By Ahmadu Kankarofi
There comes a time in the annals of a community when socio-political events and issues are thrown up by providence with the intention of testing the human will and resolve. Such events may be positive or negative, right or wrong. Well intended or ill- intended. Such a situation may be manipulated or given a free reign, simple or complicated as the case may be.
This is the time to clean up the judiciary from people with tinted integrity and corruption tendencies as we march towards restoring mandate of Kano electorates on the altar of the tribunal.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared that the NNPP polled 1,019,602 votes to defeat the APC with its candidate, Mr Gawuna, who scored 890,705 votes. The NNPP candidate thus won with a margin of 128,897 votes.
The APC had filed a petition challenging the election of Mr Yusuf. The three-member panel of judges led by Oluyemi Asadebay delivered the judgment on Wednesday virtually. The court invalidated over 165,663 votes printed in favour of NNPP. The court deducted the invalid votes stating that the ballot papers (165,663) were not stamped or signed and were therefore invalid.
The judgement of the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal that nullified the election of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf was described variously by people of good will as a slap in the face of constitutionalism and the rule of law. Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf won convincingly in the March 18, 2023, election, which was described as free, credible, and globally acclaimed as a fair election.
The pronouncement of the 3-man tribunal is laughable and a pure miscarriage of justice, which is capable of eroding the confidence of the electorate in the judiciary. The reported judgment nullified the free, credible, and globally acclaimed fair election of our gubernatorial candidate, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf, and brazenly awarded the election to the APC candidate, Nasiru Gawuna.
“The Tribunal arrived at this unjust judgment by unfairly subtracting 165,663 votes from the governor’s tally to enable it to unfairly award the result to the candidate of the ruling APC. In doing so, the tribunal obviously affirms its belief that the vote tally of the APC candidate was sacrosanct. The judgment of the 3-man Kano State Governorship Election Petition is laughable and nothing but a pure miscarriage of justice.
Renowned Columbia based Professor Farouk Kperogi have joined to criticize the ongoing political confusion caused in Kano State by the Tribunal.The Columbia based Professor said the judgement which declared Yusuf Gawuna as the winner of 2023 governorship election against Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf will be as dead as ‘dodo’ at the court of appeal.
He argued that the Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal would collapse like a pack of cards at the appealate court. He said; “APC appears intent to get back through judicial manipulation what it lost through the ballot box. It’s a higher-order, more sophisticated, and less primitive version of the broad-day electoral heist they perpetrated in 2019 after former Governor Abdullahi “Gandollar” Ganduje lost to the same Abba Yusuf INEC was manipulated to declare the election as “inconclusive”.
That even though APC unambiguously lost it. It bears no recounting what happened thereafter. “It is significant that APC didn’t even claim to have won the majority or plurality of the votes cast during the governorship election in Kano this year”.
“It merely invoked a welter of issues that are extraneous to the vote, which are balanced on a dubiously slender thread of legal evidence, to ask for the reversal of NNPP’s victory”, he added.
The Kano State gubernatorial election tribunal verdict is a rape of democracy, which will go a long way in the annals of the history of Nigeria as one of the worst judgments pronounced with emotions and recklessness democracy because impracticable precedence has been set which can and will never be sustained.
While threat of violence on the judges stand condemn and didn’t reflect the position of Kano State government under the leadership of Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf. Government officials fingered were sacked with immediate effect. Therefore the emotions, subjectivity and outright partisanship by Justice Ben Anya must be investigated by the National Judicial Council.
According to Ben Anya: “I use this opportunity to condemn 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. We believe that only Allah is the giver of power. Those who believe in Allah must bow to his will and submit to the authority of Governmental power. Resort to anarchy, violence and killing can never be a source of lawful power.
The National Judicial Council (NJC) Rule provides that whereas a Judge, like any other citizen, is entitled to freedom of expression; “but in exercising such rights, a Judge shall always conduct himself in such manner as to preserve the dignity of the judicial office and the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.”
It behooves on appellate courts to diligently review the judicial rascality and restore the mandate of Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf freely given by Kano electorates. As the appellate court responsibility is to review the verdicts of the lower courts/tribunal and ensure full compliance with the constitutions and the electoral act.
Kankarofi wrote in from Kano