The Court of Appeal has overturned the victory of Zamfara State Governor Dauda Lawal, calling for a new election in the northwestern Nigerian state. Lawal, of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared winner of the March 18th governorship race with 377,726 votes.

He defeated incumbent All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Bello Matawalle, who received 311,976 votes. However, Matawalle contested the results over excluded wards. The Zamfara Election Tribunal rejected his petition in September and upheld Lawal’s election.

Unsatisfied, Matawalle appealed to the higher court in Abuja. On Thursday, a three-judge panel led by Justice Oyebisi Folayemi nullified Lawal’s victory. Justice Sybil Nwaka ordered a fresh election in three local government areas where previous voting was disrupted.

The court ruled that the electoral commission (INEC) improperly relied on digital results to finalize totals rather than actual tallies from all polling units. The affected areas are Maradun, Birnin-Magaji, and Bukkuyum.