Toba Owojaiye Reporting
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has declared the Zamfara State Governorship Election inconclusive and ordered a rerun in three crucial Local Government Areas (LGAs) – Maradun, Birnin-Magaji, and Bukyun.
The court’s decision was based on the argument that the Zamfara State Election Petitions Tribunal overlooked crucial evidence presented by the All Progressives Congress (APC), raising concerns about the diligence exercised in the initial tribunal proceedings.
Interestingly, the Court of Appeal not only declared the election inconclusive but also dismissed the election results provided by both the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for Maradun Local Government. This adds another layer of complexity to the electoral landscape in Zamfara State, questioning the credibility of the results.
Earlier, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Dauda Lawal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor-elect of Zamfara State.
Lawal secured 377,726 votes, defeating the incumbent governor, Bello Matawalle, who garnered 311,976 votes. Notably, National Rescue Movement (NRM) candidate Aliyu Dansadau came third, securing 2,416 votes, while Ahmed Yahuza of the Labour Party received 573 votes. The New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) had withdrawn from the race earlier.
Despite the initial victory, the tribunal upheld the election of Mr. Lawal but criticized the APC for failing to prove the allegation of excluding results from Maradun Local Government and for claiming that the election was not conducted properly in certain wards.
The tribunal, chaired by Cordelia Ogadi, also pointed out the petitioner’s failure to prove the claim that INEC didn’t comply with electoral rules during the election. In response, a fine of N500,000 was imposed against the petitioner, Mr. Matawalle, by the three-man panel of judges. This ruling adds further legal and financial consequences to the aftermath of the contested election in Zamfara State.