By ABDULLAHI MUHAMMAD
In the last few days, the judgment delivered by the Kano State gubernatorial election petition tribunal, overturning the election of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of the NNPP in favour of that of APC, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna has generated critical comments from the cross-section of the society.
That judgment perhaps in recent history more than any other has brought ridicule to the judiciary as an independent body saddles among others with the responsibility of adjudicating election matters in Nigerian political landscape.
Taking clues from the comments made by reputable legal luminaries consisting of Professors of law, senior practicing lawyers, serving and retired judges as well as other public commentators had faulted the judgment on many grounds most importantly from the point of law, inherent contradictions and inconsistencies.
It is widely believed that the judgment was premeditated and secured in favour of the ruling party at the center.
Much has been expressed through divergent perspectives and earlier expressions by others but the most eclectic interpretation is that the judgment is to say the least an attempt to subvert the will expressed by Kano people during the 18th march gubernatorial election using the judicial institution through invisible manipulation by shenanigans tactics.
This article will attempt to explore other explanations that seek to expose the role of some dunderhead and cynical personalities who planned and executed this monumental judicial tragedy.
It is sad to recall that few months before the election the overbearing and powerful wife of the head of a federal security establishment of Kano extraction was involved in a commotion with the then NNPP Gubernatorial candidate Gov. Abba Kabir Yusuf.
This incident that was widely reported by the mainstream and social media occurred at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport where she showered vituperation, spurious and nasty comments on Abba Kabir Yusuf and sworn that he will never be a Governor of Kano State as long as the husband is on that seat.
Since then, it was strongly suspected that the head of that establishment actively engaged in subterranean moves using the instrumentality of the apparatus of state coercive power to ensure that NNPP lost the gubernatorial election in fulfillment of his wife’s pledge.
Another invisible hand is discernable to a King maker in Kano Emirate who performs the role of go in-between for the principal characters directly involved with the issue.
The role of the acting chairman of the ruling party in this saga is very obvious, he was reported to have played a central role in mobilizing massive resources and identifying key targets, strategies and final implementation of the entire operation, little wonder therefore, the man is widely believed to be a master in this game of the Dollar stuffing if video is anything to go by.
Also, a member of the Federal House of Representatives from Kano State and who is currently holding forte as a chairman of an influential House of Representatives committee was also identified to be oscillating between various elements involved to strike a deal which also involves blackmail and heavy financial inducement.
To this moment, this group having realized that the judgment had elicited National and global condemnation on account of its heist nature had quickly taken another heinous step to see to its imposition in the appellant courts.
They continue to hold clandestine meetings at the instance of the APC National Chairman who is allegedly desperate to dictate the composition of the appellant judges with the intention of repeating the same travesty of justice committed by the lower court in Kano.
To the leadership of the judicial arm of Government, let it be on record that the 20th September judgment delivered by the Kano state gubernatorial petition Tribunal has sent shock waves that rock the foundation of justice across the globe.
The decision to snatch away the hard-earned victory of Abba Kabir Yusuf and handed same to a “bitter looser” (to borrow a leaf from Justice Benson Anya) who never petitioned against the victory has made nonsense of democracy and replace it with totalitarian system of governance through Judicial fiat.
If the judiciary cannot nurture and sustain the sanctity of democratic institutions like free, fair and credible elections expressly and succinctly won and declared by a constitutionally empowered electoral umpire, then we are in for a deep sheet.
The judicial system has thus replace democracy with the worse form of dictatorship, more nefarious than a military coup d’état. Furthermore, the judgment raised serious concerns about the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.
It confirms the suspicion of the utilization of the state apparatus of power to manipulate the power game through undemocratic means. The outcome therefore of that judgment calls into question the integrity of the entire judicial process seemingly bastardized by the tribunal.
To salvage the image of the judiciary therefore, it is crucial to investigate any potential interference or undue influence exerted upon the tribunal members, ensuring that justice is not compromised for political expediency.
The foregoing advice is anchored on the principle of transparency and accountability that are the cornerstone of a just and functioning judiciary. Regrettably, the judgment in question failed to meet these fundamental standards.
The tribunal’s decision lacks transparency in every sense as it does not provide a clear rational for its deduction of over 165,000 votes from the votes of Abba Kabir Yusuf and thus her verdict. This lack of clarity and particularization undermines the verdict and public trust which also raises serious concern about the fairness of the entire electoral dispute resolution process.
To President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it is incumbent upon him to tenaciously uphold, preserve, and protect democratic principles when and wherever is subverted and violated in the whole of the federation.
The sacred mandate freely given to Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf by the citizens of Kano state is sacrosanct, and therefore be defended by all true democrats.
The President’s credentials as a democrat are impeccable and too much to be sacrificed on the altar of few minority who lost election and now desperate to reclaim power by all means possible including judicial manipulations.
The president may recall that under the era of PDP centrally controlled government in Nigeria, states like Ekiti, Osun and Edo as represented by governors, Rauf Aregbesola, Kayode Fayemi and Adams Oshiomhole of the then ACN, reclaimed their mandates through the fairness of the appellant courts.
As such, the judiciary under his administration should be seen to be truly independent to discharge justice no matter whose ox is gored.
Furthermore, the president may recall that he is presently rallying coalition of West-African Military, Diplomatic and Economic fronts to confront the military Junta in neighboring Niger Republic who ousted the democratically elected government of President Mohammed Bazoum, therefore under no circumstance should a civilian coup d’état be tolerated in Kano, Nigeria.
On this note, let it be reiterated that if Ganduje happens to successfully install Gawuna as a governor of Kano State; he will take the advantage of altering and distorting the power configuration under Tinubu’s Presidency, thereby perfecting the plan of displacing the trio of Shettima, Ribadu and Gbajabiamila out of relevance within the power circle.
Mark this; this is part of the intrigues of power game in political science.
Lastly, but most importantly, President Bola Tinubu should draw lessons from history as any further attempt to entrench a civilian coup d’état in Kano State as being stage managed by the election petition tribunal through its judgment, there are high possibilities for the eruption of civil strife in the state and the spillover effect would spell doom for democracy in Nigeria.
This is reminiscence of the then ruling party NPN’s attempt in 1983 general election to impose Mr. Akin Omoboriowo and Omololu Olunloyo as governors of Ondo and Oyo states respectively, all through electoral rigging and manipulations.
This amongst several other factors, precipitated the December 1983 Military Coup d’état that brought in General Muhammadu Buhari as the Head of State.
Mine here is a word of caution and circumspection by all public policy actors in Nigeria to save our democracy through entrenching democratic values and cultures.
Abdullahi Muhammad, a policy and security analyst is based in Kaduna