By Abdulaziz Abdulaziz
What is leadership? Or, more correctly; what makes leadership impactful? Is leadership impact measured by the bricks and mortar actions of today or by aggregation of the strategic steps that gives a delayed but rewarding tomorrow? Is a desired leadership one that puts bought cookies on the table today or the one that aims to build bakeries and produce enough bakers to sufficiently meet our bakery needs in the future?
Well, pardon the barrage of questions, dear reader. Those are no questions that may require immediate resolution, apparent as the answers may seem. But they are vital posers that we need to ponder on in determining the marking scheme for any political leadership.
But while you are pondering, let me draw your attention to an event that occurred at the beginning of the week in Lagos. You might have read about it, or saw the exciting pictures flying around in the media. The Lagos State Government on Monday flagged off commercial operation for its Blue Light Rail Line. The governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was all smile as he joined the inaugural ride from Marina to Mile 2 in the glistening coaches. While Governor Sanwo-Olu takes the pride and the credit of being the governor under whose watch the rail line opens to passengers, the event on Monday has a history as long as the train coaches.
When the Blue Line was due for commissioning last year, Governor Sanwo-Olu himself gave a detailed recount of the actors and factors that paved the way for the Lagos light rail system. It didn’t happen over night or over the course of one administration. Indeed the story of what is now a beautiful infrastructure started with an election into office of a visionary governor and reformer-leader, over 24 years ago.
It was not Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu (as he then was) who laid the first blocks for the light rail system. He did not award the contract even. He did much more than that. His decision that Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve-centre and former capital city deserved to be more than the jungle it was, was the most important foundation, well before the engineers laid the first stones for the rail project.
The then Governor Tinubu gave the Lagos the futuristic leadership whose full benefits are still being reaped, over 15 years after he left office. The rail line, as Governor Sanwo-Olu duly acknowledged, was Tinubu’s brainchild which benefited from inputs from successive governors and technocrats before coming into fruition. The story of the Lagos light rail resembles the story of many other tangible and intangible initiatives that made Lagos a model to all states in Nigeria and an envy of its peers anywhere.
This illustration is vital especially at a time like this when a section of the public – buoyed by the media’s near canonisation of a borrowed American concept of “100 days in office” –seems to be in a frenzy to judge 1,460-day tenure by the first 100 days. Yes, there is a saying in Hausa that signs of a good Friday could be perceived from the preceding Wednesday. And in this regard the Tinubu administration has shown good signs of a great future. The strategic leadership being provided by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu are meant to put Nigeria on a sure footing for enduring progress and development.
Conscious of the usual judgement that comes at the end of the first 100 days, many leaders are wont to rush into laying blocks and asphalts to satisfy the mediocre demand of “something to show”, even if those things to show are short-lived niceties that would not translate into any long term gain. Others would opt for politically-correct adventures just to pander to populist appeals. We had, for example, a leader who within his first 100 days rolled back many critical decisions taken by his predecessor to gain public applause but over 15 years later we are here paying for those misguided decisions.
For President Tinubu, who believes, like all great leaders in history, that leadership is a quantum of critical decisions and bold steps capable of impacting positively on the society in the long run, he is in no hurry for quick applause. Quick fixes and populist actions could generate immediate praises, but to what end? For perceptive leaders, leadership is a marathon that is adjudged by how well one persevered, remained focused and strategic to get to the finished line. It is not a relay race which requires all rush and less tact.
For President Tinubu, the best measure of successful leadership is the quantum of qualitative actions and decisions not quantitative. What are the timeless policies and actions that one bequeaths to the coming generation? What are the personal examples and traits, what changes to the system were made to strengthen efficiency? In the last 100 days, President Tinubu has demonstrated that he is made of the finest stuffs as a leader, looking at these parameters.
First, he has demonstrated he possesses the salient traits of many great leaders in history; vision and courage to take action. The visionary is the one who realises the need to save the future of our children by stopping a dangerous trend of borrowing to fund fraudulent fuel subsidy. It is only a courageous leader who can dare the subsidy cabal and, against his wish, administer on the larger public the bitter pill in striking off the fuel subsidy. There are many other examples.
There were government officials who felt they were government unto themselves. Indeed some of them had set up fiefdoms within the government and felt they could even undermine the President while taking Nigerians for a ride. President Tinubu has demonstrated that this was impossible under his watch.
Yet, while taking some of the bold and courageous decisions with inadvertent impact on the average Nigerian, President Tinubu remains a very compassionate leader. I have seen him grimaced every time he discusses the pains people go through as the result of the fuel subsidy removal. He knows, because he has ears to the ground. This was why he kept prodding all officials and state governors who have the mandate to roll out government’s interventions to cushion the effect. But more importantly, he is constantly thinking and working on ways that the savings government made from the subsidy removal would go into meaningful enterprises. The priority sectors are those capable of catapulting growth, notably energy and transportation infrastructure.
Setting the building blocks for solving Nigeria’s legendary problems of dysfunctional public sector, poor revenue base and lack of optimisation of the available resources as well as resolving the infrastructure gaps are the issues on top of President Tinubu’s priority list. It is also around them that he has devoted most of his energy and attention in the last 100 days. The belief, by all development experts, is that addressing those issues are what would turnaround the fortunes of Nigeria. These are not things that can be done in 100 days but the steps to attain them are firmly on course.
Abdulaziz is Senior Special Assistant to the President on Print Media
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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