Falana: Appeal Court judgements sacking Kano, Plateau governors should be reviewed

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Femi Falana

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana has called for a review of the Court of Appeal judgements sacking the governors of Kano and Plateau states.

Falana made the call as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

Recall that the Court of Appeal sacked Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano and Governor Caleb Muftwang of Plateau.

Yusuf was the candidate of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) and Muftwang candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 18 gubernatorial elections in Kano and Plateau respectively.

Yusuf was sacked by the Court of Appeal and his APC opponent, Nasir Gawuna, was declared the winner of the poll.

The court also sacked PDP’s Mutfwang and ordered INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to APC’s Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda Goshewe.

Similarly, the court sacked Governor Dauda Lawal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and declared the March 18 poll inconclusive about eight months after.

Bello Matawalle of the APC is Lawal’s top challenger in the Zamfara gubernatorial polls.

Interestingly, the appellate court affirmed the election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the APC in Lagos State.

Reacting, Falana said it would be improper for the votes of the Nigerian electorate to be nullified by the courts because of the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct proper elections.

The popular human rights lawyer said INEC should be held accountable for its supposed negligence of clearing candidates put forward by parties without primaries conducted.

Falana added that it would be wrong for thousands of votes to be invalidated by the court because INEC officials failed to stamp ballot sheets.

He added that election matters should be concluded before the inauguration of any administration.

Falana urged those dissatisfied with the judgements of the Court of Appeal to approach the Supreme Court.

“If you look at what happened in Lagos is different from what happened in Plateau.

“You are being told in Plateau that there was a judgement of the high court to the effect that primaries have to be conducted.

“The judgement, as usual, was dishonoured and disobeyed and the election went on,” Falana said, urging the political class to honour court judgements.

Falana said, “It is different from Kano where you are being told that voters can be punished.

“It is a very dangerous judicial policy to sanction voters for the mistake of electoral officers.

“We are being told that 165,000 votes are wasted; they are invalid because some electoral officers committed an error by not stamping them.”

He urged the Supreme Court to put to rest these gnarling issues plaguing the nation’s electoral system.

“I do hope that this time around the Supreme Court will resolve these needless controversies surrounding the non-stamping of ballot papers by INEC officials who have not been recommended for any sanction.

“This is why these judgements will have to be reviewed,” Falana said.

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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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