Human rights advocate and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, expressed the need for a review of the judgments made by the appellate court that removed Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State and Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State.
Falana shared his perspective during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, emphasizing that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had not fulfilled its responsibility to conduct proper elections in Nigeria.
He criticized the nullification of votes by the courts due to INEC’s alleged failure to prevent candidates without proper party primaries or officials’ failure to stamp ballot sheets, stating that election matters should be resolved before any new administration takes office.
Notably, the appellate court overturned the victories of three governors declared winners by INEC in the March 2023 elections, all belonging to opposition parties. The court declared different winners in Kano and Plateau States, ordering fresh elections in some areas of Zamfara State.
Falana suggested that those unhappy with the appellate court’s decisions have the option to appeal to the Supreme Court, highlighting his concerns about INEC’s lapses during the electoral process.
According to Falana, “If you look at what happened in Lagos, it is different from what happened in Plateau.
“You are being told in Plateau that there was a judgment of the high court to the effect that primaries have to be conducted. The judgment, as usual, was dishonoured and disobeyed and the election went on.”
He said the political class must learn to comply with the decisions of the court.
“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.”
On how that affects the validity of the election, 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 judgments will have to be reviewed.”
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