The Nation Newspaper
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has revealed the joker used by the party to nail the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) at the Appeal Court last Friday.
Ganduje said that the NNPP’s desperation to have a governor in Kano State was its greatest undoing as it gave ticket to the sacked governor without noticing that INEC had closed accepting nomination forms.
The immediate past Kano State governor said they (APC) adequately exploited the development in their case and came out victorious.
Ganduje made the revelation while addressing some party supporters yesterday.
His words: “They were in PDP and when the crisis heated up and they were punched repeatedly they left the party and started groping for a platform. Unfortunately, they ran into a political party symbolizing fruits. They were given tickets because their leader was daydreaming; their leader was ambitious to be the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but he was frightened.
“And because they desperately wanted a governor in Kano State, the party gave them a ticket to contest. But they made a serious blunder because when they joined the party, INEC had closed submission of nomination forms. But they were blind and uneducated. They went into the ring without making careful observation of this.
“They did not know that we laid in wait. We took the file, submitted it to Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gwuna and told him to hold it tight. When we filed a petition at the Kano governorship election tribunal, we told the court that they were not fielded by the party. We told the court that when INEC closed accepting names of candidates, they did not join the party,”
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Friday, nullified the election of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State.
The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of justices, held that Governor Yusuf was not a valid candidate in the gubernatorial election held in the state on March 18.
It maintained that evidence that was adduced by the parties established that Governor Yusuf was not a member of the NNPP, at the time the election was held.
Basking on the euphoria of last Friday’s victory at the Appeal Court, Kano State gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, yesterday announced his mission. He said “our mission is growth and development through improvement of the living standard of residents and citizens of Kano State.”
Gawuna was deputy governor under former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, who is now the national chairman of the APC.
Praising God for his victory at the Court of Appeal on Friday, Gawuna said the court only affirmed the truth about the gubernatorial contest between him and Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf who has been sacked by the appellate court.
“The affirmation of the truth by the Appeal Court will surely strengthen democracy.
“I want to use the opportunity to commend the judges of both the election tribunal and the court of appeal for standing by the truth to ensure that justice prevailed.
“Both judgements have reaffirmed that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man.
“This is a victory for all the residents and citizens of the state, therefore I am seeking the support of everyone irrespective of party affiliation to join hands with me and my running-mate Alh.Murtala Sule Garo in the advancement of Kano.
“I have to thank our amiable leader, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Dr.Abdullahi Umar Ganduje,the Deputy Senate President Sen.Barau Jibrin and the two ministers from Kano State for their support.
“My appreciation also goes to the hardworking State APC Chairman Alh.Abdullahi Abbas, Party Executives, Members of the National and State Assemblies, Local Government Chairmen and Party stalwarts from ward to state level.
“I wish to commend all the Ulamahs, Business Community,Youths and Women Groups for their solidarity and prayers.
“Our mission is growth and development through improvement of the living standard of the residents and citizens of Kano State.
“I am calling on the residents and citizens of the State to remain calm and continue to be law abiding.”
Reacting to the judgement, the sacked governor of Kano State, Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf, yesterday announced his intention to appeal against Friday’s nullification of his election by the Court of Appeal at the Supreme Court.
He said he and his party -the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) would regain his election at the apex court.
“We are optimistic that the Supreme Court will reaffirm our mandate given by the people of Kano State,’’ he said in a statement signed by his media aide, Bature Dawakin-Tofa.
The sacked governor said: “I hereby inform the people of Kano State and well-meaning Nigerians that based on consensus of our stakeholders, we have instructed our lawyers to appeal against the judgment at the Supreme Court.
“We are optimistic that the Supreme Court will set aside these miscarriages of justice by the Election Petition Tribunal and the Appeal Court.
“We are also optimistic that the Supreme Court will reaffirm our mandate given by the people of Kano State.”
He called on the people of Kano to go about their legitimate businesses as the government had taken necessary measures to ensure the security of their lives and properties as a cardinal responsibility.
Yusuf described his loss at the Court of Appeal as a temporary setback, assuring that “the temporary setback would not deter my administration from its commitment to continue with laudable projects and programmes to restore the lost glory of the state.”
The sacked governor also promised to roll out more initiatives to deliver dividends of democracy to the people of Kano State.
Speaking in the same vein, the founder of the NNPP, Dr Boniface Aniebonam, described the Appeal Court ruling as a rude shock to the party.
He said that only the party (NNPP) could determine who its members are and not the court.
“Again, it was a rude shock to me hearing the verdict of the Appeal Court in Abuja against the governor of Kano State, Abba Yusuf of NNPP.
“I do know that it is only the NNPP and its members that can determine who is a party member.
“I also know that a party and its members can bring a person into the party and grant such a person a waiver to go into an election and represent the party in an election.
“I also know and believe that only someone who contested a nomination under the NNPP can challenge the party’s membership in an election.
“To the contrary, no other person has the right to raise an objection,” Aniebonam said in a statement .
He, however, said that the NNPP still believed that justice would not only be done but seen to have been done.
Aniebonam further said “Our hope is alive ahead of the Supreme Court judgment in due time.
“I hereby encourage all members of our great party, and indeed the indigenes of Kano in particular, to keep faith in the final decision of God under these avoidable circumstances.”
APC using clandestine moves to turn Nigeria into a one party state, says NNPP
The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of using clandestine moves to annihilate other political parties and drag the country into a one party system.
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja yesterday, Acting National Chairman of the NNPP, Alhaji Kawu Ali said the APC must immediately halt its moves to truncate democracy in the country and turn the country into a one party state.
Ali said the international community must also take steps to support the country to deepen multi-party democracy and stop the APC from turning Nigeria into a one –party state.
He described the Appeal Court judgement as a convoluted judgment, saying “we are gathered here today to convey our outright rejection of and express our dismay at the ruling of the Court of Appeal in respect of the only elected governor on the platform of our dear party, the New Nigeria peoples Party NNPP.
“To say the least, we are shocked at the miscarriage of justice delivered on Friday 17th November, 2023 on the Governorship Election Petition of Kano State.
“You would recall that the candidate of our party, in the March 2023 governorship election in Kano State, Alhaji Abba Kabir was overwhelmingly elected by the good people of Kano State with a whopping votes of 1,019,602 to defeat the APC candidate who came a distant second. The margin between Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf and the APC candidate was around 130,000 votes.
“You may also recall that the candidate of the APC conceded defeat and congratulated Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf immediately. Surprisingly, after the issuance of Certificate of Return by INEC, the APC filed a bogus petition before the election tribunal which its own candidate refused to join.
“In spite of overwhelming evidence presented to the tribunal by our team of lawyers, the tribunal passed one of the most ridiculous judgments in the history of election jurisprudence in Nigeria and unjustly declared the APC candidate, who never joined the petition as the winner of the election.
“Believing in the credibility of the judiciary and its ability to correct any error of judgment by the lower court, our party approached the Court of Appeal and prayed the appellate court to set aside the unjust ruling of the lower court.
“To our greatest shock and consternation, the Court of Appeal on Friday 17th November, 2023 delivered a convoluted judgment that was anchored around their erroneous belief that Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf was not a member of the NNPP.
“To claim that His Excellency Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf was not a member of the NNPP at the time of the 2023 general election, is to say the least, the worst of mischief anybody can come up with. For the avoidance doubt, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf was, and is still a card carrying bonafide member of the NNPP.
“Any claim to the contrary is only in the figment of the imagination of the mischief –makers. How could he have contested the election when the INEC portal for the submission of Candidates Nomination and Expression of Interest Forms could not have accepted any form that was not uploaded together with the copy of the NNPP Membership Card of the nominee?
“For our party, and we are sure for INEC as well, the issue of Membership of Candidate is a non-issue since the system of nomination is designed by INEC in such a way that only registered members can be nominated and uploaded onto the portal.
“It is therefore unbelievable that the Appeal Court would refuse to look at the merit of our party’s appeal and cling to the erroneous issue of membership that has already been settled severally by both the Appeal and Supreme Courts.
“We are therefore informing all members of the NNPP and indeed all Nigerians that our party has already briefed our lawyers to appeal this injustice at the Supreme Court.
“While we believe that the Supreme Court will correct the errors of the tribunal and the Appeal Court and restore the mandate of the good people of Kano State by re-affirming Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf as the duly elected Governor of Kano State, we are not unmindful of the political desperation of the APC leaders in Kano State, who were roundly rejected at the polls and who are now scampering to hijack power at all cost through the chambers of the Court as they did in 2019.
“We are therefore calling on all well-meaning Nigerians to intervene in the Kano situation as it is increasingly becoming the test case for the survival of democracy in Nigeria and the credibility of the judicial system.
“The ruling party must not be allowed to be using the chambers of the Courts to annihilate and incinerate opposition parties.
“We pray that the Judiciary would live up to its calling as the temple of justice and the last hope of the common man. So far members of the NNPP Nationwide and the people of Kano State are yet to get justice from the Judiciary.
“We are therefore calling on the ruling party to save democracy in Nigeria by halting their clandestine moves to annihilate all other political parties and drag the country into a one party system.
“We are calling on the international community to support our country to deepen multi-party democracy and stop the APC from turning the country into a one –party state.”
Merger talks: Shendam not speaking for NNPP – Nat’l chairman
The National leadership of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) says Yabuku Shendam is not its National Publicity Secretary, and so, cannot speak for the party including rumoured merger plan with other political parties.
The NNPP National Chairman, Dr Major Agbo, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday, said that Alhaji Abdulsalam Abdulrasaq, remained the National Publicity Secretary of the NNPP.
“We insist he is not a card carrying member of our party but probably the spokesman of Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso’s kwankwasiya group,” Agbo said.
The chairman was reacting to recent statements by Shendam on the reported call by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP for a merger among opposition parties to wrestle power from the APC in 2027.
He said that Shendam was quoted as saying “the NNPP could only accept the proposal if Atiku would support Kwankwaso, to wrest power from the APC in 2027”.
Agbo described Shendam as speaking for Kwankwaso whom he said, had long been expelled from the party by the NNPP Board of Trustees (BoT).
“The BoT in its meeting on Aug. 28, had expelled Kwankwaso and the decision was ratified by the National Convention of Aug. 29 in Lagos due to anti party activities and other serious infractions.
“Kwankwaso is no longer a member of our party, cannot be its presidential candidate in 2027 and Shendam needs to know this,” he said.
Agbo said the party was not, however, averse to any proposition that could bring true dividends of democracy to ordinary Nigerians“Every Nigerian is interested in having a true democracy that is all inclusive, what we have now is far away from democracy.
“So, if there is a proposition by opposition elements to ensure that democracy is installed, why not?.
“However, that proposition must be given a good thought, considered by the founder and other founding members of our party,” he said.
He said that such a proposition must also be considered by the National Working Committee led by him, and not by Kwankwaso and his kwankwassiya group.
Agbo added: “Anything that will make Nigerians witness democracy is accepted but our certificate is independent.
“Our certificate cannot be subsumed into any other as being imagined by Kwankwaso, Buba Galadima, Shendam and their kwankwassiya group who are no longer members of our party.”