Court Sacks Zamfara Governor, Orders a Rerun in Three Local Government Areas
An Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has sacked Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State as the winner of the last March 18 Governorship Poll in the State.
The court’s three member panel declared the poll inconclusive, and ordered a rerun in Bukuyun, Maradun and Birnin Magaji Local Government Areas.
The Appellate Court sacked the Governor, who won the poll on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform, while ruling on an appeal against the outcome of the poll, filed by former Governor Bello Mattawale, who was the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate.
The court revoked the judgement of the State Governorship Poll Tribunal, which upheld the election of Lawal, on the ground that it ignored the evidence provided by the APC and its candidate, who is now the Defense Minister.
The court ruled that it was wrong for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to only rely on its Independent Results Viewing Portal (IRV) to collate the final results of the poll.
The judgment followed an appeal that was brought before the court by the immediate past governor of the state, Bello Matawalle, who was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election. Matawalle was later appointed by President Bola Tinubu as the Minister of State for Defence.
According to INEC, Matawalle was roundly defeated with over 65,000 votes. Specifically, INEC credited Lawal with 377,726 votes, while Matawalle was said to have scored 311,976 votes. The tribunal on September 18 upheld Lawal’s election, but Matawalle proceeded to the Appeal Court.
Palpable tension has enveloped the premises of the Court of Appeal in Abuja while the judges sat for hours to announce their decision. Around the court, there was heavy presence of security personnel to ward off possible breakdown of law and order after the judgment.
A group of sympathizers and political associates of the two groups had earlier stormed the court as early as 8:00a.m. but were restricted to a far distance by heavily armed mobile policemen.