On Friday, January 12, 2024, at 9 a.m., the Supreme Court will announce its decisions in seven appeals involving governorships.
The states in question are Cross River, Ebonyi, Plateau, Kano, Zamfara, Bauchi, and Lagos.
Yusuf and Gawuna Case
Late in December, the supreme court put its decision on hold in the case brought by Abba Yusuf, governor of Kano State, who had appealed the decision of the Court of Appeal and the State Election Petitions Tribunal that had deposed him.
After the parties submitted their argument briefs, the five-judge panel presided over by Justice John Okoro put the decision on hold.
The panel overturned Yusuf’s (NNPP) triumph in the governorship election that took place on March 18 in September.
Additionally, the panel upheld APC candidate Nasiru Gawuna’s legitimacy as Kano’s governor.
On November 13, the Court of Appeal affirmed the tribunal’s decision. Following the tribunal’s decision, the Appeal Court ruled that Abba Yusuf’s fielding violated the Electoral Law because he lacked the qualifications to run for office. However, in order to seek remedy, the governor went on to the Supreme Court.
Trial of Mutfwang and Goshwe
Plateau State Governor Caleb Mutfwang appealed the Court of Appeal’s decision to invalidate his election on January 9, 2024, but the Supreme Court has yet to rule on his case.
Justice John Okoro presided over a five-judge panel that heard arguments for and against the appeal but ultimately decided to hold off on rendering a verdict.
The governor’s legal team, under the direction of Kanu Agabi, urged the court to uphold the tribunal’s decision and overturn the appeal court’s decision because the respondents lack the authority to inquire into how a political party chooses its state leaders.
According to him, the respondents—Nentawe Goshwe and the All Progressives Congress—cannot simultaneously claim that the election was unlawful because the governor did not receive the number of legitimate votes that were assigned to him.
The governor went to the highest court to seek redress after the Abuja Appeal Court dismissed Mutfwang and directed the INEC to give a Certificate of Return to Goshwe in November.
Cauvery v. Matawalle
The election of Dauda Lawal as governor of Zamfara State was invalidated last November by the Appeal Court.
The governorship election that took place on March 18 was won by Lawal, who is a member of the main opposition PDP. He received 377,726 votes, an astonishing number that deposed All Progressives Congress (APC) incumbent Bello Matawalle. The count for Matawalle was 311,976.
The former PDP candidate and current Minister of State for Defence claimed that INEC had obstructed his electoral triumph by excluding the outcomes from certain ward areas.
The case was deemed meritless in an earlier verdict by the Zamfara Election Petitions Tribunal on September 18. The panel upheld Lawal’s victory and fined the petitioners N500,000.
As predicted, Matawalle appealed the lower court’s ruling to Abuja’s Court of Appeal because he was dissatisfied with it.
The three-judge panel, headed by Justice Oyebisi Folayemi, overturned Governor Lawal’s election as the winner on Thursday, providing some solace to Matawalle.
In three of the state’s local government areas, where elections had either never taken place or where results from different polling units were not tallied, Justice Sybil Nwaka directed INEC to hold new elections.
However, in order to seek remedy, the governor went on to the supreme court.
Abdulkadir vs. Mohammed
Additionally, the appellate court upheld the March 18 governorship election victory of Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State in November.
Sadique Abubakar, a candidate for governor from the All Progressives Congress (APC), filed the appeal after the tribunal upheld Mohammed’s victory.
Since the court determined that each side should pay their own expenses, the three-judge panel was in agreement and did not award any.
Justice Chidi Nwaoma Uwa, who presided over the appeal, delivered the decision aloud in accordance with the appellant’s plea order.
The appellant’s initial argument sought to have the election declared invalid on the grounds that the paperwork for the election was lacking. The court found that the appellant did not provide sufficient evidence to support this allegation.
Jandor v. Sanwo-Olu and GRV
In November, the Lagos Appeal Court upheld the tribunal’s decision, re-asserting Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Obafemi Hamzat as the new governor and deputy governor of Lagos State, respectively.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP) had their petitions rejected by the court of appeals in a unanimous ruling due to lack of merit.
The results of the Lagos governorship election were announced by INEC as Sanwo-Olu’s victory in March.
With 762,134 votes, Sanwo-Olu easily prevailed over his formidable opponent, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, better known as GRV, of the LP, who had received 312,329 votes. Abdulazeez Adediran, also known as Jandor, of the PDP, received 62,449 votes, placing him in a dismal third place.
Dissatisfied with Sanwo-Olu’s victory, the LP and PDP candidates sought to have it nullified by petitioning the Lagos State Election Petitions Tribunal.
The tribunal’s decision from September 25th rejected the challenge by Adediran and Rhodes-Vivour against Sanwo-Olu’s election triumph.
They took their case to the appellate court, but that body rejected their appeals because they were unhappy with the lower court’s decision. A decision is anticipated on Friday from the Supreme Court, which the two men immediately approached.
Odii vs. Nwifuru
The appeal over the governorship election in Ebonyi State was heard by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, but a decision was postponed.
In November of last year, the Lagos Court of Appeal upheld Francis Nwifuru’s (APC) victory in the Ebonyi State governorship election that took place on March 18.
Despite going to the highest court in the land to seek redress, a three-judge panel presided over by Justice Jummai Sankey unanimously rejected his appeal and upheld the tribunal’s earlier decision.