Thursday, February 1, 2024

A/Court Insists On Gov Yusuf’s Sack, Admits Errors In Certified Judgment

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The Court of Appeal has insisted that its judgment sacking Kano State Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf stands.

This is amidst the controversy trailing the contradictions in the certified true copy (CTC) of the judgment.

The CTC showed that in the lead judgment delivered by Justice Moore Aseimo Abraham Adumein, the judge held in one of the concluding paragraphs on Page 68 that “I will conclude by stating that the live issues in this appeal are hereby resolved in favour of the 1st respondent and against the appellant.”

The appellant in the appeal is Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf; while the 1st respondent is the All Progressives Congress (APC) with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the NNPP as 2nd and 3rd respondents.

The judge went further to hold that “In the circumstances, I resolve all the issues in favour of the appellant and against the 1st respondent… The sum of N1,000,000.00 (one million naira only) is hereby awarded as costs in favour of the appellant and against the 1st respondent.”

The Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Umar Mohammed Bangari, in a statement last night, admitted that the contradictory parts of the judgement were clerical errors.

He, however,  noted that a clerical error does not in any way invalidate or change the findings and conclusion of the court.

He declared that what happened in the certified judgment was nothing but clerical errors.

He said the errors would be rectified once parties in the matter filed formal application to that effect.

He noted that Order 23 Rule 4 of the Court of Appeal Hand Book, which empowers the court to correct any clerical error once detected by the court or any of the parties in the matter, supports the position of the court.

He emphasized that contrary to insinuations, the judgment of the court remained valid.

“What happened in the part of the judgment is just a mere clerical error that ought not to draw any issue. The Court is empowered to correct such clerical error and would be done as appropriate,” he said.

Gov Yusuf declines request to retrieve certified verdict

A member of the legal team of Governor Yusuf told Daily Trust that they received a request from the Appeal Court to return the CTC of the judgment earlier given to them but that this request was ignored.

NNPP supporters protest in Kano

Supporters of the NNPP staged a protest in Kano yesterday against the contradiction and the judgment of the court sacking the governor, but were later dispersed with teargas by the police.

The protesters, who held a special prayer session at Filin Mahaha around 2pm, took to the street in a procession, demanding justice.

The police had earlier announced that processions or any form of protests that could instigate violent reactions would not be allowed in the state, with leaders of APC and NNPP signing a peace deal to impress this on their supporters.

Gov’s lawyers, A/Court refuse service of processes

Both Governor Yusuf’s lawyers and the Court of Appeal yesterday refused service of processes on each other.

The NNPP had sought to serve the notice of appeal on the Court of Appeal, but the process was rejected, forcing the lawyers, led by John Olusola Baiyeshea (SAN), to proceed to the Kano Division where it was accepted and revenue collector’s receipt no: 1316433 was issued for the appeal number: CA/KN/EP/GOV/KAN/34/2023.

The Court of Appeal was also reported to have sent letters to the chambers of Governor Yusuf’s lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN) to return the CTC for correction, but the letter was said to have been rejected.
NNPP approaches S/Court, wants certified judgement investigated

The NNPP yesterday filed a notice of 10 grounds of appeal at the Supreme Court, seeking three reliefs, the party summarily asked the Supreme Court to uphold only the aspect of the judgment in favour of the governor and overturn parts that are not.

The party prayed the Supreme Court to make an order allowing the appeal and setting aside the judgement of the Court of Appeal delivered on November 17.

It also prayed for an order upholding the portion of the judgement of the Court of Appeal setting aside the judgement of the trial Tribunal in petition No: EPT/RV/GOV/11/2023 and making an order as to costs in favour of the appellant.

The National Working Committee of the NNPP yesterday called on the National Judicial Council to investigate the contradiction in the certified judgment.

Its National Secretary, Dipo Olayoku, at a press conference in Abuja, said the CTC showed that “the judgement delivered by Justice Moore Aseimo Abraham Adumein and concurred to by Justice Bitrus Gyarazama and Justice Lateef Adebayo Ganiyu is actually in favour of Yusuf.”

He said institutions of democracy must be protected and strengthened for democracy itself to advance.

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

Also, we’re 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,” Olayoku said.

Also speaking, Abdulmumini Jibrin, who spoke on behalf of the NNPP National Assembly caucus, said the party was not fighting with President Bola Tinubu or anybody, and was ready for alliance or even merger with the APC.

“We’ve tried our best and whoever invites us, we’ll go and have discussions with them and see their terms and conditions. The most important thing is, it has to be in the interest of Nigerians. We’re not making trouble with anyone; we are at peace with the president. Everybody knows my relationship with the president. We don’t make any trouble; we don’t fight with anybody. All we ask for is for justice to be served to the good people of Kano State.

Judgment read in court more important – APC

Addressing newsmen in Abuja yesterday, APC National Legal Adviser, Prof. Abdulkareem Abubakar Kana, said the Appeal Court’s judgement which affirmed Nasir Gawuna’s victory was more important than the CTC.

“The most important is the judgement that was read. But, as far as my office is concerned, we have not received the official copy of the Certified True Copy of the judgement yet. But we will write and get a copy. If the copy that will be conveyed to us still contains this error, we’ll take steps eventually,” he said.

He said the contradiction in the CTC was clearly an error.

“Those of us who are lawyers know that typographic errors often occur in Certified True Copy of court judgement and ordinarily, 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 a 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 judgement that was read in open court.”

Contradiction in CTC embarrassing–Yadudu, Falana, others

A renowned constitutional lawyer, Professor Auwalu Yadudu, said the contradiction in the certified judgment “is embarrassing for the justices, the tribunal, the appeal court and the judiciary; but it is too early to say what actions ought to be taken against the justices as a thorough investigation is expected to be launched.”

On the move to retrieve the CTC, he said: “I find it interesting if they find any place within the ambit of the law to recall and correct the CTC of the judgment. Maybe at the Supreme Court, the justices of the apex court may, during interaction between the counsels, seek clarification,” he said.

He said reading through the judgment, one is left with no other conclusion than that the appeal lacked merit and was thus dismissed based on the reason of the lead judge which was clearly spelt out in the analysis of the case of both the appellant (Gov Yusuf) and the first respondent (APC).

He, however said it was “very strange and baffling how they came on the one hand to say they are resolving the issue in favour of the 1st respondent and then went on to set aside the judgment of the tribunal and further awarded cost against APC in favour of the appellant (Gov Yusuf).”

He said while there could be clerical errors, the manner in which the said errors rendered the judgment contradictory was strange and thus presents the Supreme Court with an interesting situation.

Obviously, the Supreme Court may need to know what the decision of the Appeal Court was in the case for them to decide on the appeal,” he added.

Also reacting, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), described the contradictory judgment of the appellate court as scandalous to the integrity of the judiciary.

“The main judgment of the Court of Appeal has confirmed that the judgment 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 said.
On his part, Reuben Atabo (SAN) said the parties involved in the matter have to go to the Supreme Court to seek interpretation, adding that the corrections could no longer be entertained by the Court of Appeal as it has become sui generis, that is must be determined within a time frame.

Similarly, Prof. Sam Amadi said the contradiction could be a serious issue for contention at the Supreme Court.

“The issue goes to the incompetence and tardiness at the Court of Appeal; it raises concerns as to what the court set out to do was not what it eventually did,” he said.

Also commenting, UK-based lawyer, Bulama Bukarti, said: “The Court of Appeal has no right to alter any correction on the Kano Governorship judgement it delivered because they have stamped and signed the document and their deadline has elapsed.”

However, another legal practitioner, Abba Hikima, stated, “At the risk of dashing peoples’ hope, I’d like to point out that the seeming confusion in the certified true copy of this judgment of the Court of Appeal is no more than a slip.

“Court judgments are not immune from slips, errors and mistakes. That’s why in law, we have the “Slip Rule” which allow courts to correct slip and genuine mistakes.

“Without factual basis indicating otherwise, this in my view could pass as a slip since every other part of the judgment is clear that AKY’s (Governor Yusuf) Appeal has failed. Documents are not read in isolation. We cannot pick and choose.

“AKY’s camp should rather invest their energy in the substance of the appeal than bother needlessly about slips which could be cured and corrected suo mot by the Supreme Court.”



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