Monday, December 4, 2023

North Central Citizens Raise Serious Concerns over A'Court Judgments In Kano, Plateau, Zamfara Guber Cases

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North Central Citizens Raise Serious Concerns over A'Court Judgments In Kano, Plateau, Zamfara Guber Cases

The North Central Citizens Council (NCCC), alongside other concerned individuals and groups, has raised serious concerns regarding the inconsistencies and contradictions in judicial decisions, particularly since the March 2023 governorship elections in most Northern Nigerian states. 

These decisions, they said in a statement signed by the Coordinator of the NCCC, Comrade Mohammed Eneji, have created general confusion and uncertainty across the North, exacerbating the disquiet caused by political opportunism and corruption. 

They noted that the “deliberate miscarriages of justice occasioned by the selective application of the law between the North and the rest of the country represent a much wider conspiracy to bring the North down on its knees by incapacitation and balkanization.

“The uncertainties and compromises in the judiciary pose a significant threat as part of a wider plot to destabilize the region, as evidenced by the inconsistent and contradictory decisions taken by the Appeal Court in states such as Kano, Plateau, and Zamfara.

“In the case of Kano State for instance, the Appeal Court's decision in the case of Abba v APC has raised concerns regarding the jurisdiction of the court in pre-election matters. 

“The principle that pre-election matters, including issues of nomination and sponsorship, fall under the exclusive purview of the Pre-Election matters is well-established in our electoral jurisprudence. 

“This principle has been reiterated in numerous judicial authorities, with the Supreme Court reaffirming it in the case of Peter Obi v INEC”, they said. 

The North Central citizens noted that the Supreme Court emphasized that “the issue of nomination is a pre-election matter and that only the Federal High Court has the jurisdiction to adjudicate over it. 

“Even the tribunal that initially decided the case in question correctly acknowledged that the issue of nomination is a pre-election matter. Although the tribunal found that Abba Kabir Yusuf was not a member of the NNPP at the time of the primary election, it admitted its lack of jurisdiction to make a pronouncement on the issue. 

“However, the Court of Appeal's decision in this case deviates from the established principles. This decision is erroneous and requires correction by the Supreme Court, which is considered the last hope of the common man. 

“The Court of Appeal's decision undermines the purpose of categorizing election matters into pre and post-election matters. One of the fundamental principles of law is certainty, and this decision creates confusion on an unprecedented scale in our electoral litigation. 

“Allowing this decision to stand will open a Pandora's box in our electoral jurisprudence, ultimately proving counterproductive to the system. 

“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”, the group stated. 

Comrade Mohammed Eneji added that “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. 

“Furthermore, the controversies surrounding the discrepancies between the judgement read out by the court and the content of the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the Judgment in the Kano governorship election raised 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.

“The Appeal Court’s decision to uphold the nullification of 166,000 votes from the NNPP’s tally in the Kano governorship election raised questions about the consistency and fairness of their judgments, adding that in this case, the court cited irregularities and non-compliance with electoral laws as the basis for nullifying the votes. 

“However 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 has contradicted its own ruling in the case of Governor Adeleke of Osun state, 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. 

“The controversial inconsistencies and contradictions observed in the Appeal Court's decisions in these governorship election cases have far-reaching implications for Nigeria's democratic system. 

“Firstly, they undermine the principle of equal treatment under the law, as similar cases are decided differently, leading to a lack of predictability and fairness. 

“Secondly, these inconsistencies erode public trust in the judiciary, as citizens question the impartiality and integrity of the court. 

“Thirdly, they create a breeding ground for political instability and social unrest, as aggrieved parties may resort to non-legal means to seek justice. 

“Lastly, the targeting of states such as Kano, Plateau, and Zamfara, where political volatility is more accentuated and troublesome, suggests a deliberate attempt to cause widespread regional crisis. 

This strategy could potentially lead to general unrest, which in turn could portend greater national conflict. 

“Moreover, these decisions aim to diminish the viability of the North and render it incapable of standing on its own two feet and competing favorably with other parts of the country. 

“The emerging trends in Nigeria's judiciary are pregnant with complications and unforeseen consequences. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu must act swiftly to prevent the drift towards anarchy and bloodshed. 

“The Kano governorship election case, in particular, has attracted significant attention due to the contentious nature of the decisions made by the Appeal Court. 

“This erosion of public trust can have severe consequences, including social unrest, political instability, and a breakdown of law and order. As the leader of Nigeria, Tinubu has a responsibility to address these emerging trends promptly. 

“In this critical juncture, the Supreme Court, as the apex temple of justice in Nigeria, must play a pivotal role in restoring public confidence in the judiciary. It is imperative that the Supreme Court critically reviews the controversial decisions made by the Appeal Court in the Kano governorship election case and other states in the North”, the North Central citizens said. 

They explained that “By doing so, the Supreme Court can demonstrate its commitment to upholding justice and the rule of law, thereby restoring faith in the judiciary.

“The Supreme Court, must critically review controversial decisions to save the dwindling integrity of the judiciary. Failure to address these issues promptly could have far-reaching implications for Nigeria's stability and reputation. 

“Failure to act swiftly could result in dire consequences for the nation, including anarchy and bloodshed. It is imperative that the President recognizes the urgency of the situation and takes decisive action to prevent further deterioration of the judiciary's integrity.

“Furthermore, it is crucial to alert the federal government and the international community to the potential consequences of inaction. The responsibility for any momentous and terrible events that may occur as a result of the judiciary's compromised integrity would ultimately lie with those who failed to act when the warning signs were evident”, the NCCC said.

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