fbpx
Connect with us

Opinion

Kano Election Petition Tribunal Bribery Saga And Integrity Of Senior Advocates

Published

on

By Ibrahim Umar

The unsettling allegation of bribery at the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal has cast a dark cloud over the integrity of the judiciary and its practitioners in the state and the nation generally.

This was made more pointedly worrisome as the allegation emanated from the bench, which is considered the moderating authority in the judicial system.

On the 15th of August 2023, the chairman of one of the four panels conducting the National Assembly & States Houses of Assembly Elections Petition in Kano, Justice Flora Ngozi Azinge of Panel 1, said in open court that money has been flying within the Tribunal, insinuating that litigants have been inducing the judges with money to subvert justice.

Her allegation became more biting when she said the inducements were perpetrated through lawyers, as she claimed that a senior lawyer had attempted to tempt her with a bribe.

Expectedly, this weighty allegation caused uproar within the judicial system across the country and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) rose to the occasion by demanding a clear and more definite exposition of the alleged crime and its perpetrators.

Lawyers in the state became subjects of ridicule and, expectedly some senior lawyers became very jittery. Their integrity was at stake. What they had worked tirelessly to achieve over the years was about to be eroded by one sweeping accusation coming from the mouth of a judge in her moment of unguided and careless pontification.

Underlying envy and jealousy came to the fore as lawyers whispered the names of their colleagues as culprits in the bribery saga. It was unpleasant.

Politicians also saw a gaping gap through which they would cast aspersion on the judicial system and win some sympathy against whatever unfavorable judgment they may eventually get at the end of the election petition.

Suddenly, a hitherto peaceful Kano became abruptly politically heated. Political parties lapped on Justice Azinge’s allegation and pointed baseless accusing fingers at one another. Justice Azinge has left a lacuna that must either be filled with evidence by her or be left to be filled with speculative accusations. “It was a dangerous gap that the system must not allow to remain unfilled”, Nathaniel Salifu, a Lagos-based lawyer said.

Of course, when confronted in court by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), she later clarified that the SAN involved in the alleged bribery attempt was not Kano-based. But already, her statement had mounted a mud on the silky robes of all SANs in Kano, and they, justifiably, felt this was unfair to their honor and dignity.

Investigations have however revealed that the alleged payment to a police orderly of one of the Tribunal panels was not true. It was an experience-sharing session by a fellow judge with the Chairman of Panel 1

So far, there has not been any proven incident of bribery in any other Panel and the Chairman of Panel 1 appeared to be unduly emotional, with no idea of what truly happened.

It was gathered that the wife of a Police Orderly to one of the judges gave birth and the Orderly was given a N50,000 gift by a person who is not even a Lawyer.

As a result of her unfortunate outburst, the innocent man who made a gift of payment of N50,000 had gone to report himself to a security agency and the Tribunal. No lawyer was linked to it.

A senior lawyer who was passionate about the incident said “It is very unfortunate that names of respected Kano lawyers are being freely traded in the wrong information.”

Justice Azinge had earlier, also in open court, said a SAN who is not Kano-based offered her Sallah meat but she also failed to mention his name to clear eminent Kano lawyers. Even senior advocates who had no trial before her Panel 1 have become suspects, as she could not substantiate the claims.

Another senior lawyer said, “A name is hard-earned and Kano that has enjoyed palpable peace has now been thrown into a frenzy of confusion and likely political turmoil or controversy.”

The NBA letter to the Tribunal was clear in its demand that the Tribunal chairman should mention the name of the SAN outside Kano to clear the airs and the internal rivalry, envy, and usual professional differences among lawyers.

Credible sources have revealed that the Court of Appeal Headquarters had queried the judge for the confusion thrown into the political scene without any evidence to back up the claim and NBA had written the Chairman to compel her to mention the name of the lawyer outside Kano jurisdiction to clear the air.

A SAN outside Kano who said he was prosecuting an election matter before the Tribunal commended the Court of Appeal President and demanded that the matter “should be seen to its logical conclusion. Nothing should be swept under the carpet. Names should be mentioned and measures must be taken according to the law.”

Opinion

Unveiling the Complexities Behind Kano’s Emirate Tussle-Abdullahi Dahiru

Published

on

 

Dr.Abdullahi Dahiru

Many people reduce the current Emirate tussle in Kano to a ‘selfish’ fight between Muhammad Sanusi II and Aminu Ado Bayero over the throne of Kano Emirate. They think the matter should not be given and importance by the government since the Emirs have no constitutional power and no roles specified in the constitution.

But the imbroglio is far more than that. When Ganduje decided to depose Muhammad Sanusi I I, he did other things that were inimical to the sarauta system that made the return of Sanusi II very much easy and desirable.

Ganduje decided to balkanize the Kano Emirate into five bew distinct entities. He then took a map and decided to allocate each Emirate some local government areas as districts without looking at history or and cogent consideration. Part of the problem he created was posting of the four Kano kingmakers out of the Kano Emirate to the new ones he created and hence becoming subservient to the new Emirs. Traditionally, the kingmakers are next in importance to the Emir. The kingmakers defied their new postings and the new Emirs expelled them and remove some of them from being district heads of ancestral homes in Dambatta, Wudil and Dawakin Tofa. There were other important district heads that did not pay allegience to the new Emirs and were also expelled from their districts.

After expulsion of the Madaki from Dawakin Tofa, one of Ganduje’s relation was appointed as the district head. Many important APC stalwarts were appointed as title holders in the new Emirates like Alhassan Ado Doguwa and Musa Iliyasu Kwankwaso. The new Emirates came with appointment of new title holders, district heads and recruitment of several palace officials. The new Emirate law allocated right to be appointed as Emirs to certain families excluding others that were equally heirs in some of the new Emirates. The budget to maintain the five Emirate increased significantly.

The government decided to construct new township roads in the headquarters of the new Emirates and elevated the ststus of General Hospitals there to specialist hospitals to show that the creation of the Emirates has brought development to the rural areas. But the specialists hospitals were there only in name because there was no single specialist working there. Government could have brought the same development without creation of the new Emirates.

The APC government campaigned that voting it into power will make the new Emirates survive but that didn’t help the party as it lost election in the headquarters of most of the Emirates.

The repeal of the law that balkanized the Kano Emirare that made it possible for Ganduje to depose Sanusi II was not only about returning Sanusi but redressing many anomalies that emanated from Ganduje’s previous Emirate laws. Since the repeal of the law and return of Sanusi II to the throne many district heads and the Kano kingmakers have returned to the leadership of their ancestral towns that were hitherto usurped from them.

Some people are complaining that Kano people are fighting over a throne that has no value. But are people really fighting in Kano? I don’t think so. People are going about their normal businesses. Nobody was beaten or injured since the imbroglio started. It is only legal tussles that are on going and the courts will decide on all petitions over time.

The sarauta system in Kano is about the people, their culture and history. There are people that considers it important even when many think it is just relics of the past. Those that are not interested in the institution should stop whining and leave the interested parties to persue what they consider important legally.

Abdullahi Dahiru Writes from Kano

Continue Reading

Opinion

Rivers Boils, Kano Simmer: Political Chaos and Federal Indifference

Published

on

 

Harun Muhammad

For those that have been following with a keen interest, Rivers politics has been intensely boiling for almost a year now. First, a state Governor losing a control of his entire cabinet members, and the State Assembly intended to serve him an impeachment notice. Instead to allow that unfortunate event to happen, he instructed demolition of the House Assembly chamber. This single act could’ve been termed as an absolute abuse of power and treasonable offence against the democratic settings of our land. However, nothing happened.

Secondly, while on that mission of emancipation, we have watched with dismay how the police, under instructions from those close to the corridors of powers, discharge out hot water on the Executive Governor of Rivers, all in the attempt to stop him from having access to the Assembly chamber. However, that didn’t stop him. The Governor, used executive power to present his budget to minority assembly members, which was considered as illegitimate way of democratic processes. Again, nothing happened.

Thirdly, since last few months, there has been tension in the state because the tenure of the existing local government chairmen is expiring tomorrow. As a result, the Wike and Fubara’s camp started throwing heavy threats. The former’s camp is claiming that only the court of law can sack them while the later are saying, based on the orders from the Governor, they must vacate their seats before tomorrow. As I am writing this, it is getting spontaneously tense in Rivers, and only God knows when this melting pot will stop boiling.

Why am I saying this?

Ever since this series of events started to emerge in Rivers, the State Governor and the security forces in the state, despite multiple court orders and proceedings, have been working closely with Gov Fubara. There has never a time when a Commissioner of Police publicly disagreed with the Governor. In fact, the first CP was removed and new one was issued into the state at the peak of the turmoil just to make things easier for the Governor.

Rivers, being one of the oil-producing states, is a critical factor to Nigeria’s evaporating economy. With political instability on ground, a clear threat to the national security is conspicuously aiming to emerge. However, there was never a time the security forces takeover some portion of the state against the State Governor’s order. There was never a time security forces usurped the Executive Governor. There was never a single time.

On the other hand, in Kano, the state government passed a law to revert the Emirate to its status quo, which has been in existing over 100 years ago. The Governor, by the power given to him constitutionally, signed the bill into law. By that single Act, the Governor generously refused to send the dethroned out of the state against the tradition of the Emirate in the past.

Despite this, some political actors find themselves in a position to destabilise the peaceful coexistence of the state, which has given them everything. Consequently, with the help from the above, they have been fanning the embers of resentment which continues to smolder, threatening to reignite from time to time.

It should be noted that, the Rivers and Kano issues are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive events. However, the later seems to have drawn more attention to the security forces and federal government, despite posing significantly less threat to the national security than the one in Rivers. The question is: why always Kano?

Again, it should be noted that the political actors, having been democratically defeated at the polls twice, including the courts, are hellbent to continuously cause unending chaos in Kano State, and therefore prepare them for 2027 election.

We shall remind the Federal Government that the people who are encouraging them to challenge a democratically elected Governor are not doing the entire process a favour. More specifically, what we want the state actors to note that they are setting a dangerous precedence because tomorrow someone with access to power could play a worse syntax against the laws in the land.

The world is watching, and seven years—even if those in power secure re-election—will quickly pass.

Haroun Muhammed writes from Lagos, Nigeria

Continue Reading

Opinion

The Wike ,I never Expect-Abba Hamisu

Published

on

Governor Wike making the address

 

Abba Hamisu

Glad to be a resident of Abuja the Federal Capital Territory FCT,glad to have Nyesom Wike as FCT Minister .

Yes in past nine years particularly from 2014 to 2022 I frequently visit Abuja from Kano mostly by air as one of my clients that I provide TV content for them paid the bill on weekly basis together with one or two of my workers at Time Base TvAfrica ,but from the Airport to my hotel all I see then was dust plus harders walking freely around some of the strategic areas of the city .

But with coming of the former Rivers State Governor Wike who mostly perceived to be a stubborn politician ,things have suddenly change overnight.

What I mean by overnight is that the man have change the face of Abuja within one year. I am proud with this development and appreciate the support of Dr. Bunkure ,the State Minister of FCT who was the former Commissioner for Higher Education in Kano State from 2019 to 2023.

With out bothering you much ,what really passionate me about this man is the completion of the Abuja Metro rail which was initiated during the second tenure of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Serial FCT Ministers couldn’t complete this project but Wike did. From Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to the National Stadium down to Edu rail station up to the Central area ,the main Metro stations,was a lovely journey,free of charge for all passengers including me on 7th June 2024 .And according to the plan ,the train will be free up to December 2024.

So Abuja residents like me and Visitors have every right to enjoy this giant project of Wike.

Congratulations Abuja residents and Nigerians by Extension.

My hope is to see Kano light rail soon ,forget about politics ,Governor Yusuf should learn from Wike ,as Prophet of Islam (S A.W ) said “Wisdom is the property of a pious man ,he should pick it where ever he see’s it”.

Kano need modern transportation system fly overs and under passes alone can not provide the needed solutions.

Abba Hamisu Sani ,is the CEO Time Base TvAfrica/Nigerian Bureau Chief Africa Press and the National Coordinator Society For Patriotic Journalism.

Continue Reading

Trending