From Joshua Chibuzo Andrew
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has reacted to the emergence of the Certified True Copy (CTC) of Court of Appeal’s judgement affirming the election of Abba Yusuf as Kano State governor.
Also the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Kano State, Haruna Isah Dederi, revealed flaws contained in the Appeal Court’s verdict sacking Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf, saying the judgement orally delivered by a Justice of the Appellate Court differed from what is contained in the Certified True Copy (CTC) of judgement given to them by the Appeal Court.
He said, according to the CTC of the Appeal Court judgement given to them, the Tribunal judgement sacking Governor Yusuf from office was set aside by the appellate court.
The chairman of the three-man panel, Moore Adumein, upheld the judgement of the tribunal, which declared the candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC), Nasiru Gawuna, as winner of the March 18 governorship election in the state.
But when the certified true copy of the judgement was released by the court on Tuesday, a number of contradictory declarations in the judgement were observed.
In the CTC, duly signed by the three justices, the appellate court went further to award N1,000,000 cost in favour of the NNPP and against the APC, contrary to its Friday pronouncement.
In one instance, the appellate court declared “I will conclude by stating that the live issues in this appeal are hereby resolved in favour of the 1st respondent (APC) and against the appellant (Governor Abba Yusuf)”, but went further to contradict itself in another sentence.
The court said: “In the circumstances, I resolve all the issues in favour of the appellant (NNPP) and against the 1st respondent (APC).”
“Therefore, I find no merit in this appeal, which is liable to be and is hereby dismissed.”
But in the final line of the judgement, the court set aside the judgement of the tribunal, which sacked the governor.
“The judgement of the tribunal In Petition No.: EPT/KN/GOV/01/2023 between: ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC) v. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION & 2 ORS. delivered on the 20th day of September, 2023 is hereby set aside,” the CTC of the judgement read.
Reacting to the confusion, Falana described the development as scandalous to the integrity of the judiciary.
The legal luminary also faulted the decision of the court to punish millions of voters for the mistake committed by INEC officials.
His words: “You will be surprised if I show you the judgement of Kano. That one was almost scandalous. To my utter dismay, the majority judgement upheld the appeal, set aside the judgement of the lower court, and awarded cost in favour of the governor that was removed by the lower tribunal, contrary to the impression that was given out there.
“The main judgement of the Court of Appeal has confirmed that the judgement of the lower court is wrong and has set it aside in writing and granted all the relief sought by Governor Abba.
“So many contradictions that the court can no longer explain”, Falana added.
The AG stated this Tuesday night while responding to questions from journalists on the Appeal Court judgement.
Recall that the Kano State Election Petitions Tribunal had on September 20, 2023 sacked Governor Yusuf of NNPP from office and instead declared the candidate of the APC, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, as the rightful winner of the March 18 governorship election in the State.
Dissatisfied with the Tribunal verdict, Governor Yusuf and NNPP approached the Appeal Court, which also affirmed the judgement of the lower court on November 17.
“Judgement was given in respect of all our four appeals, the one filed by his Excellency the Governor, the appeal filed by our party the NNPP, the appeal filed by INEC. All these three were because of their disagreement with the outcome of the verdict of the Tribunal made on the 20th of September.
“There was also a cross appeal by the All Progressives Congress (APC). All these appeals were heard and judgement in respect of each one of them was reserved.
“On the 17th of this month, Friday specifically, judgement was read. Now that everything has come to limelight, we have got copies of the judgement from the Court of Appeal.
“Unfortunately, in respect of the appeal of his Excellency, we have found out now that the judgement of the Court of Appeal really sets aside the judgement of the Tribunal.
“I think there is a snag here. While in the court we were told that the judgement of the Tribunal was affirmed, the Certified True Copy of the judgement in respect of the appeal of his Excellency the Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, against APC and two others has shown that the judgement of the Tribunal was set aside. That is specifically on page 67 of the judgement.
“We are yet to be aware of the judgement with regards to the other appeals. Our lawyers have already commenced action with respect to this to file an appeal with the Supreme Court in respect of the Appeal verdict,” he said.
He explained that with what is contained in the Certified True Copy of the judgement given to them by the Appeal Court, Governor Yusuf remains the legitimate governor of Kano State as the Appeal Court has set aside the judgement of the Election Petitions Tribunal, which ordered his removal earlier in September.
“The effect of this is that his Excellency Abba Kabir Yusuf, because of the judgement of the Tribunal was set aside still remains as the governor of the state. This means there is nothing that will interfere with his position, status and his chair as the legitimate governor of the state. That is the implication,” the Attorney-General stated.