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Restoring Muhammadu Sanusi ll



Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II

Restoring Muhammadu Sanusi ll

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde


History repeats itself, they say. In the history of rulers of Northern Nigeria, however, that recurrence was less often. While historians can remember two, we may be at a point of witnessing the third.


Sometime in December 1652, Muhammadu Kakuna, the 33rd Sultan of Kano was ousted under the influence of the powerful Maidaki Auwa, who installed her son, Soyaki. Kakuna retreated to Zaria and within days fought back his way to the throne just before the year ran out. That was the only time a ruler of Kano was restored.

In 1901, the British occupied Kontagora—tudu makwantar rikici—and deposed its 3rd Emir, Ibrahim Nagwamatse, for his notorious slave expeditions. They installed his son. For some reasons, after just two years, the British returned Ibrahim from exile in 1903 and made him the Sarkin Sudan and he reigned until his death in 1929.

Muhammadu Sanusi II, the 14th Emir of Kano, may soon be the third. Like in the case of Kakuna, many saw his removal by Governor Ganduje on ground of insubordination as a live specimen of highhandedness, intolerance, and vengeance. The Emir was arrested and banished to Loko for confinement, an action which he successfully fought against before a federal high court in Abuja. The court on 30th November 2020 declared both the confinement and the Emirate Council Law under which it was undertaken as unconstitutional and restored the fundamental rights of the deposed Emir to human dignity and personal liberty.

In contrast to Maidaki Auwa of 1652, Governor Ganduje went beyond the Emir and balkanized the Emirate. He divided it into five independent emirates in order to prevent the emergence of any strong Emir of Kano in the future. This act of downgrading the system, the first of its kind since Bagauda founded Kano 1,025 years ago, is understandably the most repugnant to the Kano ruling family and to many of its subjects. If the malware, they argue, had only changed the driver file—in this case the Emir—the system could tolerate that and continue with the same speed. But corrupting the entire system files and downgrading its performance to a status of a photocopier cannot be tolerated. A ‘system restore’ is necessary.

Restoring the Kano Emirate system to its 9 March 2020 date is now on the fingers of the new administration in the State. It will certainly be greeted with mixed feelings when it happens in the next few days especially as it will portend restoring both its unified disk configuration and the deleted driver file.

History is about to witness that restoration, if the feelers from Kano are accurate. How the ancient city would absorb the heat of the operation and bounce back as one of the most important emirates in the region is a matter of immediate concern to its citizens. As Nigerians, we can only hope that it does so without boiling.

This was first published on Dr Tilde’s Twitter handle.

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8 things to know why Abba kabir will remain in office until determined by 2 appellate courts



After the Kano Tribunal judgment, there are two more appeal windows available to the parties, viz, the Court of Appeal and then the Supreme Court.

Now that the Kano State Governorship Election Tribunal has in a virtual judgment overruled the declaration of Governor Abba Yusuf, and then ordered for the return of the APC candidate Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna.

Many people ignorant of the Electoral Act of 2022, are asking what will happen to Governor Abba Kabir.

Here are some answers to your questions

1-If Governor Yusuf filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal within 14 days of the delivery of that Tribunal judgment, then he will continue in office as the Governor, until after the determination of his appeal by the Court of Appeal, not later than 60 days from the date of filing.

2-If Governor Abba loses his appeal at the Court of Appeal, then he will continue as the Governor, if he files another appeal before the Supreme Court, within 14 days from the date of the determination of that appeal.

3-Now the Apex Court is granted only 60 days within which to determine that appeal.

4-If Governor Abba succeeds in that appeal, then that will be the end of that legal battle, and he will continue in office for the remainder of his 4-year term.

5-If Abba loses and the Supreme Court in its wisdom decides that the Kano Tribunal was right in its decision, then he will cease to be the Governor from that date, and Gawuna will be sworn in as the new Executive Governor of Kano State.

6-Gawuna will be expected to serve for the remainder of Abba’s 4-year term.

7-However if the Apex Court orders a rerun in respect of those polling units where the 165,000 votes were declared invalid, so be it.

8-Whosever wins in the rerun will assume office for the remainder of the 4-year term beginning from May,29,2023.

Then the Electoral litigations circle will recommence all over again, up to the Apex Court.

Remember before the promulgation of what is today called PRACTICE DIRECTIONS, by the President of the Court of Appeal, and several other amendments to the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and the Electoral Act of 2022, there were no time limits set for the determinations of Election petitions or the subsequent appeal processes.

And if an incumbent Governor’s election is voided, the new Governor will serve a fresh 4-year authorization

Bashir Audi writes from Kano

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Why the Kano Verdict Can’t Stand



By Farooq A. Kperogi


I detest political cultism, which the Kwankwasiyya movement represents, and also resent Governor Abba Yusuf’s incipient governance by destructive vengeance, which saw him remorselessly destroying multimillion-naira buildings belonging to political opponents in his first few weeks in power, but the verdict that overturned his victory strikes me as deficient in both legal and logical merit.

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,” even though APC unambiguously lost it. It bears no recounting what happened thereafter.

The single-minded, concentrated, unstoppable political steamroller that Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso unleashed in this year’s governorship election in Kano was simply too overpowering for Ganduje and Nasir Gawuna to withstand.

As I argued in my April 01, 2023, column titled “Between Obi and Kwankwaso, Who’s the ‘Local Champion’ Now?” Kwankwaso didn’t run for president to win it. He did so to “leverage his presidential run to help his son-in-law get elected as governor of Kano State. And he achieved his goal.” He obviously learned from 2019 and was prepared for 2023.

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.

Three points constitute the nucleus of APC’s judicial challenge to the NNPP’s victory at the tribunal: that NNPP’s Abba Yusuf wasn’t a registered member of the party on whose platform he ran; that the Electoral Act was violated through “over-voting,” violence, and disenfranchisement; and that 165,663 votes for NNPP in Tarauni, a Kano local government, were invalid because they lacked INEC’s markers of authenticity, i.e., stamps, signatures, and dates.

Invalidating 165,663 votes out of NNPP’s 1,019,602 votes while leaving APC’s 890,705 votes untouched handed a dubious victory to APC by default.

It’s easy to see how APC’s victory at the tribunal will crumble like a paper bag upon appeal. First, membership of a political party is an internal matter that non-party members have no legal right to be concerned about.

In its response to APC’s challenge of Peter Obi’s qualification to run for president on the platform of Labour Party because he was not a registered member of the party as of April 30, 2022, when the party turned in its membership register to INEC, the Presidential Elections Petitions Tribunal ruled that, “The issue of membership of a political party is an internal party affair.” It dismissed APC’s challenge on the basis of this.

A May 26 Supreme Court ruling also says rival parties have no right to question the validity of the internal decisions made by other parties unless they can prove that they suffered demonstrable harm as a result of the internal decisions another party took. So, the Kano governorship election tribunal’s verdict on this issue will be as dead as a dodo upon appeal.

The tribunal disproportionately placed the burden of the violation of the Electoral Act, evidenced in “over-voting,” violence, disenfranchisement, etc. on the NNPP even though, as we all know, both parties were guilty of it. APC deployed its power of incumbency during the election to intimidate and overawe opponents, and to visit violence on people who resisted them. NNPP wasn’t innocent, of course. Kwankwasiyya mobs, wherever they were dominant, also put the screws on opponents.

There was no innocent party when it came to the violation of the Electoral Act. In fact, if the standard established by the Kano Governorship Election Tribunal were to be applied to all elections in the country there would be no valid election anywhere. Enduring systemic dysfunctions and our all-too-familiar disposition to game or attempt to game the system will always result in violations of well-intentioned laws by all parties. So, that judgement was neither here nor there, in my opinion.

Perhaps the stickiest, most indefensible, and least logical of the tribunal’s verdict was its arbitrary nullification of NNPP’s 165,663 votes on account of ballot papers lacking symbolic indicators of legitimacy from INEC.

First, why is NNPP the only party whose votes were overturned on this account when it’s obvious that all parties that partook in the election, including APC, also had votes that weren’t stamped or signed? The blame for this partly goes to NNPP, which was so overconfident of its triumph that it didn’t prepare a robust

rebuttal. I heard it presented only one witness and didn’t expend any efforts to expose APC’s own manipulations.

Second, as Bello Galadi, a past Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association in Zamfara State, pointed out, Section 63(2) of the Electoral Act doesn’t support the tribunal’s ruling. “If the Returning Officer is satisfied that a ballot paper which does not bear the official mark was from a book of ballot papers which was furnished to the Presiding Officer of the Polling Unit in which the vote was cast for use at the election in question, he or she shall, notwithstanding the absence of the official mark, count that ballot paper,” the Electoral Act says.

In other words, INEC signatures and stamps are merely symbolic; they are not mandatory stamps of validity. If all the parties involved in an electoral contest are united in affirming the genuineness of ballot papers in spite of the ballot papers lacking INEC’s symbols of validity, they are lawful. Apparently, on election day, neither APC nor its agents questioned the validity of the votes the tribunal has overturned. So why whine after the fact?

“Where were the APC’s Polling Agents when the ballot papers were being sorted?” Galadi asks. “How did they allow unauthenticated ballot papers to be counted in the first place? Where were… INEC’s officers when the unauthenticated ballot papers were allegedly being smuggled into the boxes?”

Galadi also argued that the number of votes the tribunal nullified is greater than the number of votes by which NNPP defeated APC, which by law requires the tribunal to at worst declare the election “inconclusive” and order a re-run.

I think predicting the collapse of APC’s governorship tribunal victory upon appeal is a slam dunk because it can’t survive the crucible of serious legal challenge. It seems like a politically motivated verdict, such as the verdict that overturned Adeleke’s election, that has zero chance of surviving an appeal.

No one can predict the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, especially this Supreme Court, but if justice and fair play still matter, I have no doubt that NNPP’s victory will be affirmed. Of course, the party has to shake off its smug, unjustified overconfidence and not only defend its mandate but also show that APC received hundreds of thousands of votes that are similar to the NNPP votes that the tribunal canceled.

After its expected victory, though, NNPP’s Abba Yusuf and his benefactor Rabiu Kwankwaso need to rule with grace and maturity, not vengeance and infantilism. Destroying buildings is no governance. Plotting the dethronement of monarchs that didn’t support you is a page from Ganduje’s sordid playbook. They need to be different. Success, they say, is the best revenge.

Re: PEPT’s Verdict and the Task Before the Supreme Court
My name is Aikhunegbe Anthony Malik. I am a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. I always enjoy and indeed look forward to reading your interventions. Well done, sir.

Typical of your write-ups, this one on the PEPT’s verdict is very incisive. May your pen never run dry, sir.

Permit me, however, to observe that the Federal High Court [Port Harcourt Division] decision concerning the eligibility of Tonye Cole to contest the Rivers governorship election [on account of his dual citizenship] was upturned or set aside, rightly so, by the Court of Appeal in Appeal No. CA/PH/584/2022; Tonye Patrick Cole vs. Peoples Democratic Party & Ors.], per Ikyegh, JCA, in a judgment delivered on January 20, 2023. Aikhunegbe Anthony Malik, SAN


Farooq A. Kperogi
Is a Professor of Journalism and Emerging media studies at Kennesaw State University.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi


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Some Quick Thoughts on Kano Governorship Election Tribunal Judgement




By  Rabiu Gama






I had the (dis)pleasure of reading the full judgement of the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal last night which was delivered last Wednesday via Zoom. Here are my humble thoughts on it.


By the way, I am writing this under the safe assumption that anyone that is reading this is quite familiar with the story behind the judgement. Nonetheless, clarity is important. So, for sake of clarity let me quickly state that APC is the Petitioner in this case, while INEC, Abba Kabir Yusuf (AKY) and NNPP are the First, Second and Third Respondents respectively. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, APC’s candidate, was not a party in the suit. The Tribunal, relying on the provision of Section 133 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2022, and some judicial authorities, held, correctly in my opinion, that Gawuna must not be a party before the Tribunal.


As I see it, NNPP’s and AKY’s lawyers did a bad job. INEC’s lawyers did worse though: INEC’s legal team failed miserably to prove that the election was conducted in compliance with the provisions of Electoral Act, 2022, (the burden or onus of proof was on them in that regard) as alleged by the Petitioner (the APC). The First Respondent, i.e., INEC, made a terrible and costly mistake for relying lazily on the weaknesses of the Petitioner’s case. The cost of not doing the right thing at the right time is always high!

Since the outcome of an appeal largely, if not completely so, hinges on the proceedings of the lower court (the Tribunal in this case) then, it is my humble opinion that NNPP’s (AKY’s) chances of winning at the Court of Appeal might not be as promising as many hope it to be. It shocked me that NNPP’s lawyers could not even establish that Abba AKY was a legitimate member of the party when he contested the 18th of March Governorship Election. The Tribunal was benevolent enough to point out some ways that they could have followed to establish it, but they couldn’t.


I, however, failed to grasp or discern why the Tribunal refused to apply “the principle of margin of lead” when it went ahead to declare that APC’s candidate, Nasiru Gawuna, as the winner of the election even though it had already found and in no uncertain terms admitted that the number of cancellations were in hundreds of thousands while its final finding showed Nasiru Gawuna was leading with tens of thousands only. The Tribunal, in my humble opinion, should have ordered for a re-run: based on that finding the election was supposed to be declared “inconclusive”.


The Tribunal also seems to have disregarded the provision of Section 63(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022 when it invalidated over 165,000 votes that were cast in favor of NNPP/AKY for the reason that the ballot papers were neither signed nor stamped, in other word, the ballot papers did not carry the official mark that was prescribed by the commission (INEC). The said provision of the Electoral Act is to the effect that even if a ballot paper is not signed or stamped the Presiding Office of the concerned Polling Unit can go ahead to count the ballot paper as valid.


All in all, I find some of the reasonings and conclusions of the Tribunal, based on what was laid before it, legally sound. But the Tribunal’s  failure to apply “the principle of margin of lead” as well as its apparent disregard to to the provision of Section 63(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022, do not sit well with me.


Even though it is trite that nobody knows, for sure, what a court of law will do, I will still strongly advise that AKY’s supporters (of which I am not ashamed to admit I am one) should manage their hopes regarding the chances of success in the Court of Appeal. This is because the odds seem frighteningly balanced. The scale might tilt in favor of any side.


The right thing to do right now is to pray for a “legal miracle” – whatever that means. Some miracle might happen, hopefully in the Court of Appeal as the Supreme Court rarely tempers with the concurrent findings of the lower courts (the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal) unless those findings are glaringly perverse or have occasioned a miscarriage of justice.



Rabiu Gama is Law student. He writes from the Faculty of Law Bayero University, Kano. He can be reached 09061912994 or on

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