In a major ruling Wednesday, the Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal removed incumbent Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP) from office and declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Nasiru Gawuna as the rightful winner of the March 2022 election.

The virtual judgement comes after lawyers presented closing arguments last month. Yusuf was originally declared victor with over 1 million votes against Gawuna’s 890,705, but the APC challenged the outcome in court.

After reviewing the case, the tribunal determined that 165,663 unstamped and unsigned ballots were invalid. Deducting these votes reversed the result in favor of Gawuna.

The panel subsequently ordered the withdrawal of the certificate of return issued to Yusuf by the electoral commission (INEC). Gawuna will now be granted the certificate as Kano’s governor-elect.

Despite conceding after INEC’s initial declaration, the APC pursued legal action over alleged irregularities. Today’s ruling satisfies the party’s petition to overturn the announced result.

Yusuf and the NNPP are expected to appeal the contentious judgement. But the tribunal’s decision represents a seismic shift in Kano’s political landscape just months after the tightly contested governorship race.