Several State Governorship Election Petition Tribunals have delivered judgments regarding the March 18, 2023, governorship elections in Nigeria. These verdicts have sparked diverse reactions, highlighting the polarizing nature of these decisions.
Among the states where judgments have been delivered are Kano, Bauchi, Zamfara, Plateau, Benue, Enugu, Lagos, Cross River, Gombe, and others. Opinions on these judgments are sharply divided based on one’s perspective.
One of the most contentious rulings came from Kano State, where the governorship election petition tribunal dismissed the incumbent Governor, Abba Yusuf, and declared Nasir Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the rightful governor. This decision was met with violent protests in Kano, with citizens expressing their dissatisfaction and claiming they voted for Yusuf.
The New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), to which Yusuf belongs, strongly criticized the verdict, labeling it a miscarriage of justice. They pledged to appeal the judgment, asserting that it unfairly deducted votes from Yusuf’s tally.
In Enugu State, the tribunal upheld Governor Peter Mbah’s victory, dismissing the petition filed by the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Chijioke Edeoga. Edeoga had alleged that Mbah submitted a forged discharge certificate from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). The tribunal, however, ruled that the NYSC certificate was not a requirement for the governor’s office and that Mbah was qualified to contest without it.
The LP and Edeoga rejected this verdict and vowed to challenge it on appeal. Meanwhile, Governor Mbah welcomed the tribunal’s decision as a victory for democracy.
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Opinions on these tribunal rulings vary, with some questioning their validity, while others argue that justice will ultimately prevail through higher courts. The polarizing nature of these judgments reflects the complexity of electoral disputes in Nigeria, with citizens closely watching how these legal battles unfold.