6th December 2023
- By Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Less than 24 hours for the Supreme Court to pronounce its judgment over governorship legal battle between the candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Abba Yusuf and the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Nasir Gawuna in Kano State, 17 Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and 49 other senior lawyers across the country have said that they stood by the earlier judgment of the Appeal Court.
The appellate court had upheld the verdict of the tribunal that declared the APC candidate, Gawuna winner of the March 18 election.
However, governor Yusuf approached the Supreme Court for justice. The Apex court is expected to deliver its judgment on Thursday being November 7, 2023.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Kaduna on behalf of the 66 legal practitioners, Muhammad Sani Katu, SAN, said the group is in agreement with what was being pronounced in the Appeal court, adding that the verdict by appellate take precedence as against any other document that is being paraded after the delivery of the judgement.
“This issue of Kano judgement that was delivered by the Court of Appeal has generated so many comments.Of recent we came across comments by lawyers that said there are 200 of them who resolved to ensure that NNPP candidate wins at the Supreme Court.
“Since the delivery of the judgement, we have a legal group on WhatsApp called Legal Like Minds, where we discuss legal issues and what has been trending in our discussions is this Kano judgement.It appears virtually everybody in that group is in agreement with the conventional principle of law that what is being pronounced in the court will take precedence as against any other document that is being paraded after the delivery of the judgement.
“We have a Lawyer group with 17 SANs. And about 49 other senior lawyers. I’m trying to limit the number so that it won’t look like a noise making kind of group. We are real intellectuals where we discuss legal issues and we proffer solutions. So all this 17 SANs in the group together with the other 49 groups are in support of the judgement as it is being delivered. In fact one other person who was not with us have come back to the fold after carefully studying every thing.
“We are talking about 17 SANs and 49 senior lawyers across the nation and in fact the leader of the team is from the South East. He is a very prominent senior Advocate of Nigeria who is highly interested in the matter.
“So we now resolved after discovering that virtually everybody in that group is in agreement with the fact that what is being delivered in court should be seen as the position of the law against any other documents released.
“It is as a result of this that we now resolved that we should constitute ourselves by way with a sub-committee of 13 Senior Advocates of Nigeria to lead other lawyers to ensure that when the matter gets to Supreme Court, we go in and canvass this position of ours that we are with the decision, judgment that was delivered in an open Court of Appeal, affirming the decision of the lower Tribunal, implying that Gawuna, the Gubernatorial candidate of APC is the person who should be declared as winner of the Kano state election that was conducted. This is our position.
“Our position is not just about the case itself. We are trained to know the law, practice it and ensure we protect the law. It means it is our duty to protect the system. It is not all about PDP or a APC, but what is most important as lawyers trained to protect the system, what are we doing to protect the law when there is this kind of controversy.
“For sure we will not make a comment now because the case is still in court. But we have taken a stand and position which we intend to canvass. So the issue of intimidation …is not all about numbers, it is about canvassing reasonable argument or what you think a 3rd reasonable party will agree with. Even logic should be seen to be within the ambit of the law. This is very clear.
So for numbers, it is not just about numbers but the intellectual presentation of the issue.
“There is nothing that is as easy as the law. All you have to do is go through the law and apply it and if you apply it wrongly, every reasonable third party will know that you applied it wrongly. If you apply it rightly, it is there as against Chemistry where you have to do a different experiment. So the issue of wrong protection of the law does not even arise in this circumstance.
“Like I said earlier when we have the chance to address the press, we don’t discuss the issues that are in court. But for the purpose of peace, the whole idea is that let us see the law the way it is, not the way it ought to be.
“Part of the law is the pronouncement of the court. If the court makes pronouncement, that is the law. See it that way and don’t bring in any sentiment. The moment you accept the outcome the way it is, there is going to be peace. But the moment an outsider sees the law in a different way rather than how it should be, then there is going to be controversy. That exactly is what is happening in Kano, where some people feel the law should be the way they want it to be as against the way it is being pronounced. That is what led to this chaos. We have taken a stand. We have mapped out a strategy. And this strategy , I can assure you is within the ambit of the law. We won’t consider any other thing, except the way it is,” Katu said.