Few hours to the much awaited verdict ending the long battle of political ascendancy between the incumbent governor of Kano state, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and his closest rival in the 2019 governorship election, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, loyalists of the two power blocs are in high spirits as they both wait in optimism of emerging triumphant at the apex court.
The Supreme Court had last week adjourned the ruling till Monday on the appeal instituted by Abba K. Yusuf and his party the PDP challenging the decisions of both the Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna and the Election Petitions Tribunal which in separate rulings upheld the electoral victory of Ganduje after the March 24th supplementary election in the state.
Some of the supporters who spoke to our reporter from both camps expressed optimism in winning the case given the facts they both presented before the court and the precedence set by the court in deciding other election appeals from other states.
It would be recalled that the apex court had sacked Emeka Ihedioha of PDP as governor of Imo state and declared Senator Hope Uzodinma of the APC winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in the state.
Premised on Imo state judgement, some of the supporters of the PDP candidate in Kano state said they are hopeful that justice would be done to their candidate despite the initial rulings at the Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal respectively.
According to Ahmed Abdullahi, “We are hopeful that Abba Gidagida will win the case because of the precedence set in the Imo state governorship appeal. Unlike the usual process where justice is only served for the powerful, those in power and authority, with the credible people we have in the judiciary we are confident that justice would be done for Abba and the PDP in Kano.”
Rabiu Ahmad Fagge, recalled how PDP supporters were hunted and intimidated by hired thugs during the supplementary election, saying “that intimidation of voters alone is enough reason for the court to declare the supplementary poll null and void and probably order for a fresh rerun”
Some of the Kwankwasiyya members however were pessimistic, arguing that APC-led federal government would not let go of Kano state from its control because of its role in deciding who wins the presidential election.
Malam Murtala Abdulrahman Sheka, one of the PDP supporters who held that view said federal government has vested interest in Kano state and therefore would not allow PDP to take over the leadership of the state.
He said, “It is impossible for the Court to remove Ganduje and give Abba because Kano is like a university for political manipulation to any politician in Nigeria as such the government at the top will never let it go. Unless the judges will look beyond primordial interest and influence, Abba will not win.”
Some members of the ruling party who spoke to our reporter also said they are optimistic that Ganduje’s victory would be upheld at the apex court having won the same case at the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
Allahji Musa Yakasai, dismissed the claims that Kano governorship appeal is similar to Imo state’s expressing confidence that Ganduje would emerge victorious.
He said, “There is no similarity between Kano and Imo state appeals in any way. In Imo, the Supreme court confirmed that results of 388 polling units where APC candidate scored 213, 695 votes were excluded from result declared by INEC but in Kano it was not like that, no single unit was excluded in the governorship poll. It is a case of the margin between the two candidates and the number of invalid votes as provided in the electoral act. So for someone to take judgement on Imo as precedence, I think he must be deceiving himself.”
It would be recalled that the state commissioner of information, Alhaji Muhammed Garba had earlier issued a statement in which he berated PDP supporters for claiming that Imo governorship case is apposite to the Kano appeal.
He described the claims as deceptive and unjustified saying there is no correlation between the facts and circumstances of the Emeka Ihedioha case and that of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
Reacting to the statement, Sanusi Bature Dawakin-Tofa, spokesman to Engr. Abba K. Yusuf said the party would not comment on his claims as the matter is already before the supreme court awaiting final verdict.
He said, “We are law abiding citizens and proceeded to the court to seek redress on the injustice meted against the people of Kano State by the incumbent Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, INEC and the Police.
“We believe in all honesty that the supreme court will do justice to our petition, so we don’t want to pre-empt the outcome of the panel of judges.
“No amount of propaganda can change our faith, power belongs to Allah and He gives it to who He wishes at the very time He so wishes” he added.
Engineer Abba had won the March 9th 2019 governorship election with a margin of 26,655 votes before the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC declared the election inconclusive based on the provision of the Electoral Act on the margin between the winner and the runner up and the number of rejected or invalid votes.
The supplementary election which took place in 29 local government areas including the contentious Gama ward of Nassarawa Local government area was characterized by violence and voter intimidation, according to reports.
INEC declared Ganduje winner having scored 45,876 votes during the supplementary votes.
Meanwhile the PDP has asked the Justice Tanko Mohammed-led Supreme Court panel that heard the 2019 governorship appeal on Imo to recuse itself from the pending cases on Bauchi, Sokoto, Benue and Adamawa states.