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Abba Kabir Yusuf Vs APC Governorship Petition
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Abba Kabir Yusuf Vs APC: Coalition of SouthWest Groups Demand Justice, Tasks Supreme Court

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A Coalition of SouthWest Groups, under its umbrella body, the Coalition Of The Yoruba Youth Network (YYN), comprising the South West Blossom Brigade (SBB), the Odua Youth Frontiers (OYF), the Yoruba Youth Empowerment Forum (YYEF), the Voice Of Yoruba Youths (VOYY), the Odua Progressive People Assembly (OPPA) and no fewer than fourteen other youth organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) have reacted to the Court of Appeal judgment on the Kano State governorship election petition between Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as it relates to the integrity of the Nigerian Justice System.

The Coalition urged the Supreme Court of Nigeria, as the highest judicial authority in the country, to exercise its responsibility to safeguard the integrity of the judiciary by thoroughly reviewing the case.

They noted that “by conducting a thorough review of these rulings, the Supreme Court can demonstrate its commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring justice for all.”

At a world press conference in Lagos, South West of Nigeria, the groups insisted that it will be detrimental to the principle of justice and democracy in the country.

Speaking on behalf of the Coalition of Southwest Groups, Comrade Razak Olukayode, argued that a similar situation in Osun State, as presented itself in the Kano State governorship election petition, did not lead to the nullification of the election of Senator Ademola Adeleke.

He said, “This coalition of Southwest groups is deeply concerned about recent controversial Appeal Court rulings on the Kano State Governorship election, which has raised serious questions about the integrity of Nigeria’s justice system.

“We wish to caution against compromising the nation’s judiciary and emphasize the importance of maintaining its independence, transparency, and integrity.

“In the case of the Kano Governorship election, the ruling of the Court of Appeal has raised doubts about the fairness of the nation’s judiciary and the legitimacy of the electoral process.

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“This ruling severely jeopardizes the expected role of the judiciary as the cornerstone of democracy and justice in any nation.

“We observe that the Court of Appeal decision in the Kano case of Abba vs APC has deviated from established principles of electoral jurisprudence regarding the issue of nomination and sponsorship, which falls under the exclusive purview of pre-election matters.

“Various judicial authorities, including the recent Peter Obi v INEC case, have emphasized that only the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate over nomination issues”, the Coalition said.

According to the groups, the “Tribunal in the Abba vs APC case correctly stated that nomination is a pre-election matter but could not make a pronouncement on the issue due to lack of jurisdiction. Coalition of SouthWest Groups to Supreme Court

“We highlight the injustice of upholding the Tribunal’s decision to nullify 166,000 votes from the tally of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and sacking the incumbent governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf.

“The Appeal Court’s decision to uphold the nullification of such a significant number of votes without proper justification undermines the democratic fabric of the nation and raises questions about the impartiality of the judiciary.

“The decision to nullify 166,000 votes from the NNPP’s tally in the Kano governorship election raises questions about the consistency and fairness of their judgments. In this case, the court cited irregularities and non-compliance with electoral laws as the basis for nullifying the votes”, the Coalition added

They further argued, however, that “it is essential to note that similar irregularities were present in the case of Governor Adeleke, where the Court of Appeal ruled against nullifying votes.

“By nullifying votes that were deemed to be irregular in Kano, the court fails to address the contradiction in its ruling in the case of Governor Adeleke, where similar irregularities were present but not nullified.

“This inconsistency in applying legal principles undermines the principle of equal treatment before the law and raises doubts about the court’s impartiality.

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“Furthermore, the controversies surrounding the discrepancies between the judgment read out by the court and the content of the Certified True Copy of the Judgment in the Kano governorship election raise serious doubts about the transparency and integrity of the judicial process.

“These discrepancies have led to confusion and speculation among the public, further eroding public trust in the judiciary.

“While it is necessary to ensure that political parties adhere to electoral guidelines, the decision to upturn the entire election in Kano raises questions about the legitimacy of the democratic process.

“Arguably, this ruling undermines the people’s right to choose their leaders and places excessive power in the hands of the judiciary. This controversy highlights the need for a balance between upholding the rule of law and respecting the democratic will of the people”, they further stated.

The contradictions in the Court of Appeal’s decisions, they said, “highlight the need for a comprehensive review of the electoral laws and the judicial process. It sets a dangerous precedent for future elections.

“Nullifying the Kano votes and allowing those of Osun without clear and consistent legal reasoning can lead to a loss of public trust in the judiciary and the electoral process.

“Moreover, it opens the door for potential abuse of power, as political actors may exploit these inconsistencies to manipulate election outcomes.

“The court’s role should be to provide clarity and consistency in interpreting and applying the law, rather than contributing to confusion and uncertainty.

“The controversies surrounding these rulings also raise questions about the accuracy and reliability of the court’s decision-making process, suggesting a lack of attention to detail and procedural irregularities. This further erodes public confidence in the judiciary.

“We emphasize the need for a review of these rulings to ensure that justice is served and the rule of law is upheld. By reevaluating the evidence and legal arguments presented, the Supreme Court can rectify any potential errors made by the Court of Appeal, thereby restoring public faith in the judiciary.

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“The review of the Court of Appeal rulings on the Kano governorship elections is not only necessary to rectify potential errors but also to reclaim the threatened integrity of the judiciary.

“The credibility and impartiality of the judiciary are fundamental to the functioning of a democratic society, as they ensure that citizens have confidence in the legal system.

“The Supreme Court, as the highest judicial authority in Nigeria, has the responsibility to safeguard the integrity of the judiciary. By conducting a thorough review of these rulings, the Supreme Court can demonstrate its commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring justice for all.

“By rectifying any potential errors and ensuring that justice is served, the Supreme Court can reaffirm its commitment to upholding the rule of law and maintaining the principles of justice and fairness within the Nigerian democratic system.
The judiciary should exercise caution and impartiality when making decisions that impact the democratic process.

“In conclusion, we urge President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to act as a true statesman and renowned democrat by upholding the principles of separation of powers, particularly the independence of the judiciary.

“By allowing the free, fair, and uninterrupted application of justice, President Tinubu will demonstrate his commitment to the rule of law and ensure the continued strength of Nigeria’s democratic institutions. It is crucial for him to avoid any interference with the course of justice, keeping in mind that he himself has benefited from fair judicial adjudication.

“Interference with the course of justice poses a significant threat to the principles of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary. Such interference can lead to a compromised justice system, eroding public trust and undermining the rule of law.

“President Tinubu must be cautious not to allow his name to be smeared in the dirty game of interference, as it would not only tarnish his reputation but also weaken the democratic fabric of the nation”, the Yoruba groups argued.