Home Nigeria Tension in Kano over guber verdict as Akeredolu-Aiyedatiwa crisis rocks Ondo

Tension in Kano over guber verdict as Akeredolu-Aiyedatiwa crisis rocks Ondo

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Guardian.ng

The police command in Kano, yesterday, foiled an attempt by some youths to perpetrate violence at the city centre.

The youths were reportedly protesting the November 17 Court of Appeal judgment that ordered the removal of Abba Kabiru Yusuf as governor of the state.

In their hundreds, the protesters had begun a procession from the Kofar Dan Agundi area, along BUK, and advanced towards the Gidan Murtala area before they were dispersed by heavily armed security men.

Before the dispersal, the police had barricaded the popular Mahaha field, where the group had planned to hold prayers, to seek divine intervention concerning the court verdict against Yusuf.

An eyewitness said the police used teargas canisters to dislodge the angry youths who set up several bonfires on the major road.

The police command, at the weekend, had said it uncovered a plan by some political actors in the state to shut down business activities. Although it did not reveal the identity of the alleged culprits, it vowed to crush any attempt at fomenting trouble.

Efforts to get the reaction of the police were not successful as spokesman of the command, Abdullahai Haruna Kiyawa, did not respond to calls and text messages.

Also, moves to get reactions from the leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC) and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) on the development also failed.

Meanwhile, APC secretary (Kano chapter), Zakari Sarina, and Assistant Publicity Secretary of NNPP (Kano), Wada Dao, at the weekend, signed a peace accord on behalf of their party members, promising to remain calm and maintain law and order.

Responding to controversies that trailed the Court of Appeal verdict, the Chief Registrar, Umar Mohammed Bangari, said what transpired was a clerical error that did not, in any way, invalidate or change the findings and conclusion of the court.

Bangari assured that the error would be rectified once parties in the matter file formal application to that effect.

He drew the attention of reporters to Order 23 Rule 4 of the Court of Appeal Handbook, which empowers the court to correct any clerical error, once detected by the court or any of the parties in the matter.

He maintained that contrary to insinuations, the judgment of the court remains valid.

He said: “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 it would be done as appropriate.”

Meanwhile, APC threw its weight behind the decision of the Court of Appeal, which annulled the election of Yusuf.

National Legal Adviser, Abdulkareem Abubakar Kana, at a press conference in Abuja, insisted that the court was unambiguous in its dismissal of the appeal filed by Yusuf and declaration of APC’s Nasiru Gawuna as duly elected governor.

Kana was reacting to a claim by Kano State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Haruna Isa-Dederi, that the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the Court of Appeal judgment actually affirmed the victory of Yusuf at the poll.

Isa-Dederi reportedly said: “The evidence contained on page 67 of the copy of the Appeal Court judgment released on Tuesday and signed by the Registrar, Jameel Ibrahim Umar, (showed that the) appellate court upheld the victory of Abba Kabiru Yusuf of the NNPP as duly elected governor of Kano.”

Kana noted that such an impression must have been created by a typographical error.

He admitted, however, that the party was yet to lay hold on the CTC to ascertain the veracity of Isa-Dederi’s claim.

He said: “Those of us who are lawyers know that typographic errors often occur in CTCs of court judgments. Ordinarily, there wouldn’t have been confusion, if it was probably not a political matter, because it will not be the first time such typographic mistakes will be seen in judgments.

“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 the judgment that was read in open court.

“In the merits and other facts of judgment of the tribunal, which was delivered on September 28, the appeal was upheld. And then, if you read through the entirety of the judgment from the lead justice, my Lord analysed the submissions of different cited cases and arrived at appropriate findings.

“It gives you an idea what the conclusion should be. But that’s not all, if you read the concurring judgments by two justices…because there are three judges who sat over the appeal…the two justices had explained and clarified their positions.”

But the National Working Committee (NWC) of NNPP called on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to commence an investigation into the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which sacked Yusuf.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, NNPP National Secretary, Dipo Olayoku, said: “It is clear to us that the only conclusion that can be drawn from this judicial debacle is that the average reasonable person can conclude that the Court of Appeal changed the judgment after it had concluded deliberations on the matter, and then mistakenly left the original conclusion during the cutting and pasting process.”

He said: “We are an interested party. We own the platform on which Yusuf ran for the election and was declared winner. We are calling on the NJC to, without delay, commence investigation to unravel what happened in the matter.

“Also, we are calling on eminent members of the Bench (both retired and serving), and the Bar, to be interested in what happened. We call on leaders, elders and other major stakeholders in the Nigerian project, including the media, to step into this matter to avert the danger this type of signal from the judiciary portends for our democracy and our country.”

Governor Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa. Photo: Channels Television

While developments in Kano simmer, National Leader of pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Reuben Fasoranti, and some elders in Ondo State, yesterday, appealed to President Bola Tinubu and the National Chairman of APC, Abdullahi Ganduje, to intervene in the political crisis rocking the state.

The elder statesmen, under the aegis of Ondo State Elders and Leaders, disclosed that continued face-off between Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has continued to affect governance in the state, particularly with the absence of the governor.

In a communiqué signed by Fasoranti and the group’s secretary, Bakitta Bello, following an emergency meeting in Akure, they expressed concern that, with no clear directives on the affairs of Ondo, preparation of the 2024 state budget might suffer setbacks.

The communiqué reads in parts: “In the course of deliberations, the Ondo State Elders and Leaders observed and took note of the prolonged absence of the governor, who is also incommunicado due to his health challenges.

“Misinformations on the governor and lack of communication between the governor and his deputy have resulted in inability of the deputy governor to perform constitutional duties on behalf of the governor for the good governance of the state.”

It warned that failure by the ruling party and the executive arm of government to nip the matter in the bud could result in escalation of the crisis.

Relatedly, the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, yesterday, upheld the earlier ruling of a tribunal by declaring Bassey Otu as authentic winner of the March 16 governorship election.

The court dismissed the appeal by Sandy Onor and Peoples Democratic Party against Otu as lacking merit.

The governorship tribunal had dismissed the petition by Onor and PDP, ruling the matter in contention was a pre-election issue.

Sources close to Onor revealed he would head to the Supreme Court to challenge yesterday’s verdict.

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