Kano Tribunal: Safeguarding Democracy in Nigeria Amidst Controversial Rulings
In the wake of a controversial ruling by the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has raised a clarion call to protect the nation’s democracy. The tribunal’s decision, which overturned Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf’s victory and declared the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Nasiru Gawuna, as the winner of the March 18th, 2023 governorship election in the state, has ignited a fervent debate about the state of democracy in Nigeria.
The Verdict that Shook the Foundations
The NNPP, through its acting Deputy National Chairman, Prince Nwaeze Onu, voiced deep concerns about the ruling’s implications for democracy. The party firmly believes that this verdict has raised questions about the sanctity of Nigeria’s democratic processes. According to Prince Onu, “It is now very clear that our democracy is under serious threat, and there is a need for an urgent, concerted effort to save it from total annihilation.”
The ruling by the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal is seen by many as a miscarriage of justice. It involved the subtraction of 165,663 votes from Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf’s tally, a move that seemingly favored the APC candidate, Nasiru Gawuna. This decision, according to the NNPP, contradicts the principles of fairness and impartiality that the judiciary should uphold.
NNPP’s Stand on the Matter
The NNPP has maintained its commitment to the rule of law and democracy throughout this ordeal. Despite the disappointment caused by the tribunal’s judgment, the party’s faith in the judiciary remains unshaken. Prince Onu emphasized, “We wish to state emphatically that although the judgment was a clear and deliberate miscarriage of justice and therefore a disappointment, our faith in the judiciary remains unshaken.”
The party’s refusal to approach the Tribunal immediately after the election, even in the face of potential disenfranchisement, underscores their dedication to the democratic process. Instead of pursuing immediate legal action, the NNPP opted to focus on strengthening the party for future electoral engagements.
The Wider Electoral Landscape
The NNPP’s claim that the verdict defies logic gains weight when considering the broader electoral landscape. In the same election cycle, the NNPP won decisively in other key categories, such as the Presidential, Senatorial, House of Representatives, and House of Assembly elections. Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the NNPP Presidential Candidate, secured a substantial victory over the APC candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the presidential race. Additionally, the party secured two Senatorial seats, 18 House of Representatives seats, and a clear majority in the House of Assembly.
In light of these victories across various categories, the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal’s decision to attribute the NNPP’s success in the Governorship election to over-voting raises eyebrows. It seems incongruous that a party could excel in all other elections while allegedly resorting to irregularities only in the Governorship race.
A Resolute Path Forward
The NNPP’s response to this controversy is characterized by resolute determination. They have committed to appealing the tribunal’s judgment and have called on their millions of supporters to remain calm, law-abiding, and committed to peace. The party firmly believes that the judgment is lopsided and does not uphold the principles of natural justice and fair play.
The NNPP also points to troubling incidents during the election, including violence and intimidation, as evidence of the challenges facing democracy in Kano State. They argue that these actions, which disrupted the electoral process, are part of the reason behind the effort to overturn the mandate given to their Governor.
A Plea to the Judiciary
In conclusion, the NNPP’s call to safeguard democracy in Nigeria is a plea to the judiciary to uphold the principles of fairness, justice, and the rule of law. They look forward to a more impartial judgment in the next round of litigation. The party insists that their faith in democracy remains steadfast and that they will continue to pursue justice through legal channels.
This controversy surrounding the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal serves as a stark reminder of the challenges facing Nigeria’s democracy. It highlights the importance of transparent and fair electoral processes in ensuring the will of the people is upheld.
As this issue unfolds, it is crucial for all stakeholders, including the judiciary, political parties, and citizens, to work together to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy and protect its core values.