By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.
Kano State Governor Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje will on Monday January 20 know his fate when the Supreme Court will deliver judgment in an appeal challenging his victory in the March 19, 1999 governorship election.
The apex court presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria CJN Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad Tuesday in Abuja fixed the date to deliver the verdict after arguments have been taken from the lawyers involved in the legal battle.
The appellant, Abbah Kabir Yusuf, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had through his counsel , Adegboyega Awomolo SAN, asked the Supreme Court to nullify the election that brought Ganduje to office on the ground of the illegality of the election.
Awomolo in his argument informed the court that the Returning Officer with the Independent National Electoral Commission unlawfully cancelled elections in 207 polling units in the 44 Local Government Areas of Kano state after last year’s gubernatorial election
Citing section 179 of the 1999 constitution and the 69 of the INEC guideline, Awomolo argued that the Returning Officer had no power under any law to have cancelled any election after collation and declaration of the elections had been made.
The senior lawyer also pleaded with the apex court to nullify the result of the March 23 supplementary election conducted by the Returning Officer and which led to the emergence of Governor Ganduje adding that the supplementary election was unlawfully conducted after the purported cancellation
Awomolo urged the court to uphold the result in the INEC form EC8D, been the final result of the March 9 governorship election legally conducted by INEC and reportedly won by the appellant.
However, Dr Alex Izinyon SAN, counsel to Governor Ganduje urged the Supreme Court Justices to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.
The senior lawyer said that contrary to the claim of the appellant, Form EC8E is the final result sheet for governorship election and not form EC8D adding that the appeal has no legs to stand upon.
Also counsel to INEC, Malam Ahmed Raji SAN sought dismissal of the appeal on the ground that there was no established evidence of election cancellation by any Returning Officer on the election day.
Raji told the Justices that the Returning Officer was unable to collate results in the 207 polling units due to violence and snatching of election results sheets.
He specifically informed the court that it was the agent of the appellant who allegedly snatched election results sheets prompting the conduct of supplementary election in the affected polling units
Raji pleaded with the apex court to uphold the concurrent findings of the election petition tribunal and the Court of Appeal and sustain the election of Ganduje as been validly conducted and lawfully declared as the governor of Kano state.