No fewer than 500 private legal practitioners were said to have volunteered to defend the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Kano state, Nasir Gawuna, at the Supreme Court.
The lawyers, under the aegis of the Guardians of Democracy and Rule of Law (GDRL) said the move is to save Nigeria’s democracy from vote riggers and serial election fraudsters.
Addressing a press conference Tuesday in Abuja, spokesperson of the volunteer lawyers, Barr. Joseph E. Onwudiwe, expressed confidence that having secured victories at the governorship election petition tribunal and Appeal Court, Gawuna of the APC will again emerge winner at the Supreme Court.
Barr. Onwudiwe said: “Nigerians have observed keenly the situation unfolding in Kano state regarding the March 18 Governorship election. As a group saddled with the onerous responsibility of safeguarding our democratic ethos and values, we are no longer comfortable with the unwarranted attacks on the judiciary and moves to blackmail the Court into giving backing to wanton electoral malfeasance and vote heist.
“To this end, more than 500 of our members and qualified senior lawyers are ready to defend Nasir Gawuna of the APC at the Supreme Court.
“We will no longer fold our arms as lawyers and watch the judiciary be continuously harangued, and the temple of Justice desecrated by a group of people who failed to perfect an electoral heist and inflate their votes by over 165,000 in a desperate bid to win the March 18 2023 Kano state governorship election at all cost.
“It is on the above premise that we wish to salute the courage and sound reasoning that resonated in the judgements of the tribunal and the Court of Appeal which dispensed justice by allowing the overwhelming yearnings and aspirations of the majority of Kano citizens, as expressed in the valid number of votes cast in the March 18 Kano Governorship election, to stand against the selfish interest of a few who planned to subvert the democratic exercise through electoral fraud and vote manufacturing.
“We are not surprised that the sacked governor of Kano state and his hired agents have become insistent in selling propaganda in the name of a contradiction in the CTC of the Appeal Court Judgement. Nigerians will have nothing but pity for a party in a suit who finds no premise upon which to launch a successful appeal against a judgement backed by law and fact.
“May we repeat here that the judgement of the Court of Appeal on this case was a very straightforward one which rightly dismissed the appeal of Abba K. Yusuf and upheld his sack by the tribunal? The courts envisaged clerical errors in judgement and therefore embedded in their handbook and rules, enactments that empower the Court to vary its judgement to reflect its original intentions.
“Like the Order 23 Rule 4 of the Court of Appeal handbook which empowered them to recall the CTC of their judgments and correct clerical errors like that of the Kano guber judgement. This has also been judicially noticed and treated in a plethora of cases such as Ajibola vs state and Okibe vs Kekere.
“May we also use this opportunity to urge Nigerians to not cave into the misleading narrative being pushed by the agents of the Kano Governor who are grasping at the clerical error on page 67 of the CTC of the Court of Appeal judgement to bring the honourable justices who delivered the sound judgment to public disrepute?
“The importance of the judiciary in keeping our democracy alive and thriving can never be overemphasized, it is on this background that we implore the Supreme Court to dispense justice in this appeal before it without taking into consideration, the distractions and attempts at blackmail. We are with the Judiciary and we assure them of our unflinching support as they move to save Nigeria’s democracy from vote riggers and election fraudsters. We must sanitize our electoral system now and build a strong democratic wall against vote inflation and other electoral malfeasance. “
The lawyers, therefore, called on “peace-loving Nigerians to arise in defense of our cherished democracy from this desperate politician who is using every illegal means to blackmail our judiciary into giving authenticity to electoral fraud by allowing a man who manufactured over 165,000 to seize power at the expense of the overwhelming yearnings and aspirations of the majority of Kano citizens, as clearly expressed in the valid votes cast at the March 18 Kano governorship election.”