The Supreme Court on Friday sacked Ibrahim Shekarau and affirmed Rufai Hanga as the Senator-elect for Kano Central Senatorial District under the platform of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
DIPLOMATIC DIARY reports that a five-member panel of the apex court, led by Justice Inyang Okoro, in a unanimous judgment faulted the refusal by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to replace Senator Shekarau with Hanga after the former Kano State governor left the party for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before the 2023 election.
According to INEC, Shekarau polled 456,787 votes to defeat the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Alhaji Abdulkarim Zaura, who polled 168,677 votes in the February 25 election.
The Supreme Court upheld the two earlier concurrent judgments by the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal, both in Abuja, which affirmed Hanga as the genuine candidate of the NNPP.
It held that the INEC’s appeal lacked merit and substance and thereafter dismissed it in its entirety
The Federal high court and the court of appeal had in their previous judgments upheld Rufai Hanga as the Senatorial Candidate of the NNPP for Kano Central following the withdrawal of Ibrahim Shekarau as a member of the party and Senatorial Candidate due to differences he had with the party.
Dissatisfied with the federal high court order, INEC appealed the judgment which it lost at the appellate court.
The electoral umpire also proceeded to the Supreme Court to challenge the concurrent findings of the two courts which upheld Rufai Hanga as the lawful candidate of the NNPP Kano Central Senatorial District.
Shekarau, 67, is a former Nigerian minister of education and two-term Governor of Kano State. He was elected in April 2003 and reelected in April 2007. He was one of the candidates who aspired to become president in the 2011 general elections.