By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday, sacked Governor Abba Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), while declaring the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nasiru Gawuna, winner of the election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared that the NNPP polled 1,019,602 votes to defeat the APC with its candidate, Mr Gawuna, who scored 890,705 votes. The NNPP candidate thus won with a margin of 128,897 votes.
The APC had filed a petition challenging the election of Mr Yusuf. The three-member panel of judges led by Oluyemi Asadebay delivered the judgement on Wednesday virtually. The court invalidated over 165,663 votes printed in favour of NNPP.
The court deducted the invalid votes stating that the ballot papers (165,663) were not stamped or signed and were therefore, invalid.
But perusing the judgement, some legal experts have picked professional and indicting errors in the judgement prepared by the panel.
Professor of Law, University of Ibadan, Professor S. O. Adegoke highlighted that the panel clearly showed sentiment and emotion in support of the APC in the language used in the judgement.
According to him, quoting the judgment, “I use this opportunity to condemn the gang of Red Cap wearers who like a violent and terrorist cult chased us out of Kano and put us in the fear of our lives. We believe that only Allah is the giver of power. Those who believe in Allah must bow to his will and submit to the authority of Governmental power. Resort to anarchy, violence and killing can never be a source of lawful power. Threatening to put Honourable Judges in the danger of their life as done in Kano by some disgruntled bandits parading as politicians is hereby condemned.
“Every Judge worth his salt will always abandon and ignore any form of threat to stand by justice and pronounce justice. This Tribunal in the lead judgment have pronounced justice and we stand by justice. I concur with the lead judgment and commend my lord the Chairman for delivering this judgment under the threatened fire and brimstone by bitter losers. There is always another day for politics. I am in no doubt that the security agencies know and are aware of those who removed their eyes from their case and put it on the judiciary. They are also aware of those who extended the threat further by declaring that they will kill the judges. This threat must not be swept under the carpet.
“Instead of some Kano politicians to be allowed to use banditry and violence to abort democracy in Kano State, justice will be used to stop them from destroying democracy in Kano and upward, we do not want anarchy and terrorism as being promoted in Kano State and as threatened by them”.
“One could be forgiven to think the judgement was prepared by card carrying members of the APC, the language used clearly showed malice against the NNPP and it is by far the most unprofessional judgement I have seen in my 38 years in this profession,” Professor Adegoke stated.
Echoing Adegoke’s submission, the Acting Head of Department, Law, University of Maiduguri, Professor Tijjani Buba also added that mentioning Nasiru Gawuna as a petitioner in the judgement when he is not, is clearly a case of gross unprofessionalism and hostility.
Also quoting the judgment on page 222, “It is hereby determined that the Petitioner, NASIRU YUSUF GAWUNA having scored a majority of lawful votes and having met the constitutional requirement, is hereby declared the winner of the election and returned elected as the Governor of Kano State”, stated that, it’s a disgrace to the law profession.
“I think the people who wrote that tribunal judgement have a motive to disgrace the law profession and cause grace disrepute. It is the only explanation for this shameful narration as a judgement. I urge the National Judicial Council to investigate this issue as a matter of urgency”, The university don concluded.