TRIBUNAL: KANO CASE STUDY,RULES OF ENGAGEMENT Part 2

TRIBUNAL: KANO CASE STUDY,RULES OF ENGAGEMENT Part 2

Attention has been drawn to the just concluded verdict of the election tribunal in Kano which sacked the Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP)in Kano State.

INEC earlier announced Governor Yusuf as winner but the All Progressive Congress (APC)candidate Yusuf Ganuwa challenged the NNPP in the tribunal and the APC was Wednesday declared winner by the tribunal.
Due to the tribunal verdict government believed It will stir trouble and placed curfew on the state.

The outcome of Kano electoral tribunal which journalists and other agencies were not allowed to take part in the process welcomed social analysists who told Nationalglintnews that there was a dichotomy In the said process which led to the following pertinent and fundamental questions with a view to arriving at the desired destination to be acceptable by all on this summition.

Also addressing the relationship between the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), the Legislature and lastly, the Judiciary.

These bodies are so significant in the administration, governance and dispensation of our Electoral laws in Nigeria!
They are saddled with the responsibility of pre-electoral matters, during elections and post Electorally. In a nutshell they are to handle the totality of Electoral package in Nigeria.

Q: Why is the Legislature saddled with the responsibility of enacted laws, while same laws are interpreted by another body, the Judiciary by the Legislature?

Ans: One may say it is called division of labour.

Q: But another pertinent questions which may arises are follows;

Q: Is there a template for such interpretations, or the laws are to be interpreted as the Judges deem fit? In other to avoid ridiculous interpretations, marking guides or templates must be made public such that any attempt to interprete laws otherwise will be met with stiff resistance by the general public!

Ans: Such marking guidelines helps and becomes very cardinal for proper dispensation of justice!

Reasons could be that, the Judiciary is not in the minds of the Legislators while enacting such laws, how then can they objectively interprete laws they were not a part of it’s enactment?

Furthermore, the Judges may not agree with initial intentions of the drafters of such laws and may decide to do otherwise whole interpreting same!

Such laws may be intended to solve, a particular issue while they may interprete to please some vested interests! Thereby, subjecting the entire nation to very ridiculous interpretations due to outcomes that are unrealistic! In the end, travesty of justice becomes the order of the day.

For instance, let’s borrow the 25% dichotomy of the FCT and the it’s interpretations as reached at by the PEPC of 2023 elections.

It is clear that what the Lawmakers intended to achieve was not what the Judiciary ended up achieving. And that alone has given rise to other contending issues as raised by the residents and indigenes of the FCT requesting for equal treatment with the other 36 States of the Federation!

Q: If this is true, what is the way forward?

Ans: If the true intentions of the drafters of the constitution is not clearly spelt out, there will always be an interpretation problem by different Judges of the Tribunal. Reasons are that they did not enact such electoral laws, they are meant to interpret and there is no acceptable marking scheme or guidelines that is open, or universal for all to interpret and very transparent too.

Funny enough, the Judiciary after transgressing or miscarriage of the laws, they go scot free!
No sanctions are metted against their misgivings.

Likewise the INEC officials, no one pays for their inefficiencies and corrupt practices! Who is fooling who?

All such officials of both the INEC and the Tribunal Judges exploit the lacuna available because it works in their advantage and to the detriment of our dear nation.

Either they act intentionally or unintentionally to take advantage of such lacuna to exploit us as a people for their parochial interests or not remains a mystery.

I therefore ask once more, why are they assigned such sensitive roles unchecked, only to end up more lesving us confused with more issues to resolve than we intended to solve, why?

Any brisk opportunities to take the laws into their hands as judicial officials are qickly exploited without looking back. And these are officials who have sworn on oath to defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but when such chances are presented to them on a platter of gold, they just go ahead to do as they please, but not as the law pleases?

It is a quagmire capable of consuming us in the long run if not effectively checked and solutions proffered.

Secondly, who is saddled with the responsibility of authenticating the results released by INEC?
Regardless of the outcome of such results being challenged or not.

Nigerians need to be sure that Electoral results released by INEC reflects the yearnings, wishes and aspirations of the electorates.

Until such a modality or organ is set up for proper checks and balances, results released by INEC will continually be under serious scrutiny just as the Judiciary, will still be under serious suspicion by the electorates.

Our Legislators are politians, politicians are diehard lobbyists who will do anything to perpetuate their interest first before others “at all cost”.

That phrase “at all cost” is quite dangerous, it may refer to both high and low sea experiences, yet taken very lightly by all Nigerians.

That is where the intrigues of manipulations lie.

Unless and until some of the questions above are answered or are given cursory attention, electoral disputes may just continue to be a torn in our nation’s flesh.

Further more, it may not be out of place to ask yet another fundamental question, how effective is our peer review mechanism of checks and balances within the three arms of government in Nigeria?

Now back to Kano State and the outcome of the Electoral Tribunal.
I will say a big kudos to the Tribunal for painstakingly going through all those ballots and discovering about 165,000 invalid ballots which were neither stamped nor signed by the assigned INEC officials, and have therefore automatically annulled the victory of the NNPP Candidate(Yusuf) and declared the APC Candidate(Gawuna) as the new winner.

Let’s look at it comprehensively;

Q: Is that all that we need to know?

Ans: At this juncture, the Tribunal automatically becomes a check on the INEC, they are not only supposed to handle petitioners disputes, but also to let the entire nation know what was obtained as total votes, total number of accredited voters and the real number of votes cast!

Kano people reserve the right to know about any other infringements to the entire electoral process as perpetuated by any of the candidates or INEC Staff.

They also need to know the total votes cast, after deducting the annulled votes, whatever’s then is left and the reason why so so and so person is now declared the winner!

The outcome and it’s processes must be very transparent and credible enough to be accepted by all.

For instance, Kano people are supposed to know what Party was declared the winner, and all the necessary details and figures that made them declare A or B the winner!

The level of transparency and credibility will reduce agitation by fellow contestants.

Thirdly, the Tribunal is supposed to affirm in reality the authenticity of the results of the votes cast in any contest and not just to demand the loosers to bring evidences to upturn the contended electoral results.

” Like they have declared 165,000 invalid votes mistakenly or intentionally credited to NNPP, who actually pulled that stunt without the consent of INEC? Is it possible to rig without INEC’s consent;

Q: Why are heads not rolling by now?

Q: If Electoral offenders are not sanctioned, how then can we sanitize our polity?

Ans: It also means that INEC didn’t keep to their moral obligation of constitutional role of being unbiased umpires!
What about the real-time transmission of results on the IReV? Why is that law flexible? Why is it application to others and not to others?

Fourthly, the tribunal should be able to tell us more about the faults/infringement of the other parties and contestants so that all eyes will not be on those contesting the outcome of the elections alone.

There is therefore, a whole lot to be modified in other to reflect the real situation and assuage tempers and feelings of not only the contestants but the nation at large and other international communities interested in the outcome of our Electoral results.

Nigeria has come of age and our Electoral processes are also supposed to reflect same status in other to take our place in the committee of nations.

We can not demand respect amongst committee of nations if the processes in which we churn out our leaders are not only undemocratic but dishonest and shameful. Our sovereign integrity is paramount and must not be compromised for any reason.

Processes must reflect transparency, sincerity and credibility. Such that fellow contestants will not only accept and congratulate the winners but will pledge their unalloyed support to the winning party in other to move the country forward. By so doing, Electoral tribunals will be needless.

Q: That raises another pertinent question, what is the cost of sincerity, credibility and accountability?

Ans: All those virtues actually cost nothing!

On the other hand, insincerity and any act of criminality actially costs much more.

Insincerity is shrouded with a lot of mysteries, misery, pains betrayals, anger bitterness and a lot more of such negative vices that are capable of pulling down this great nation than building it up.

Therefore, if this country must move to it’s desired destination, certain critical reforms must be taken to ensure justice from the very foundation of this nation which our CONSTITUTION.

In a different view Hon. Ahmed Muhammed, one time Kaduna State Chairman of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) shared with our Editor-In-Chief

According to Hon. Ahmed Mohammad, the decision of the tribunal was in the right place. The interest of the party should not overshadow the interest of the people because it is the people that the governor will govern and not the party

To me it as a welcomed development to the people of Kano state ” I personally see it to be a development for the people of Kano state”. On the side of the tribunal, I believe the tribunal worked with the materials and evidence presented before them by the defense council. But, if NNPP feel it is not ok with that, they should move to the right position presumed to be the higher court for a better understanding or judgement.

I also want to believe that the judges dim it fit to pass the right judgement in the interest of Kano people and not in the interest of the political party. The judges stands to be right based on the evidence presented before them.

Q: Why curfew in the state?

Ans: The character and belief of the politicians is that when judgements are passed like this, the grieved parties would want to stir problems.

The government of the state, in order to prevent loss if lives and properties, decides to place curfew on the state.

Election in Kano cannot be compared to elections in other states. The Kano people believe that if the needful is not done, and the right people are not put in place, lives and properties will be destroyed so curfew is a welcomed development.

The people are not afraid of dying. If it is seen from my point of view, it is celebration from the winners and the losers will stir problems leading to loss of lives and properties, when the winning team will be out there celebrating anything can happen…

Permit me to repeat this once more. If NNPP feels that the verdict of the tribunal is not sufficient enough, then they will have to proceed to the higher court and present evidence enough to remove the judgement of the appeal court and unsat the in-coming Governor from APC.

My advice to Kano citizens is to stay away from trouble politics. we all know is not a do or die affair. No life is worth dying for another. It is only a living person that benefits from the dividend of democracy. It is the poor that suffers in the game of politics while the rich keep enjoying the dividends of democracy.

I will, with all pleasure, encourage Kano citizens to play politics of love and not politics of bitterness.

I also encourage the governor to see to the affairs of the people of Kano state just as he is not alone in the struggle of the state.

Furthermore, I also advice that when found in a situation where you’re grieved with the other party on a judgement, proceed to the higher court. Killing the other person is not politics for us today.

Allah (God) is the only maker if leaders. Wait for your own stipulated time as God has a up set time for each and every one of us to become leaders.

Our politicians should believe in getting people to support them climb the ladder of success and to pull people down the ladder of success.

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Ezekiel Zik Kuni

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