Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has called for a review of the judgements of the Appeal Court which sacked Governors Abba Yusuf of Kano state and Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau state.
Falana made this call while speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics where he also hit out hard on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its failure to conduct proper elections in Nigeria.
“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,” he said.
“Thousands of votes should not be invalidated by the court because INEC officials failed to stamp ballot sheets.”
According to him, election matters should be concluded before the inauguration of any administration in the country.
“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,” Falana said.
“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.”
The Appeal Court has so far sacked three governors that INEC declared as winners in the March 2023 election with all of them in opposition parties.
The court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday affirmed the judgment of the Kano governorship election petition tribunal which sacked Yusuf of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) and declared his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Nasir Gawuna, as the winner.
A three-member panel of the Appeal court in its judgment ruled that the NNPP breached the constitution by endorsing Yusuf who was not a member of the party as its gubernatorial candidate in Kano.
In Zamfara state, the appellate court sacked Governor Dauda Lawal who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when it declared the poll inconclusive.
The court thereafter directed INEC to conduct a fresh election in three local government areas of Zamfara state.
On Sunday, the appellate court also sacked PDP’s Mutfwang after which it ordered INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to APC’s Nentawe Goshwe.