Many hopes were dashed this morning as the Supreme Court of Nigeria affirmed the re-election of Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano state. The governor’s re-election campaign had been challenged as fraudulent by Abba Yusuf, the governorship candidate for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), citing the fact that the Kano state elections had encountered significant violence that forced a recount of votes in several vital voting constituencies.
Sylvester Ngwuta announced that the decision to uphold the results of the election was unanimous among the seven member panel assembled to consider the appeal. Ganduje’s win was narrow, with just a margin of less than 10,000 votes separating him from Yusuf, the closest Ganduje rival. Many expected the videos that surfaced allegedly showing the governor taking bribes from contractors to severely damage Ganduje’s prospects of re-election and were surprised when he was re-elected for a second term. Abba Yusuf also had the backing of political heavyweight Rabiu Kwankwaso, which many predicted would improve his chances of winning the elections.
Coming just days after Sir Emeka Ihedioha, the governor elect of Imo state was removed from office by a Supreme Court ruling that turned the ballot to APC candidate Hope Uzodinma, many have expressed a severe distrust in the capacity of the Supreme Court to offer unbiased judgement in political appeals challenging the veracity of the 2019 elections.
These rulings also strengthen the belief that many opposition party members have expressed that the 2019 elections were not free and fair and the judicial system has been compromised. Considering that rulings have gone both upheld elections and struck them out, mostly in favour of the APC, many Nigerians in the coming weeks will have to decide if the judiciary is indeed honouring its commitments to impartiality or if the accusations that have followed their rulings are simply the agitations of an opposition party losing vital political influence.