The National and State House of Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal in Kano State made a historic decision by overturning Muktar Umar Yerima’s election as the House of Representatives member for Tarauni Federal Constituency from the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
The three-person group at the tribunal, led by Justice I.P. Chima, decided that Yerima’s win didn’t count because his primary school certificate, which had been sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was allegedly faked.
Justice I.P. Chima, who gave the decision of the tribunal, said, “After a thorough review of the evidence given to us, it has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Muktar Umar Yerima gave the INEC a fake primary school certificate. This makes it impossible for him to keep the job he was voted into.”
In this case, the petitioner, Hafizu Kawu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), questioned Yerima’s eligibility and showed proof that the claims of forgery were true.
The court ruled in favor of Kawu because Yerima was accused of fraud, which was a strong case. So, the committee decided that the NNPP didn’t have a valid candidate in the election, and all the votes for Yerima were called “wasted votes.” The court also told INEC to take back the certificate of return that had been given to Yerima. This meant that he was no longer in his elected post.
Yerima said that he officially changed his name in 2022 as a way to defend himself.
But the court didn’t buy it. They pointed out that Yerima’s passport, which has had Umar Mukhtar Zakari on it since 2009, showed that he was not reliable because he used different names in different ways.
Also, the primary school in question, Hausawa Primary School, said that Yerima’s certificate was not from them. This gave the tribunal’s ruling more weight.