The tribunal, presided over by Justice Oluyemi Osadebay, invalidated 165,663 votes for Abba Kabir Yusuf, citing the absence of signatures and stamps from the Independent National Electoral Commission on the ballot papers.
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Expressing dissatisfaction with the tribunal’s decision, Yusuf appealed the judgment. However, the appeal court, delivering its verdict on Friday, asserted that Yusuf was not eligible to contest the election.
The three-member panel, headed by Justice M.A Adumeh, stated that Yusuf’s name was not found in the membership register of his political party.
Referring to an electoral act provision, Justice Adumeh emphasized that a party must maintain a list of its registered members in both hard and soft copies. He pointed out that Yusuf failed to refute the allegations against him, questioning the logic of claiming party membership without proper documentation.
The judge highlighted Section 134 of the electoral act, which allows the court to consider the qualification of a candidate in an election. Justice Adumeh stressed that political parties cannot bypass the constitution’s clear and mandatory provisions. To contest an election, a candidate must not only be a member of a party but also sponsored by that party.
He criticised the tribunal for not disqualifying Yusuf in its initial ruling, asserting that the failure to comply with Section 177(c) was fatal to the election. Adumeh described the act of nominating a candidate without proper membership as a nullity, emphasizing the importance of adherence to constitutional requirements.
Furthermore, Justice Adumeh rebuked political parties for blaming the judiciary for their defeats, stating, “The same party will wake up to accuse the judiciary, including infamous allegations of corrupt practices.
The court resolved all issues against the appellant, affirming the tribunal’s judgment. Additionally, a sum of N1 million is awarded in favour of the first respondent against the appellant.