State were both “illegal” and “corrupt.”
Doguwa made this assertion in a live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, where he claimed there were irregularities in the number of votes accorded to Governor Yusuf
“I want to tell you whatever the NNPP garnered in the name of that election, either the presidential or even governorship elections and even in other subsidiary elections, was all through the back door.
“Those who succeeded and concluded their litigation and got away with it, fine, but I put it to Nigerians that it was a corrupt process; it was a clear cut.
“I am talking about the corrupt means they (NNPP) got that many results: 900,000 votes, almost 1 million. They got all such figures through the back doors because they were able to have access illegally. Although original ballot papers were obtained through illegal means,
“In my own opinion, and for every right-thinking politician in Kano, it’s not about someone being angry—if you continue to do something illegally, if you continue to cast your vote illegally, or if you continue to have votes that were cast illegally, you are breaching the conditions of the law.
Governor Yusuf was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after the March 2023 governorship poll.
However, on November 17, the Court of Appeal in Abuja upheld the decision of the tribunal’s ruling, affirming that the candidacy of Governor Yusuf violated the Electoral Law, rendering him ineligible to contest the election.
According to Doguwa, the issue at hand is not about individuals being angered; rather, it pertains to engaging in illegal voting practices repeatedly.
“If you do that 100 times, the law won’t always be there for you. It doesn’t matter how many times you try to get reelected as governor through illegal means and it doesn’t matter how many times the court or the laws say, Oh, this was the wrong approach and that has to be corrected.”
“Laws are meant to be respected and not taken for granted. But when you tell me that you have people who are angry, angry for what?” he said.
“Angry for casting their votes wrongly? or angry for the inaction of officials of the INEC?”
Voter Not “Well Educated”
The former lawmaker also attributed the Appeal Court’s decision on unstamped ballot papers in the 2023 Kano governorship election to a deficiency in voter education.
The tribunal invalidated 165,663 votes from Yusuf’s total poll due to lacking stamps or signatures, leading to his disqualification.
When asked whether voters cast their votes wrongly, Doguwa said, “Of course they did,” noting that voters should have been properly educated to understand the necessity of having their votes signed and stamped by the presiding officer.
“Voters should have been well educated to know that when you cast your vote, that vote must have been signed. You, as a voter, should know that.
“We have to call the voter education department in INEC and they have said that times without numbers,” he said.
“This is the position of the law; a voter should be well educated by his party and every Nigerian voter is also entitled to know.”
The former majority leader also stressed that the INEC manual clearly states that “a ballot paper lacking the official INEC stamp and the presiding officer’s signature should be deemed invalid,” which, according to him, is “a fact well known to INEC officials.”
“There is a voter education department whose responsibility is to let people know what civil rights are and what your duties are when you want to vote,” Doguwa said.
“And I put it to you that a responsible voter should have known that his ballot paper had to be valid by carrying the signature and stamp of the presiding officer.”