When on Friday, November 22, the Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna affirmed the verdict of Kano state governorship election Tribunal which on October 2, validated the re-election of Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the news did not come to many as a surprise. 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 meticulous manner which the chairperson of the Tribunal, Justice Halima Shamaki and her team delivered justice.
In the article I wrote immediately after the Tribunal verdict entitled, “Kano Guber Tribunal Verdict: A Case Of No Appeal,” I had advised the Peoples Democratic Party (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.
Recall that Justice Halima Shamaki upheld the re-election of Governor Ganduje, declaring that his victory in the March 23 supplementary election was lawful and valid. Justice Shamaki also added that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) acted within the ambits of the law to have declared Governor Ganduje the winner of that election having scored the highest votes.
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. But what they succeeded in doing was to invoke presumptions in their failed attempt to subvert the cause of justice. In a unanimous judgment, the Tribunal struck out all the petition which were based on speculations and held that the petitioners failed to give the number of votes cast for March 9 election by tendering Certified True Copies (CTC) of the result sheets. The chairman of the Tribunal further held that results in some areas like Wudil, Mangwa, Nasarawa and Gama Wards presented were not the True Certified Copies.
Interestingly, the Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna affirmed the re-election of Governor Ganduje. The appellate court dismissed the 24 grounds of appeal filed by the PDP and its candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf. I can recall that on November 18, the court commenced hearing of the appeal against the October 2 judgment of Election Petition Tribunal headed by Justice Halima Shamaki. I observed and listened carefully to the adoption of the petition by Counsels to the petitioners. I also listened to the responses by Counsels to the APC, INEC and Governor Ganduje. From their presentations, I was convinced that the respondents would emerge victorious.
Expectedly, in a unanimous judgment on Friday, the chairman of the Appeal Panel, Justice Tijjani Abubakar, upheld the judgment of the Tribunal, insisting that Governor Ganduje was validly elected.
Now that the Appeal Court has upheld the election of Governor Ganduje, my candid advice to the PDP and its candidate is to once again, accept defeat and join hands with the progressives to take Kano to the Next Level.
The Court of Appeal has affirmed the judgment; and I am hundred percent confident that even at the Supreme Court, the verdict will remain the same. I have read in the Social Media that they are considering approaching the Supreme Court. To me, I believe that would amount to waste of time and resources because the judgments of the Tribunal and the Appeal Court were clear enough.
What we should begin to commend is the magnanimity of Governor Ganduje who has promised 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. Already, we are aware that a good number of them are willing to join us. 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 befitting status of a Mega-City. The time to regain the lost glory of Kano has come. It is instructive that we disallow ourselves to become agents of distraction. The Ganduje administration is built on the tenets 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 pertinent to note that our resolve in the Next Level government is to take Kano to greater heights.
Malam Muhammad Garba is Kano state Commissioner of Information