By Bashir Abdullahi El-Bash
Wednesday October 2, 2019 was a day of joy not only for the elected Governor of Kano State Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, but for all the well-meaning, peace-loving people of Kano state.
Since the declaration of Governor Ganduje as the winner of the March 23 supplementary election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the people of Kano became relaxed because as far as they were concerned, the electoral process had been a smooth and successful one.
The spontaneous eruption of wild jubilation and celebrations across the length and breadth of the 44 local government area of Kano state was the greatest testimony to the victory of people’s will.
But unfortunately, despite the obvious victory of Governor Ganduje in the elections, the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate Abba Kabir Yusuf along with their long rejected Kwankwasiyya movement decided to challenge the will of the people at the Election Petition Tribunal.
Abba Kabir, supported by his godfather Rabiu Kwankwaso, compiled and handed over volumes of bogus and spurious claims to senior lawyers, who knew within themselves that they were presiding over a terribly bad and unwinnable case.
Nonetheless, over the course of three long months, the lawyers struggled to change the narrative of the original electoral events, alongside confused and inconsistent witnesses.
While the case lasted, Governor Ganduje’s own lawyers and those of the INEC and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) calmly and logically defended the case, rendering all the claims of the petitioners useless and illogical.
As expected, on the judgement day, Chairman of the three-member tribunal, Justice Halima shamaki, in a ruling read for over three hours dismissed the PDP’s petition seeking the nullification of Ganduje’s victory in March 9 and 23 governorship election.
The Tribunal ruled that the governorship candidate of PDP failed to proof his case against Ganduje and the APC in the March 9 and 23 governorship election, beyond reasonable doubt.
The Tribunal also upheld Ganduje’s election, adding that the cancellation that followed the Gama Ward election and others which subsequently brought about the March 23 re-run was not only constitutional, but valid.
Explaining why PDP prayers were struck out, Justice Halima Shamaki, said: “The difference between the outstanding votes at Gama was 128, 000 votes compared to the 26, 000 votes which the PDP governorship candidate, Abba Yusuf was leading on 9 March, 2019.There was need for the election to be concluded through the re-run of 23 March, 2019.”
Shamaki further averred that INEC complied with all laws, guidelines, regulation and the constitution in declaring the March 9 governorship election in the state inconclusive, by reorganizing a re-run.
She said the petitioners did not lead credible evidence to prove their case.
Justice Shamaki insisted that the decision to conduct a supplementary election was not a unilateral decision of INEC, but was brought about by the conducts of the party agents of both parties, including the petitioners.
As the news of the ruling broke, Kano people exploded in wild celebrations, which simply means the tribunal only affirmed what was already known. It was a victory for justice.
That was how Governor Ganduje, in one fell swoop, sent the trio of Abba Kabir, the PDP and the Kwankwasiya movement, crashing into a political grave, from which they are never expected to recover.
In the words of Governor Ganduje, his victory at the tribunal indicates that “truth prevails again”.
“When the election was held, we won and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) decided to challenge our victory in an election tribunal. It is clear to all now that, our victory is genuine, as being confirmed by the Tribunal,” he said.
The governor, in his magnanimity vowed not to discriminate against any part of Kano state in the execution of developmental projects.
“I am the governor for all, without any discrimination. And this is part of the cardinal principles of our great party, All Progressives Party (APC),” he said.
He reiterated his resolve to have an all-inclusive government, with open door policies, as he initiated in his first tenure in office, insisting that, “I will remain resolute, committed, focused and extremely dedicated to serve the people of our great state.”
Governor Ganduje thanked people for electing him for the second term and remaining resolute in their prayers as his victory was being challenged at the Tribunal, and he finally emerges victorious.
“Today, is but another day of joy and jubilation, when Tribunal confirms and reconfirms our earlier victory as given to us by electorates,” he said.
‘It’s a victory for democracy’—Buhari says
In his congratulatory message President Muhammadu Buhari described Governor Ganduje’s victory as a “victory for democracy”.
The President described the verdict of the Tribunals as a victory for democracy, commending the people of Kano and Plateau States for maintaining the peace, allowing the due process of law to prevail and respecting the role of the judiciary in a democracy.
“With the elections and tribunals now behind, the President urged the governors to unite their States by focusing more on inclusive and accountable governance and ensuring that all APC programmes targeted at improving the welfare of Nigerians are fully implemented,” Buhari said in a statement by Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity.
Don’t waste your resources on appeal—Muhammad Garba advises PDP
Meanwhile, Muhammad Garba, the immediate past commissioner for information in Kano state advised Abba Kabir Yusuf and his party the PDP to shun temptations to appeal the judgement of the Kano election tribunal.
Muhammed Garba, who is clearly concerned about peace and development as well as the political maturity of Kano state, urged Abba Kabir to accept defeat with dignity.
He said having been closely observing the tribunal’s proceedings, the PDP couldn’t prove its case and the case was thrown out for lack of merit.
Garba observed that PDP and its candidate have no case to appeal the judgment but to demonstrate the spirit of sportsmanship and avoid overheating the polity by giving the people false impression that it was rigged out during the election.
The former commissioner urged people in the state and particularly members and supporters of the APC to remain calm and avoid being tempted to engage in violence as security agents will not allow break down of law and order in the state.
59th Independence Anniversary: Our diversity breeds abundance in culture and heritage—Ganduje
Just as the celebrations of the election tribunal judgement were going on, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, used the opportunity to restate his commitment to peaceful coexistence across diverse ethnic groups in Kano state as Nigeria celebrated its 59th independence anniversary.
Governor Ganduje, who spoke at Sani Abacha Stadium, emphasized that it was imperative and more constructive for Nigeria as a nation to remain together than to be apart.
“Our diversity, which breeds abundance in our culture and heritage, should not be used as a tool to split us but rather brings us together for as long as there is understanding and respect ” he clarified.
Governor Ganduje, represented by his Deputy Nasiru Yusuf-Gawuna described the theme of this year’s celebration ‘Peaceful Coexistence for National Unity and Development’ as appropriate in view of the numerous challenges facing the Nation which include security, religious related tensions, ethnical disintegration and indigene-settler disputes among others.
In that regard, the Governor viewed reorientation of youth on the right values and attitudes as one of the intensive measures towards promotion of peace and Development of the State and the Nation at large.
He said “Our youth are our most valuable human assets and we believe that their destiny should not be defined by their circumstances or station in life. We can not therefore as parents, Government or as society, continue to make excuses for the difficulties that are restricting their hopes for a better life.
“This administration will maintain its friendly posture towards our youth that saw the empowerment of more than 200,000 youth in the State in the last four years and priority attention will continue to be given to youth development by tackling the challenges that keep them behind “.
The governor stressed that in the last four years, his administration had delivered significant milestones and advanced the progress of the State especially in the area of education, health, agriculture, infrastructure and job creation, adding that this second term would be another chance to take tough decisions on all the tasks ahead with courage, commitment and compassion.
“It is our belief that the best way to disseminate knowledge to all those who deserve it is through free education. Having declared free and compulsory education in the State at basic and secondary school level, we have already delivered that promise with commencement of the implementation of the policy last month.
“I wish to assure you that we will continue to improve our public schools and ensure that our children have access to the quality learning experience, empower our teachers with modern teaching skills to deliver better outcomes in the classrooms ” Ganduje assured.
On the State’s commitment to improve its system of healthcare delivery, Ganduje said the health sector had received a boost in the last four years with the completion and equipping of the two ultramodern hospitals namely: Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital and Khalifa Isyaka Rabi’u Paediatric Hospital, renovation, upgrade and equipping of more than 300 health facilities across the State.
The governor said the policy on the provision of infrastructures in both the urban and rural areas of the State would continue to be vigorously pursued which include construction and reconstruction of roads, flyover, underpass and bridges for the smooth movement of persons, goods and services with a view to boosting the State’s economy.
Other areas that the administration achieved significant improvement as stated by the Governor, are the State Government’s effort to stimulate sustainable food production and tackling the issue of herdsmen/Fulani dispute which had been mitigating the National Security System.