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Sokoto Guber: Putting court judgements to fairness test It is an accepted democratic norm all over the world that some judgements of court can be considered bad. But as a caveat, it is only allowed to consider a judgement bad if it is delivered in a manner that is: preventing or hindering a litigant from receiving full, fair, impartial hearings or the full, fair, impartial administration of justice or, there is evidence which would lead a reasonable person to believe they could be prevented or hindered from receiving full, fair, impartial hearings or the full, fair, impartial administration of justice. The criteria used in deciding if a judgement is bad is not merely based on high profile cases or concerning people of influence, but in cases concerning the poor, prosecutorial misconduct and the unrepresented as well. Regardless of how bad some judgements are, most judges undoubtedly do make several correct decisions and faithfully and consistently adhere to their oath of office and aggressively pursue justice for all. Regardless of whether or not a judgment scales the criteria for goodness allowable in law, the public may be tempted to not accept it as such until it is tested in courts of superior jurisdiction. This is perhaps part of the reasons why most suits, especially that on elections which are considered directly related to the interest of the public tend to go the whole way up, to the final bus stop. In Sokoto state, the ruling of a lower court that supposedly runs contrary to the expectations of a large section of the public appears poised to run this test full circle. Already the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the 2019 Elections, Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto and his party have filed an appeal against the judgement of the Election Petition Tribunal claiming that the Tribunal judges erred in law by upholding the disputed victory of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. A Member of APC’s legal team, Barrister Bashir Jodi, who disclosed this in Sokoto, said it was filed at the Court of Appeal in the state which means it could go right up to the Supreme Court if either party becomes dissatisfied with the eventual outcome of the appeal. The Sokoto Elections Petitions Tribunal had, in its October 2, 2019 verdict, dismissed Aliyu/APC’s petition against Tambuwal’s election for the inability of the petitioners to discharge the burden of proof. Dissatisfied with the decision, APC and its candidate appealed citing several instances of miscarriage of justice by the trial court and relying on several grounds and judicial authorities. Without the need to be prejudiced, the Sokoto and Nigerian public remain awaiting the outcome of the test which shall doubtlessly further enrich the nation’s law report archives. The heat at the moment is generated by the expectation of a priceless jewel called fairness. Anyone would be forgiven if he or she concludes that this is one of the most challenging moments in the democratic history of Sokoto State because of the interesting antecedents that has been trailing the matter of Tambuwal’s controversial victory at the level the State Election Petitions Tribunal. Prior to the controversial victory of the incumbent governor at the Tribunal there was loud outcry that some Sokoto ‘big men’ were running helter-skelter to skew the judgment against the opposition APC’s candidate. The highest echelon of the Sultanate was immediately fingered. Shortly thereafter, more revelations, exposing two retired justices in Zamfara and Sokoto States as giving additional back-up to the gang-up against the APC. It did not take long for the media to be awash with the defeaning outcry from the voters of the State, along with respected public opinion leaders. Those very familiar with the trajectory could not hide their shock and dismay over the Tribunal’s controversial judgment in Tambuwal’s favor. It is absolutely undeniable that there is a growing level of mass anxiety over the kind of justice to be served next at the Appeal Court. The judge in the current case of appeal truly has a daunting task in ensuring that undiluted justice is served. All eyes are on him to change the course of history from avoidable anxiety to satisfaction. And this won’t just be a picnic. As the clock ticks, it is hoped that fairness will be the new name of the Appeal Court’s judgment, as the voters, respected opinion leaders and other stakeholders in Sokoto look on with positive expectations.Win or lose, the APC has made its case loud and clear and whichever verdict comes out next, the beat goes on to the next level. This is a clarion appeal for fairness.

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Sokoto Guber: Putting court judgements to fairness test It is an accepted democratic norm all over the world that some judgements of court can be considered bad. But as a caveat, it is only allowed to consider a judgement bad if it is delivered in a manner that is: preventing or hindering a litigant from receiving full, fair, impartial hearings or the full, fair, impartial administration of justice or, there is evidence which would lead a reasonable person to believe they could be prevented or hindered from receiving full, fair, impartial hearings or the full, fair, impartial administration of justice. The criteria used in deciding if a judgement is bad is not merely based on high profile cases or concerning people of influence, but in cases concerning the poor, prosecutorial misconduct and the unrepresented as well. Regardless of how bad some judgements are, most judges undoubtedly do make several correct decisions and faithfully and consistently adhere to their oath of office and aggressively pursue justice for all. Regardless of whether or not a judgment scales the criteria for goodness allowable in law, the public may be tempted to not accept it as such until it is tested in courts of superior jurisdiction. This is perhaps part of the reasons why most suits, especially that on elections which are considered directly related to the interest of the public tend to go the whole way up, to the final bus stop. In Sokoto state, the ruling of a lower court that supposedly runs contrary to the expectations of a large section of the public appears poised to run this test full circle. Already the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the 2019 Elections, Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto and his party have filed an appeal against the judgement of the Election Petition Tribunal claiming that the Tribunal judges erred in law by upholding the disputed victory of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. A Member of APC’s legal team, Barrister Bashir Jodi, who disclosed this in Sokoto, said it was filed at the Court of Appeal in the state which means it could go right up to the Supreme Court if either party becomes dissatisfied with the eventual outcome of the appeal. The Sokoto Elections Petitions Tribunal had, in its October 2, 2019 verdict, dismissed Aliyu/APC’s petition against Tambuwal’s election for the inability of the petitioners to discharge the burden of proof. Dissatisfied with the decision, APC and its candidate appealed citing several instances of miscarriage of justice by the trial court and relying on several grounds and judicial authorities. Without the need to be prejudiced, the Sokoto and Nigerian public remain awaiting the outcome of the test which shall doubtlessly further enrich the nation’s law report archives. The heat at the moment is generated by the expectation of a priceless jewel called fairness. Anyone would be forgiven if he or she concludes that this is one of the most challenging moments in the democratic history of Sokoto State because of the interesting antecedents that has been trailing the matter of Tambuwal’s controversial victory at the level the State Election Petitions Tribunal. Prior to the controversial victory of the incumbent governor at the Tribunal there was loud outcry that some Sokoto ‘big men’ were running helter-skelter to skew the judgment against the opposition APC’s candidate. The highest echelon of the Sultanate was immediately fingered. Shortly thereafter, more revelations, exposing two retired justices in Zamfara and Sokoto States as giving additional back-up to the gang-up against the APC. It did not take long for the media to be awash with the defeaning outcry from the voters of the State, along with respected public opinion leaders. Those very familiar with the trajectory could not hide their shock and dismay over the Tribunal’s controversial judgment in Tambuwal’s favor. It is absolutely undeniable that there is a growing level of mass anxiety over the kind of justice to be served next at the Appeal Court. The judge in the current case of appeal truly has a daunting task in ensuring that undiluted justice is served. All eyes are on him to change the course of history from avoidable anxiety to satisfaction. And this won’t just be a picnic. As the clock ticks, it is hoped that fairness will be the new name of the Appeal Court’s judgment, as the voters, respected opinion leaders and other stakeholders in Sokoto look on with positive expectations.Win or lose, the APC has made its case loud and clear and whichever verdict comes out next, the beat goes on to the next level. This is a clarion appeal for fairness.

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