May 20, 2024

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and Human Rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, says opposed to the popular belief that the Kano State governor, Abba Yussuf, was sacked, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja ‘actually’ upheld his election and granted all the reliefs sought by the governor.

Falana stated that having read the Certified True Copy, CTC, of the judgment, he was surprised to see that the majority judgment overturned the lower tribunal’s ruling and awarded cost in favour of the governor.

He made this known while appearing on Arise News Primetime show on Tuesday.

His words: ‘’You will be surprised if I show you the judgment. To my utter dismay, the majority judgment of the Court of Appeal in Kano upheld the appeal, set aside the judgment of the lower court, and awarded cost in favour of the governor that was removed by the lower tribunal. There are contradictions that the court can no longer explain but that is likely to be taken up by the Supreme Court.

‘’Contrary to the impression that has been given out there, the majority judgment of the Court of Appeal has confirmed that the judgment of the lower court was wrong and has set it aside in writing, upheld the appeal, and granted all the reliefs sought by Governor Abba. So, you ask yourself, What’s going on?’’

Speaking further, he stated that Nigeria is the only country in the world that records the highest number of election petitions and calls for a mechanism to be put in place to deal with electoral offenders, no matter how highly placed.

He said, ‘’We must go back to Justice Uwais Electoral Committee recommendations, which were adopted by the 2014 National Conference, adopted by the Lemu Committee, adopted by the Ken Nnamani Electoral Reform Committee so that we can begin to hold elections that will reflect the will of the people.

‘’We must not applaud the court when we are favored; we must have a common standard whereby the wishes of the people must be respected.  You cannot say you want to punish somebody for the errors of INEC electoral officials, as was the case in Kano. That is almost scandalous.

He also stated that INEC gets away with wrongdoings because it has been saddled with the responsibility to prosecute election offenders.

He said, “That was why the Uwais Committee recommended that we should have an Independent Electoral Offences Commission to deal with those who breach the provisions of electoral law. But it has been rejected over the years; instead, they are saying INEC shall prosecute electoral offenders.”

“But we must unbundle IENC to enable it to concentrate on conducting elections by having an electoral offences commission. Also, political party regulation.”

He added that politicians are taking advantage of the loopholes in the laws, not to serve the people.

Falana lamented that countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia, which have emerged from wars with the help of Nigeria, now conduct credible elections.

 

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