By Danjuma Musa
Yusuf Dankofa, a Kaduna-based lawyer, was in the news recently,as he tried seizing on the reflections of Architect Barnabas Yusuf Bala (Bantex), the former Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, to once again dress himself in borrowed but ill-fitting robes of a Saint. In a few paragraphs, Dankofa managed to lie egregiously in a vain attempt to paint himself as former insider in the El-Rufai government,which he never was.
The closest he came to being an insider was in April 2015 when he was appointed into the Transition Committee and named head of the Judiciary sub-committee. It speaks volume that in such a straight forward matter that Dankofa would falsely claim that Bantex was the chairman of the 2015 Transition Committee, when in fact, it was chaired by Balarabe Abbas Lawal, with Muyiwa Adekeye as Secretary.
The government Nasir El-Rufai named after 29 May 2015 reflected his appreciation of the tremendous work of the members of the Transition Committee. Nine (9) of the thirteen (13) commissioners appointed to the Kaduna State Executive Council in 2015 were members of the transition committee. They were: Suleiman Kwari, Amina Sijuwade, Shehu Usman Adamu, Manzo Maigari, Prof. Andrew Nok, Suleiman Aliyu Lere, Bashir Saidu, Mohammed Sani Abdullahi and Rabi Abdulsalam. Many other members were appointed into other positions within the government; Balarabe Abbas Lawal, Jimi Lawal, Uba Sani, Hadiza Bala-Usman, Muyiwa Adekeye, Samuel Aruwan, Bala Yunusa, Hafiz Bayero, Abu Musa Sheyin, Gambo Hamza, Saude Amina Mohammed, Adejoh Momoh and Peter Ayim.
Regrettably Dankofa didn’t make this esteemed list,because the work of the 2015 Transition Committee confirmed the talents of some members while also painfully exposing the severe limitations of others. To put it delicately, Dankofa did not sparkle in that assignment and this affected his ambition to be appointed the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice of the state …it simply went up in smoke. The gap between the title of professor and the substance of the bearer was so obvious, except to the man himself. That lack of self-awareness led Dankofa to become an opponent from the moment El-Rufai nominated his commissioners in August 2015.
So the Supreme Court has amply confirmed that the APC government of Kaduna State was right not to invite Dankofa into its ranks. In February 2019, the justices of the Supreme Court lampooned Dankofa for scheming to avoid criminal trial for attempting to obtain N1m by pretense from Senator Adamu Aliero when he was governor of Kebbi State.
Dankofa the “critic” is standing trial before the Kaduna State High Court on a four Count charge of “dealing false pretence with intent to defraud by obtaining the sum of N250,000.00, and N750,000.00 contrary to Section 1 (1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act of 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Act, for making false document and using false document as genuine contrary to Section 364 of the Penal Code”. Dankofa, pleaded not guilty to the charge, entering a no case submission which was overruled by the trial Court, because a prime facie case had been established. Being dissatisfied with the ruling, he lodged an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division.
In its well considered ruling, the Appeal Court upheld the Preliminary Objection of the Respondent (the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) that the appeal was incompetent and proceeded to strike out the suit. Dankofa was further directed to enter his defence in the four-Count charge against him. Being dissatisfied he decided to explore the option of further appeal to the Supreme Court,which from the Supreme Court judgement was a horrendous miscalculation. Not only was the appeal ignormously thrown out, the Court recommended Dankofa for trial by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and an unprecedented one million naira cost against Dankofa,as punishment for “incompetent appeal”.
Justice Sidi Dauda Bage in his lead judgement, wrote “I must also not fail to express our displeasure at needless dilatory tactics of the Appellant (Dankofa) in this appeal. As a legal practitioner, the Appellant knows, or ought to know, that justice should never be allowed to be sacrificed on the altar of infamy of a lawyer lacking in the level of probity expected of gentlemen of the bar. The deliberate act of hurling obstacles on the highway of justice by crucial stakeholders like legal practitioners is, to say the least, unprofessional, retrogressive and highly reprehensible. I dare say it should also form the basis of further recourse at the level of disciplinary organs of the Nigerian Bar, subject to the outcome of the retrial of the subject matter of this appeal, which the four-count charge is pending against the Appellant”.
This is the portrait of Dankofa as painted by the Supreme Court. He may posture all he can as a saint, but those who should know have provided damning verdict about him. Barrister Yusuf Dankofa cannot erase the Supreme Court’s view of him as lacking probity and being unprofessional, and the court’s invitation to the NBA to make him face its disciplinary organs. Pretend as he may, fake posturing will not resolve his legal entanglements. Dankofa has a criminal trial to contend with, after which NBA disciplinary proceedings may follow. We hope he would take the Supreme court’s chastisement as an invitation to change and flee the gutter.