The Supreme Court has upheld the election victory of Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State, setting aside the prior ruling by the Court of Appeal Abuja, which had declared the Governorship Election inconclusive and ordered a re-run in three Local Government Areas of the state.
Justice Emmanuel Agim, delivering the lead judgment on Friday, deemed the previous decision of the appellate court as “perverse” and reinstated the initial verdict of the Zamfara State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which had affirmed Lawal’s election.
The tribunal had previously endorsed the Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration that Governor Lawal secured the majority of lawful votes, defeating the former governor of the state, Bello Matawalle, who had challenged the results.
INEC announced Lawal’s victory on September 18, 2023, stating that he polled a total of 377,726 votes against Matawalle’s 311,976 votes.
The tribunal upheld this decision, dismissing Matawalle’s claims of excluded polling unit results and non-compliance with electoral rules.
However, the Court of Appeal contradicted the tribunal’s ruling, declaring the Zamfara state governorship election as inconclusive.
It mandated INEC to conduct fresh elections in specific areas where results were not counted or were unlawfully canceled.
The appellate court argued that the tribunal misjudged the evidence and criticized INEC for relying on information from its IReV portal, emphasizing that the portal was not designed for election result collation.
The Supreme Court, in its recent judgment, rebuffed the Court of Appeal’s decision, deeming it against the weight of evidence.
The apex court affirmed Dauda Lawal’s election as the legitimate winner of the gubernatorial contest, bringing an end to the legal dispute over the Zamfara governorship election.