Anxiety as Kano, others await S’Court verdicts on gov elections

  • font size  
Anxiety as Kano, others await S’Court verdicts on gov elections

There is palpable anxiety among party stakeholders and supporters ahead of the Supreme Court judgment expected to be delivered this January on the various petitions challenging the rulings of the Court of Appeal on the governorship elections.

After the March 18, 2023, governorship elections in the states, some of the aggrieved candidates and their parties went to court challenging the declaration of some of their opponents as winners of the exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Some of the governorship election cases began from various state tribunals and appeal Courts, before they eventually ended at the Supreme Court.

States like Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Nasarawa, Benue, and Bauchi are among those expecting the final judgment from the apex court.

Kano

In Kano State, anxiety has continued to mount as residents await the apex court judgment on the state governorship election dispute as supporters of the two warring parties in the state; the New Nigeria Peoples Party and the All Progressives Congress, stage protests and rallies against and for the judgment of the Appeal Court.

The appellate court had affirmed the verdict of the tribunal that sacked Governor Abba Yusuf and declared the candidate of the APC, Dr Nasiru Gawuna, as the authentic winner.

Supporters of the NNPP have continued to fault the Appeal Court ruling, especially the controversy surrounding the claim that two different judgments were delivered, which were against and also in favour of the incumbent governor.

On the contrary, the APC supporters continued to hail the two judgments which favoured their candidate.

The anxiety in the state had compelled the Kano State Police Commissioner, Gumel, to ban all protests or rallies and forced the leadership of both parties to sign a peace accord, even though this has not yielded much result as there were incidents of violence.

Speaking to Saturday PUNCH, a chieftain of APC in the state, Alhaji Alhassan Yaryasa, said the NNPP supporters should be blamed for the tension in the state.

“You see all that the NNPP supporters are doing is just to get public sympathy because they didn’t win the governorship election at the beginning,” he said.

However, effort to speak with the state NNPP Chairman, Alhaji Hashimu Dungurawa, failed as he didn’t respond to several phone calls from one of our correspondents.

Residents fear in Benue

In Benue State, anxiety and expectations are high as residents await the Supreme Court verdict on the appeal of the governorship candidate of the PDP, Titus Uba, challenging the judgments of the tribunal and the Appeal Court, which upheld the election of Hyacinth Alia of the APC, as the winner of the governorship election in the state.

Saturday PUNCH spoke with some of the residents who expressed fear over the possible outcome of the final judgment.

One of the residents, who simply identified himself only as Julius for security reasons, stated that the civil servants and retirees in the state were currently in prayers for the governor to win at the apex court.

However, both the publicity secretaries of the ruling APC and the opposition PDP, Daniel Ihomun and Bemgba Iortyom respectively expressed confidence in winning the final judgment. While the APC believed that the governor convincingly won the election, the PDP stressed its hope of getting justice at the Supreme Court.

Ogun PDP, APC confident

Meanwhile, the PDP in Ogun State has re-echoed its optimism of upturning Governor Dapo Abiodun’s victory at the apex court.

The Secretary of the party, Dr Sunday Solarin, claimed that the mandate was given to the party’s governorship candidate, Oladipupo Adebutu, but was allegedly stolen by the APC, even as he (Solarin) expressed the hope that the mandate would return as the rightful winner.

But the APC’s Publicity Secretary, Tunde Oladunjoye, in his reaction, charged Adebutu to concentrate on the allegations of vote-buying and money laundering levelled against him rather than misleading their members and the public with “boastful desperation, false hope”.

In Lagos, the Head, Media and Communications for Jandor4Governor Campaign Organisation, Gbenga Ogunleye, told Saturday PUNCH that the Lagos State chapter of the PDP and its governorship candidate, Dr Olajide Adediran, would be victorious at the Supreme Court.

He explained that the focus of their petition at the apex court was to challenge the qualification of the declared winner, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the APC, as laid down in the electoral law, adding that the Justices of the Supreme Court would look at the facts of the matter before delivering the justice.

Contacted for reaction, the state chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Cornelius Ojelabi, refused to comment on the matter, saying, “The judgment will soon be delivered and it doesn’t make sense for us to start making commentary on that.

“We’ve been to the tribunal and Appeal Courts and we won. They went for the first and second and they failed. It is a matter of days for the Supreme Court to pronounce the judgment and that will be the end of the story.”

In Nasarawa State, the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal had earlier in a split judgment of two to one, nullified the election of Governor Abdullahi Sule of the APC and declared David Ombugadu of the PDP as the winner of the election.

However, the Appeal Court, in a unanimous judgment, reversed the verdict of the tribunal and upheld the election of Governor Sule after which the matter was taken to the Supreme Court.

Commenting, the state APC Chairman, Aliyu Bello, expressed confidence in being victorious at the apex court and that the party was undisturbed as there were documents to back up their election victory at the court, advising members and supporters of the PDP to shun unguarded utterances capable of causing tension in the state.

The PDP Chairman in the state, Francis Orogu, noted that the available documents and evidence would give the party and its candidate the desired justice.

Bauchi APC optimistic

In a related development, the acting Chairman of the APC in Bauchi State, Muhammad Hassan-Tilde, explained tone of our correspondents that the party was hopeful of victory based on the grounds upon which the petitions challenging the judgments of the tribunal and the Appeal Court which upheld Governor Bala Mohammed of the PDP, were based.

Hassan-Tilde, who called on their supporters to remain optimistic and prayerful, further said that there was a strong belief that their candidate, Sadique Abubakar, would be victorious at the apex court.

[Punch]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *