Toba Owojaiye reporting
Human rights advocate Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is urging a reassessment of the Appeal Court’s rulings that removed Governors Abba Yusuf of Kano state and Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau state.
In a statement he made on Channels TV Politics Today session, Truth Live News gathered that Falana criticized the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its failure to conduct proper elections in Nigeria, emphasizing that court nullifications should not penalize voters for the electoral commission’s oversights.
“The votes of Nigerians should not be nullified by the courts because of the supposed negligence of the electoral umpire that shouldn’t have cleared candidates put forward by parties without primaries conducted,” Falana asserted. He expressed concern over thousands of votes being invalidated due to errors like the failure to stamp ballot sheets by INEC officials.
Falana argued for the resolution of election matters before the inauguration of any administration, labeling the current judicial policy as dangerous for sanctioning voters over electoral officers’ mistakes. Specifically, he questioned the annulment of 165,000 votes due to the non-stamping of ballot papers, urging the Supreme Court to address these controversies and review the judgments.
Highlighting the broader context, Falana noted that the Appeal Court has ousted three governors declared winners by INEC in the March 2023 election, all belonging to opposition parties.
The court upheld the Kano governorship election petition tribunal’s decision to remove Yusuf of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) and declare Nasir Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner, citing the NNPP’s breach of the constitution for endorsing Yusuf, not a party member, as its gubernatorial candidate.
In Zamfara state, the Appeal Court nullified Governor Dauda Lawal’s victory on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), declaring the poll inconclusive and directing INEC to conduct a fresh election in three local government areas.
Recently, the court also ousted PDP’s Mutfwang, instructing INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to APC’s Nentawe Goshwe. Falana’s call for a review underscores the need for careful scrutiny of these judicial decisions and their implications on electoral processes and democratic principles.