Amid the controversy surrounding the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja over Kano State governorship election, Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Umar Bangari on Wednesday admitted “clerical error” in the judgment.
The controversy arises following the release of the certified true copy of the appellate court’s judgment which shows that the victory of Governor Abba Yusuf, of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) was affirmed by the appeal court as against what was read by Justice Adumein, prompting protests.
The lower court had declared 165,663 votes of Governor Abba Yusuf, who contested under the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), invalid on the grounds that they were not signed or stamped by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The governor’s votes were then reduced to 853,939 while those of Nasir Ganuwa, his APC rival, remained at 890,705.
The appellate court also maintained that the evidence that was adduced by the parties established that Yusuf was not a member of the NNPP at the time the election was held.
According to the court, Yusuf, under section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, was not qualified to contest the governorship election since he was not validly sponsored by the NNPP.
“A person must be a member of a political party before he can be sponsored for an election. Sponsorship without membership is like putting something on nothing,” the court held in its lead judgment read by Justice Adumein.
But in a statement, Bangari said that what happened in the judgment body was a typo error that did not in any way invalidate the court’s decision.
The chief registrar assured Nigerians that the error would be rectified once parties in the matter file formal application to that effect.
He cited Order 23 Rule 4 of the Court of Appeal HandBook which empowered the court to correct any clerical error once detected by the court or any of the parties in the matter.
But the national leadership of the NNPP has since called on the National Judicial Commission (NJC) to investigate the controversy, alleging that the Court of Appeal changed the judgment after concluding deliberations.
Meanwhile, a lawyer and former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Chidi Odinkalu, has revealed that one of the justices on the appellate court’s panel which sat on the case is the nephew of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
Three judges of the Court of Appeal sat on the Kano governorship case. They are Justice Moore Adumein, Justice Bitrus Sanga and Justice Lateef Ganiyu.
Odinkalu, on Wednesday, shared a link in a post on X, indicating that Ganiyu is Ariwoola’s nephew.
“Interesting that 1 of the judges on the Kano Governorship Court of Appeal Panel judgment scandal is a nephew of the current CJN from Iseyin who was only appointed to @CourtOfAppealNG earlier this year & sworn in on 20 Sept,” he wrote, asking the public to also verify.
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