By MUHAMMAD GARBA
It was a jubilant jiffy for millions of Kano residents on Monday morning when the news of the avowal of the election of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje by the wise Justices of the Supreme Court sieved into the ancient commercial city. Though the victory was very much expected, the treacherous flimflam launched by the opposition few days to the Supreme Court judgment almost created tautness and fright in the minds of many residents.
The news of how Kano residents broke into desolate euphoria over the affirmation of Governor Ganduje’s re-election was everywhere. People were exultant and they did not hide their ecstasy. To them, Ganduje’s victory is a victory for the people. It is a foundation for the accomplishment of the vision to make Kano a Mega City. Indeed, it is a victory for the free education of the Kano children, obliteration of poverty, youth and women empowerment, infrastructural development and human development.
Right from the first stage of the legal scrimmage at the Kano state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal led by Justice Halima Shamaki, ardent observers of the tribunal proceedings were already envisaging the consequence of the case even within the court premises. At the close of its sitting which lasted for 174 days, the three-member tribunal, upheld the re-election of Kano state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, declaring that his victory in the March 23 supplementary election was lawful and valid.
Analysts and even legal practitioners who affianced in discussions over the tribunal’s translucent proceedings already knew where the plumb would swing. This explained why the verdict of tribunal did not come to most people as a surprise. In the article I wrote instantaneously after the Tribunal verdict entitled, “Kano Guber Tribunal Verdict: A Case Of No Appeal,” I had also advised the PDP and its gubernatorial candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf to accept the verdict of the Tribunal in good faith because it was crystal clear that they have no case to appeal.
In fact, before I set out for Kaduna to witness the verdict, I was fully convinced that victory would come our way, having witnessed all the tribunal proceedings in Kano as well as the persnickety manner which the chairperson of the Tribunal and her team delivered justice.
However, the PDP did not heed to my advice and rushed to the Court of Appeal in Kaduna, where the court, at its sitting on Friday, November 22, affirmed the verdict of Kano state Governorship Election Tribunal and validated the re-election of Governor Ganduje.
While reviewing the case, the Court held that the PDP and its candidate could not produce direct evidence to substantiate and prove to the tribunal that they were not defeated in the March 23 supplementary election. The Appellate Court, therefore, dismissed the 24 grounds of appeal filed by the PDP and its candidate. Expectedly, in an undivided judgment, the chairman of the Appeal Panel, Justice Tijjani Abubakar, espoused the judgment of the tribunal, averring that Governor Ganduje was validly elected.
At the conclusion of the case, I had again advised the PDP and its gubernatorial candidate, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf to resist the crackpot advice of approaching the Supreme Court, knowing full well that they have no case to present.
In a unanimous judgment delivered at the court, on Monday, January 20, the seven-man panel headed by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, dismissed the appeal by candidate of the PDP since the facts presented did not support the appeal, which was predicated on a single ground. The judgement, which was read by Justice Nwali Ngwuta also held that the petitioner failed to substantively prove and provide evidence that there was any irregularity in the election held on March 9 and the supplementary election on March 23, 2019.
Ominously, the Supreme Court verdict confirmed the total downfall of the Kwnakwasiyya structure in Kano politics. Less than 24 hours after the judgment, we have begun to receive emissaries from staunch members of the group who have declared their intention to openly deprecate their membership and join the Next Level government. Fortunately for them, Governor Ganduje has extended a hand of fellowship to them. They are welcome because the primary aim of his administration is to ensure development in the state and unfetter the people from poverty.
This is why we should begin to commend the altruism of Governor Ganduje who has vowed to run an all-inclusive government. The leadership of our great party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) has also promised to welcome anybody who decided to join the Next Level train. There are vacancies in the train of victory and we will be willing to welcome them to join hands with Governor Ganduje to rebuild Kano and give our dear state its seemly status of a Mega-City.
The Ganduje’s administration is built on the canons of democracy and rule of law. We view the opposition as no threats. We welcome constructive criticisms of those who decided to stay on the other side, but it is apposite to note that our resolve in the Next Level government is to take Kano to greater heights.
For the good people of Kano state, they should expect nothing less than good governance built on the principles of prudent management of tax payers’ money, transparency and open door policy. We are, indeed, set to put Kano on the front pew of the most economic vibrant cities in Africa.
The next four years of this administration will surely be characterized with the execution of people-oriented projects and implementation of human development policies. With the prayers and cooperation of the people, we will not fail. The electorate will have no cause to regret giving us their mandate.
Garba is the commissioner, Information, Kano state