In a dramatic turn of events, the Court of Appeal has overturned the Independent Electoral Commission’s (INEC) declaration of Dauda Lawal as the winner of the Zamfara State governorship election. The appellate court, in its judgment, stated that the incumbent governor, Bello Matawalle of the All Progressives Congress (APC), successfully demonstrated that Lawal was not duly elected.
The court criticized the tribunal’s judgment for insufficiently evaluating the evidence presented and affirmed that credible evidence supported the appellant’s case. Additionally, the Court of Appeal emphasized that the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IREV) could not be utilized for collating results, challenging the tribunal’s decision to do so.
Justice Sybil Nwaka, delivering the lead judgment, directed INEC to organize fresh elections in three local government areas—Birnin Magaji, Bukun Yum LGA, and Maradun—where previous elections were inconclusive or results were not duly counted.
Reacting to the judgment, the Zamfara APC expressed optimism about Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle’s return to office. The party’s secretary, Yusuf Idris, lauded the court’s decision, attributing it to a belief in divine choices and commending the judiciary for meticulous work.
However, the Zamfara PDP’s spokesperson, Buhari Maijega, remained optimistic about Dauda Lawal’s chances, pointing out the substantial lead in votes and expressing confidence in winning additional votes in the upcoming rerun election. Maijega also highlighted Lawal’s right to appeal to the Supreme Court, suggesting a prolonged legal battle for the governorship position.