November 27, (THEWILL) – Residents of Kano State have entered yet another tense mood as they await the judgement of the Supreme Court in the Appeal filed by Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigeria People’s Party(NNPP) against the recent verdict of the Court of Appeal which affirmed Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress(APC) as the winner of the March 18 governorship election in the state.
The Appeal Court had in its judgment upheld the verdict of the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan Osadebay which on September 20,2023 voided the election of Governor Abba Yusuf and declared Dr. Gawuna as the duly elected Governor of the state.
The judgment ignited wild celebrations among supporters of the APC in the state who viewed it as one more and last step to reclaim the Kano Government House which their party lost during the governorship poll,as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC),then.
In the ensuing jubilations,however,a controversy emerged that in the Certified True Copy(CTC) of the judgment issued by the Appeal Court, Abba Yusuf was affirmed as the duly elected Governor of the state,as disclosed by the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice,Haruna Isa Dederi.
Dederi, who made the disclosure while addressing a news conference in Kano,said in the fresh revelation as indicated in the written judgement, the Court of Appeal had set aside the judgement of the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal for lacking in merit.
“The evidence contained in page 67 of the copy of the Appeal court judgement released on Tuesday and signed by Registrar Jameel Ibrahim Umar, the appellate court upheld the victory of Abba Kabiru Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party NNPP as the duly elected Governor of Kano State,” he said.
The commissioner’s revelation, kind of, brought out the NNPP faithful from their “mourning mood”, as they now began to celebrate the Appeal Court decision, claiming that the verdict was in their favour, afterall.
Thus,a situation of jubilations and counter jubilations emerged, with supporters of both the APC and the NNPP seeing the judgment as an affirmation of their respective governorship candidates.
The scenario persisted in spite of the clarification by the Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Umar Bangari, that the purported discrepancy in the CTC was a clerical error that did not affect the court’s final decision.
“What happened in the part of the judgment is just a mere clerical error that ought not to draw any issue. The court is empowered to correct such clerical errors and would be done as appropriate,” Bangari said.
As the two-sided celebrations prevailed,it emerged that supporters of the two political parties had decided to march to the streets to ventilate their perception of the Appeal Court judgement, which further heightened the palpable tension in the state.
But the protest march which was scheduled to be held last Saturday drew the attention of the Kano State Police Command which said that it had not authorized the gathering and that it would deal ruthlessly with anyone who indulged in it.
“Credible information at the command’s disposal revealed that some groups of people claiming to be political party supporters of both the NNPP and the APC are using various media platforms and mobilising people and planning to enter the streets on Saturday, November 25, 2023, to stage protest against the Kano State Governorship Appeal Court’s verdict.
”The information further revealed that the intention of the protesters is to shut down the state and attack prominent political party opponents; an action which may result in violence.
“At this juncture, the police command is making it categorically clear that no formal notice was received from any of these political parties about the plan to conduct any protest or gathering.
“The police command is issuing this warning to all residents of the state to be extra careful as whoever intends to conduct any protest or procession should do so only in accordance with the provisions of the law.
“Furthermore, the position of the law is very clear, whoever attempts to disrupt the peace in the state will be arrested and made to face the wrath of the law,”the command warned.
The planned protests, however,failed to hold,as the parties’ supporters stayed away, obviously due to the heavy presence of fierce-looking security personnel including policemen and soldiers that took positions in strategic parts of the state capital.
However, a day later, precisely on Sunday, some hundreds of women believed to be members of the NNPP defied the police order and thronged the streets of the state capital to voice their concerns over the Appeal Court judgement.
The women carried placards and sang songs in support of Governor Abba Yusuf as they marched to the headquarters of the State Police Command in Bompai.
One of the protesters, Hajiya Rabi Hotoro said:
“We are staging this protest because we believe in democracy and the independence of the judiciary; we call on the relevant stakeholders to do the needful and allow the will of the Kano people to prevail.”
Although the women’s protest ended peacefully, it, however, recharged the tense political atmosphere in the state, as it gave a teaser of what to expect from party supporters after the Supreme Court judgement.
Meanwhile,the clock is already ticking towards the day the Supreme Court will deliver its verdict that will end the raging battle for the Kano Government House,as the decision of the Apex Court is final and total.
Many of the residents interviewed, expressed hope that supporters of the two rival political parties will exercise restraint in celebrating and/or rejecting the judgement when it is finally delivered, “so as to allow peace to reign in the state.”
About the Author
Abdullahi Yusuf is a seasoned journalist, communicator and was previously the Deputy Editor-In-Chief and Zonal Manager, News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Jos, where he retired on December 15, 2021