As protest rocks Kano over Appeal Court verdict: APC, NNPP differ on way out of CTC error

 

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Wednesday said it was yet to receive the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the Appeal Court judgement on the Kano state governorship election.

APC National Legal Adviser Prof. Abdulkareem Abubakar Kana told newsmen at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja following the confusion surrounding the CTC of the judgment.

This is coming as protest rocked the commercial city of Kano by some suspected hoodlums protesting the appeal court’s verdict sacking Governor Kabir Abba Yusuf.  

The appeal court had upheld the ruling of the tribunal which nullified Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf’s election on account of not being a member of the party before the election and also for over-voting, and declared APC’s Nasiru Gawuna as winner.

However, the CTC of the judgment reflected the victory of Yusuf, the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP)’s candidate, was affirmed by the appeal court.

Addressing journalists on the matter, the APC legal adviser said the party was yet to receive the CTC of the judgement. 

Kana stressed that the pronouncement of the court during judgement delivery cannot differ from what is contained in the CTC, stressing that if that happens, it could have been a typographical error.

Dismissing the error, the party’s legal adviser said the needless confusion had been orchestrated primarily because the case is a political matter.

“Those of us who are lawyers know that typographic errors often occur in certified true copy of court judgement. Ordinarily, it wouldn’t have been a confusion if it was probably not a political matter, because it will not be the first time such typographic mistakes will be seen in judgement, and being lawyers, we have been used to a situation like this, all that is done is to merely correct that mistake. The most important thing is a judgment that was read in open court.

“The merits and other facts of the judgement of the tribunal which was delivered on September 28, the appeal was upheld. And then if you read through the entirety of the judgement from lead justice, my Lord analysed the submissions of different cited cases and the case, and arrived at appropriate findings. It gives you an idea of what should be the conclusion. But that’s not all,” Kana explained.

He added: “If you read the concurring judgements by two justices, because there are three judges who sat over the appeal. The two justices had explained and clarified their positions. If you’re reading the findings of my Lord Honourable Justice, the judgement of my Lord Justice Bitrus Sanga, stated that he has read the judgement of my Lord Justice Aseimo and agreed with him completely.

“And, therefore, dismissing the appeal for lacking merit, that explains what he has read because he said he read the draft copy of the documents and he agrees with my lord, dismissing the appeal for lack of merit, my lord honourable justice. 

 “My Lord Justice Lateef Ganiyu also read and he also delivered his judgement dismissing the appeal. In other words, there were two concurring judgements out of three, which are even clearer, very clear, making it obvious that the last three lines and the concluding part of the judgement of my Lord the presiding judge whereby an assertion was made on the CTC not as read in open court finding merit in the appeal, and awarding one million costs on the respondents, the first respondents instead of the appellant was clearly and an error.

“In a situation like this for us lawyers, what we do is to do a community reading of the entire judgement to see what exactly is the finding of the court. For anyone who reads judgement from page one, all the way to page 72 of the judgements, you will agree most certainly that assertion will not hold water instead of upholding the judgement of lower court, it sets it aside.”

 Next step

Asked what the party intends to do to address the situation, the legal adviser said the party will wait to receive their copy from the court before taking necessary action. 

“As far as my office is concerned, we have not received an official copy of the Certified True Copy of the judgement. But we will write and get a copy. If the copy that will be conveyed to us still contains this error, we will take steps eventually. Until the CTC contains that error, which is being bantered around, we will now know what to do next.

 “I don’t think the explanation needs to come from us. But for us, we can only render our perspective as a party to the entire uproar that is going on. But as to the explanation as to where the error happened in the cause of typing the judgement, it is for the court to explain and I’m sure the court will have done that by now by taking necessary measures to issue a fresh CTC concerning an appropriate judgement of the court. 

 “So, for me, I don’t think there is any confusion as it were, except for those who would prefer that and who will continue to see it as confusing,” Kana added.

Judgement doctored, NNPP insists

But the NNPP is calling on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to immediately commence investigation to unravel what happened in the judgement.

Briefing newsmen Wednesday in Abuja, NNPP National Secretary Dipo Olayoku said the judges of the Court of Appeal decided the matter in favour of his party as contained in the CTC of the judgement.

 Dipo alleged the judgement was changed “after they had concluded deliberations on the matter, and then mistakenly left the original conclusion during the cutting and pasting process!” 

The party also called “on eminent members of the bench (both retired and serving) and the bar, to be interested in what happened that we have the kind of scenario presented in the CTC of the judgement of the Appeal Court.” 

It also called on “leaders, elders and other major stakeholders in the Nigerian project, including the media, to step into this matter to avert the danger this type of signal from the judiciary portends for our democracy in particular, and our country in general.

 “We are an interested party. We own the platform on which Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf ran for the election and was declared the winner. 

“We are calling on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to without delay commence investigation to unravel what happened in the matter. 

“Also, we are calling on eminent members of the bench (both retired and serving) and the bar, to be interested in what happened that we have the kind of scenario presented in the CTC of the judgement of the Appeal Court. 

“In addition, we call on leaders, elders and other major stakeholders in the Nigerian project, including the media, to step into this matter to avert the danger this type of signal from the judiciary portends for our democracy in particular, and our country in general. 

“From the scenario presented by the judgement above, it is crystal clear that something is wrong somewhere and the onus is on all of us as Nigerians to unearth the riddle. Ladies  and gentlemen of the press, for emphasis, this is not just a mistake that can merely be “corrected” by the Court of Appeal as it doesn’t fall within the ambit of the ‘Slip Rule’ where a court can recall the document and correct an error. 

 “Such errors must be so obvious that their correction cannot generate any controversy, regarding the judgment or decision of the court. By the same token, such errors must be of such nature that their correction would not change the substance of the judgment or alter the clear intention of the court. 

“It is clear to us that the only conclusion that can be drawn from this judicial debacle is that the average reasonable person can only conclude that the Court of Appeal changed the judgement after they had concluded deliberations on the matter, and then mistakenly left the original conclusion during the cutting and pasting process! 

“Whilst our legal team proceeds to lodge our appeal with the Supreme Court, we once again call for a thorough investigation of this debacle by the National Judicial Council and if need be for the appointment by the NJC, of an Independent Investigator to carry out the task.”

Protest

Meanwhile, as the two parties bickered over the legitimacy of the court verdict, Channels TV reported that the  state came under a wave of protests Wednesday, with  policemen dispersing protesters in the Dan Agundi area of the state on Wednesday.

The protesters were said to have attended a special prayer organised by residents of Kofar Nasarawa in Kano metropolis before starting the protest.

From pictures circulating online, one of the protesters was seen holding a “Justice for Kano” banner.

It was gathered that the protesters, who had set up bonfires along the road, were later dispersed by armed policemen deployed in the area.

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Abdullahi Haruna, said he was not in town.

But a source at the police headquarters confirmed that the police had succeeded in dispersing some of the protesters. (Additional reports by Premium Times)