The National Auditor of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Barrister Ladipo Johnson, has criticized the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal over comments credited to the panel in the press that supporters of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf and leadership of the party in Kano State were violent and engaged in acts of banditry and terrorism.
In a statement in Lagos at the weekend and made available to the Press, Johnson raised serious objections to what he described as “indecorous and libelous language” used by the panel, in order to tarnish the image of leaders and members of the party.
Johnson was particularly miffed by the portions of the publication where a member of the panel, Justice Benson Anya, condemned NNPP members, who he referred to as “the gang of Red Cap wearers who, like a violent and terrorist cult, chased us out of Kano and put us in the fear of our lives”.
He also condemned Justice Benson Anya’s remarks that “instead of some Kano politicians to be allowed to use banditry and violence to abort democracy in Kano State, justice will be used to stop them from destroying democracy in Kano and upward.”
The NNPP stalwart vehemently objected to such language, which, he stated, was unbecoming of a Judge and defender of the law.
“Of course, the indecorous, libelous and outright condemnable comments credited to the panel and especially those portions where Justice Benson Anya went beyond his judicial bounds of immunity and acted as if he is an interested party in the matter by casting aspersions on the leadership and members of NNPP, are spurious, regrettable, uncouth and based on sentiments.
“To any rational observer, it should be glaringly obvious that Justice Anya’s lengthy rebuke, insult and insensitive remarks against NNPP individually and collectively were rather unprecedented, and not based on the facts, evidence and law before the Tribunal. One would think that he has taken sides as an interested party and as such has prejudiced the judgement of the court”.
Johnson further noted that “Justice Benson Anya may have been trying to curry the public sympathy by painting the “wearers of the red cap” as “terrorists and bandits,” a terrible application of sentiments to validate a historic and epic miscarriage of justice”. He stated that apparently, this Judge may have been petitioned against in Abia state and wondered why he would have been nominated to the panel in the first place.
He reiterated that the NNPP will consider all options including petitioning the NJC over the utterances of the Judge, and shall appeal the tribunal’s verdict which removed Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf as Kano governor, stressing that the party was confident that justice will be delivered at the Appellate Court in due course to reinforce the faith of the people in the judiciary and democracy.
In conclusion he stated that it now seems apparently clear that justice was not served by the Election Petition Panel which had all its sittings in Kano without any report of violence or disruptions, and then all of a sudden, decided to give their judgement via Zoom from some obscure place that remains a mystery to us!