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Ganduje vs Abba: The journey to the Supreme Court

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Abdullahi-Ganduje-Abba-Yusuf

Nasiru Yusuf

Kano state governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje  of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenger Abba Kabir Yusuf will know their fate this Monday as the Supreme Court delivers its verdict on the rightful winner of the 2019 governorship election.

In this report, KANO FOCUS recalls the political and legal battles that landed the duo at the Supreme Court.

It could be recalled that 52 candidates including eight women contested for the governorship seat on March O9, 2019.

Trouble began with the reported disruption of collation process at Nassarawa local government by high ranking government officials.

Ganduje vs Abba: Supporters pray, fast, ahead of Supreme Court verdict

Massive security in Kano as Ganduje, Abba know fate today

On March 11, the Kano state police command announced the arrest of commissioner for local government, Murtala Sule Garo, and the Chairman, Nassarawa local government, Lamin Sani for allegedly destroying Gama ward election result.

The police also announced that it had taken the Kano state deputy governor, Nasiru Gawuna who accompanied the arrested officials into “protective custody”.

Following this incident, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Riskuwa Arabu Shehu told journalists that the commission would regenerate the election result.

However, the state’s Returning Officer Bello Shehu announced that the election is inconclusive because the number of cancelled votes is higher than the difference between the two leading candidates.

The result announced by INEC, indicated that the PDP candidate polled 1,014,474 votes, while Mr Ganduje of the APC scored 987,819 votes leaving a difference of 26,655 votes.

While the total votes cancelled across 22 local governments including Gama ward of Nasarawa local government were 141,694 votes.

Supplementary Election

On March 24, INEC conducted supplementary elections at 28 out of 44 local governments of Kano state.

The supplementary election was characterized by violence and voter intimidation by armed thugs.

After the supplementary election, INEC declared Mr Ganduje winner having scored 45,876 votes to Mr Yusuf’s 10,239 thereby upturning the result in his favor.

The Returning Officer, Mr. Shehu, announced that Mr Ganduje scored a total vote of 1,033,695 while Mr Yusuf polled 1,024,713.

The winning margin was 8,982 between the two major candidates.

The PDP and its governorship candidate rejected the result and asked INEC to cancel it.

Election Petition Tribunal

On Thursday April 11th, PDP and its governorship candidate filed a petition against the victory of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje as winner of the March 23 governorship election in Kano State as announced by the INEC.

The petition filed by the party before the governorship election tribunal contended that its governorship candidate, Abba Yusuf, won the March 9 election, as such any result other than that was a nullity.

The party also contended that the supplementary election conducted by INEC was unconstitutional and unlawful.

Mr Kabir-Yusuf told journalists shortly after filing the petition “during the March 9 governorship election, the PDP got the highest votes across the 44 local governments in the state.

“To me as the PDP candidate the only election that took place was on March 9.

“The issue of supplementary election as far as PDP is concerned was an illegality which we reject and have nothing to do with.”

On  July 16, counsel to PDP, Adeboyega Awomolo, filed a motion on notice seeking the tribunal to grant his clients leave to amend the names of witnesses and their initials earlier presented alongside the petition.

Counsels to Ganduje and the INEC, Offiong Offiong and Adedayo Adedeji objected to the application and urged the tribunal to dismiss it.

In her ruling, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Halima Shamaki, dismissed the application saying that, “If the application is granted it will overreach the respondents and it will be an abuse of court process.”

However, court of appeal sitting in Kaduna granted the application of governorship candidate of PDP, Mr Kabir-Yusuf, to amend its witness list with additional eight “star” witnesses in his case against Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

Justice Adedotun Adefoke-Okoji, while delivering judgment on the appeal filed by the appellant, granted all the prayers of the petitioner.

Mr Ganduje filed a notice of appeal against the judgment to the Supreme Court, and the apex court upheld the ruling of court of appeal.

On October 2, Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal led by Justice Halima Shamaki had in its unanimous judgment   dismissed the petition filed by the PDP and Mr Kabir-Yusuf on grounds that the petitioners failed to prove their claims that the election was marred by irregularities and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

The tribunal also held that INEC was right in declaring the March 9 election in Kano State inconclusive and also in declaring Mr. Ganduje the winner of the supplementary election held on March 23.

It also said that declaring an election as inconclusive where there are lawful reasons is constitutional.

Court of Appeal

On April 11 the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate filed a petition at the Appeal Court against the October 2 judgment of the election petition tribunal.

However, in a unanimous decision delivered on November 22, a five-man panel of the court led by Justice Tijjani Abubakar dismissed the appeal by the PDP and its governorship candidate.

Just In: Appeal Court upholds Ganduje’s election

Kano APC denies PDP claims of plot to change Appeal Court judges

The court affirmed the October 2 judgment of the Kano State Governorship Election Tribunal, which had dismissed the petition by PDP and its candidate, challenging Ganduje’s victory at the supplementary election.

Supreme Court

In protest to the court of Appeal verdict, the PDP filed an appeal at Supreme Court.

Rowdy crowd, judge’s illness compel Supreme Court to adjourn hearing on Kano election petition

On January 14, the court fixed January 20 to deliver its judgment.

 

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My relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari – Salihu Tanko Yakasai

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Yakasai and Buhari

In light of recent events that transpired over my recent comments about the government of President Buhari, I think it is absolutely necessary to shed more light on my decades of relationship with the President, and how I am not doing anybody’s bidding with my remarks but simply reacting to issues that are happening in my country.

What is more, my comments were not aimed at casting aspersion against the person or government of Mr. President.

Far from that!

I joined partisan politics in December 2000 at the age of 24, when I officially became a member of the defunct APP at my ward, Kawaji in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano State.

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At that time, Kano State was PDP-controlled under the then governor, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso.

So, I entered politics as an opposition member in my state. As at that time, I was contesting for the position of a councilor at my ward, which ended with my losing the primary election in 2004.

Pioneer Buharist

In 2002, I was in All Progressives Party (APP) when President Buhari picked the membership card of the party and officially joined politics to run for the presidency in the 2003 elections. At that time, I and millions of people particularly from the north welcomed this decision by the President with enthusiasm and zeal and we supported him 100%.

We were basically the 1st set of the so-called ‘cult-like followership ‘ of the President, simply because we believed in him to deliver and lead this country to prosperity.

He came into politics as someone people trusted and whom they see as an upright person that they can vouch for, earning him the nickname ‘Mai Gaskiya’.

We campaigned for him through thick and thin, street to street, the young and the old, and when it was election time, I was assigned by my party leaders at my ward to be the returning officer of our party, APP, for the presidential election which Buhari was contesting for.

We fought PDP hard at my ward to ensure that we delivered the ward to him in the election.

I did not sleep for almost 48 hours then, because I had to accompany the results to the local government collation centre to ensure that the results were not altered.

President Buhari did not win the 2003 general elections, but our party, the defunct APP won the governorship election in Kano State, which ushered in Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau as the new governor of the state.

But soon after that, there was friction between his camp and that of President Buhari, which later on after the 2007 elections led to the creation of a new political party formed by Buhari, that is Congress for Progressive Change, (CPC).

First meeting with Buhari

I, and my political leader at that time, Hon. Balarabe Wakili, a former member representing Nasarawa Local Government in the House of Reps (2003 to 2007) decided to pitch our camp with the President and not with Mallam Shekarau, and it was through Hon. Wakili that I first visited the President on a solidarity visit back in the early stages.

It is still in CPC that I contested for the State Assembly, which we suffered a lot because of the factionalization of the party that led to a lot of bickerings.

Ultimately, I neither got the ticket nor did our party win the election.

May I use this medium to thank the current Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajia Sadiya for the role she played in my election back then when she was the National Treasurer of CPC.

My surrogate father-in-law

The President, also served as my wife’s guardian during our wedding in 2006 on behalf of her late uncle, AVM Mukhtar Mohammed who was a very close associate of the President.

May I use this opportunity to tell my wife’s guardian that 14 years after he gave her hand in marriage to me, we are still living peacefully and blessed with 3 children.

We thank him for his fatherly role during the nuptial rites.

Back to politics, at the presidential level, I served as a member of the Welfare Committee of the Presidential Election of Muhammadu Buhari, with the current Minister of Water Resources, Hon. Sulaiman Adamu Kazaure as the chairman of the committee, during the 2011 presidential election.

After the formation of APC, I also served as a member of the Youth Committee during the 2015 elections, crisscrossing this country to campaign for the President which we eventually won and Buhari was ushered into government with popular national support.

Now having given the background of the long-term relationship between me and the President spanning 18 years to be precise, I have never known a political leader throughout my political career other than Buhari, even though I can count the number of times I’ve met him.

NEPU blood

I did not only wish for his success but I equally worked hard with everything that I’ve got for almost two decades to see his dream become a reality, and I will continue to stand by him.

When I see things that are going not the way they are supposed to, I naturally have that urge to try and express my concern about them, because I want things to work right.

I can understand, if by virtue of my position as an aide to a governor in the same party as the President’s that I have limitations and somehow the spotlight is always on me.

But occasionally, despite suppressing my opinions,

I find the NEPU blood in me triggering me to react.

This is in no way, meant to undermine the President or my dear party, APC.

Apologies to Ganduje

To my boss, His Excellency, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR, I want to use this opportunity to apologise for putting Your Excellency in an uncomfortable position due to my personal opinions.

It is indeed something that I never intended to happen, and I am not happy about it a bit. I do not have a boss-and-aide relationship with Your Excellency; I rather have a father-and-son relationship with Your Excellency.

Indeed, I appreciate the support Your Excellency has been according me in the last five years, and I will continue to remain loyal to you and serve my state and my country through your government and in whatever other capacity.

At the end of the day, our prayer is for Nigeria to be great.

In the words of Barack Obama “Do we participate  in a politics of cynicism, or in a politics of hope?”

I am an optimist, and it’s our ardent HOPE that we will have the Nigeria of our dreams in which development and prosperity will be the norm rather than the exception; a country we can build a secured future for our children and generations yet unborn.

May we continue to do our best in ensuring this is the Nigeria that our forefathers sacrificed their lives for to lay a solid foundation.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Salihu Tanko Yakasai, Governor Ganduje’s suspended media aide writes from Kano.

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Ganduje reopens Kano higher institutions October 26

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Ganduje

Mukhtar Yahya Usman

Kano state governor Abdullahi Ganduje has approved the reopening of state-owned tertiary institutions on October 26.

Kano Focus reports that the commissioner for higher education, Mariya Mahmoud Bunkure announced the decision on Monday.

The announcement follows the resumption of secondary and primary schools in Kano state on Monday morning.

Ms Bunkure, a medical doctor, however directed the management, staff, and students of the schools to observe Covid-19 protocols.

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LG election: KANSIEC begins sale of nomination forms October 19

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KANSIEC Chairman

Mukhtar Yahya Usman

The Kano state Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC) says it will sell nomination forms for local government election candidates from October 19 to December 03, 2020.

Kano Focus reports that the KANSIEC chairman Garba Ibrahim Sheka announced that the election will hold on January 16, 2021.

Mr Sheka, a professor of Economics, said political parties are to conduct their campaigns between October 12, 2020 and January 12, 2021.

He said parties should submit completed forms for the positions of chairman and vice chairman of the 44 local government councils at the state headquarters between September O7 and 13.

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He added that completed forms for the 484 councillorship slots should be submitted at the KANSIEC local government offices.

Mr Sheka said the election will take place before the completion of the tenures of the incumbent local government council officers.

“We will hold the local government election on 16th January, 2021 as the serving chairmen completes their tenure on 11 February.” He said

Mr Sheka added that the 2002 Act that established the commission requires it to announce the election date 21 days before it holds.

He however said that due to the huge number of political parties in Kano state, KANSIEC has announced the date 90 days before the election.

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