By Eric Elezuo
With the rather unexpected verdict of the Supreme Court, which sacked the administration of Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State, feelers reaching The Boss reveals that untold fear has gripped the camp of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State. This is because the situation that led the removal of the Peoples Democratic Party government of Ihedioha from Imo State government House holds sway in Kano, with some saying that whatever miracle that saves Ganduje will be countered with an uprising.
In his assessment while frowning at what transpired between the judiciary and Ihedioha, a former leader of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and former ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Buba Galadima, described the Supreme Court verdict, which declared Hope Uzodinma Imo State governor-elect as the greatest wonder in world history.
He said: “What has happened is that the Supreme Court has now tied itself because how can they do that to Emeke Ihedioha and refuse Abba Kabiru Yusuf in Kano? It was exactly what had happened in Kano.
“If an election had to be cancelled, it has to be at the polling unit level according to the Supreme Court. But in Kano, the votes were not cancelled at the polling unit; they were not cancelled at the ward level but they were cancelled at the local level. So, it goes without saying that Ganduje is gone, and anything to the contrary, Nigeria will see the fire.”
But responding, Coordinator of Governor Ganduje’s legal team, Mohammad Abdullahi Lawan, argued that Galadima’s view has absolutely no correlation with the facts and circumstances of the Ihedioha case and that of Ganduje, insisting that Galadima’s point was an exhibition of crass ignorance of the law.
In a statement made available to journalists, Lawan explained, “In the former (Ihedioha case), while there was glaring evidence of cancellation of results by officials other than the presiding officers, in Governor Ganduje’s case, there was no evidence of such cancellation by officials order than the presiding officers.
“Instead, there was proven evidence in the Governor Ganduje case, that the cancellation of some of the 207 polling units were carried out by the respective presiding officers of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the polling units, as was clearly depicted in the numerous Form ECG 40s tendered and admitted in evidence without any objections by the petitioners.
“Again, in the Ganduje case, INEC failed to collate the results of 62 polling units in Gama ward comprising over 48,000 registered voters in an election with a lead margin of only 26,000 votes! “What is worse is that the disruption of the collation of the results was caused by the PDP agent, one Dr. Yakasai, who testified as PW30.”
“He admitted that while the results were being collated, a commotion arose and he took away the original results of INEC and hid in a room for over one hour! In the end, only 12 of those results were tendered in court,” he stated.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Ganduje, winner of the Kano State governorship supplementary election held on March 23, 2019.
Mr Ganduje lost the first election held on March 9 by a slim margin, but his total votes in the two polls put him ahead of his main challenger, the candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abba Yusuf.
Before the supplementary election, Mr Yusuf was leading Mr Ganduje with about 26,000 votes after he polled 1,014,474 votes to Mr Ganduje’s 987,819 votes, leaving a difference of 26,655 votes.
In the supplementary election held in 28 out of the 44 local government areas in the state, Mr Ganduje won by scoring 45,876 votes to Mr Yusuf’s 10,239 thereby up turning the result in his favour, INEC said.
The State Returning Officer Bello Shehu, a professor, announced that Ganduje scored a total vote of 1,033,695 while Mr Yusuf polled 1,024,713, winning with a difference of 8, 982 votes.
However, the PDP rejected the conduct of the supplementary election and asked INEC to cancel it, saying that violence marred the conduct of the supplementary election after political thugs attacked voters and journalists. Video footages, most of which went viral captured thugs violently disrupting election process, carting away materials and sending officials and voters scampering for dear life.
This necessitated the litigation that followed thereafter.
Recall that late Tuesday, the apex court, in a unanimous judgment by a seven-man panel of justices led by Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Tanko Muhammad, held that Ihedioha, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was not duly elected.
Uzodinma, who was declared elected through allocation of phantom votes, has since being sworn and assumed duties.
But in his valedictory statement, Ihedioha described his ouster as a “contravention of the will of people.” He said: “I am reporting back to you, our great Imo people, on the fate of the mandate you freely gave to me as governor and Engr. Gerald Irona as deputy governor. This mandate has now been truncated and cut short by the Supreme Court, in contravention of the will of the people.
“I do not agree with the judgment of the Supreme Court. I think it is unfair, unjust and does not reflect the voting that took place during the elections. It also didn’t take care of the sensibilities of the people of Imo State. But as true democrats, Engr. Gerald Irona and I have no option but to respect the outcome of that judgment.”
The Supreme Court has set Monday, January 20, 2020 for judgment between Ganduje and Yusuf, It is jus a few hours before Ganduje goes the way of Ihedioha or heave a long sigh of relief.