From Maryam Hassan Kano 

Coalition of Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, under the auspices of Northwest Civil Societies and Anti-corruption Network has staged a peaceful protest in Kano state in the wake of allegation of bribery raised by a tribunal judge.

Recall that  Flora Ngozi Azinge had recently alleged that a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, was offering her a bribe in order to skew the judgment of the tribunal.

Dissatisfied with the development, the CSOs decided to organize a peaceful protest against any attempt by politicians to temper with justice in the ongoing tribunal.

Our reporter, who was covering the protest observed that hundreds of youths, carrying placards converged at Gidan Murtala, where they started procession to the government house.

The protesters carried placards with different inscriptions that include; “Give peace a chance, a word is enough for the wise”, “Allow Kano to live in peace, do not temper with election victory”, “We will defend our mandate₦, among others.

Addressing mammoth crowd when they reached government house, the convener, Comrade Ibrahim Waiya called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to interfere in the judgement of the ongoing governorship election tribunal in the state.

He said the purpose of the peaceful protest is to call the attention of the President not to be dragged into the judgement of the tribunal by politicians.

According to him, reports at the CSOs ‘ disposal had indicated that some politicians are banking on the President’s influence to manipulate the judgement of the governorship tribunal, warning that any attempt to manipulate justice would not augur well in the state and the nation as a whole.

“Kano is a home of democracy. Kano is a home of late Aminu Kano. Kano people have the right to elect whoever they want.

“Therefore, we call on the President not to allow himself to be dragged into the tribunal judgement. He should allow justice to prevail as any attempt to manipulate justice in the ongoing tribunal will not augur well in the state and the nation as a whole. We therefore call on the President to allow peace to reign in Kano,” he appealed.

The CSOs also delivered a letter of petition to the state governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf for onward delivery to the President.

The letter reads in parts, “The fundamental purpose of writing this letter, is to present to you the concern of the good people of Kano State over the controversy surrounding the conduct of the elections tribunal in Kano State.
“We are dismayed at the tendency at which your name is systematically dragged into a smearing and perfected conspiracy promoted by some political party members in Kano, optimistically pouring a sentiment towards manipulation of the outcome of the elections tribunal at the behest of your influence

“Your Excellency, you will recall that in 2019, Kano State was overheated at what was alleged to be a gang up through the influence of the then APC led Federal Government of Nigeria, aimed at manipulating the outcome of the re – run elections and thereby usurping the rights of the Kano people to choose  leaders of their desire.

“The inconclusive saga has already been written into the Guinness Book of Nigerian politics, as one of the most disastrous events in the Nigerian political history. 

“Similarly, 2023 is here again, and the responsibility of upholding the mandate of every elections any way in the country does not only lie on your shoulders, but it is religiously mandatory upon you to work towards providing an enabling environment to all, especially many people believed you to be someone who struggled all his life to ensure the institutionalization of a democratic governance in Nigeria, as well as someone who believes in the best principles of democratic practice, which is born through popular participation of citizens

“Your Excellency, the recent revelations credited to one of the justices in Kano Elections Tribunal, is a clear indication that, some people are working to manipulate the judicial processes, despite hugely recorded electoral fraud, such as: rigging, massive use of money to induce voters, attempt to create violence as another machineries to scare the Kano voters from exercising their franchise to choose the candidates of their choices. 

“The level of this exhibited anxiety engineered through the work of some desperate politicians, is not only worrisome but also dangerous to the continuous survival of our democracy. It is our adamant belief that, if this trend is allowed to strive in our democratic system, giving edge to some evilly minded politicians who think of nothing except themselves, slowly but surely we would be consumed. For a Justice of the Election Tribunal to make such public outburst complaining about the persistent attempts to be induced to compromise her impartial stance, was surely not for the first time, and this selfless service to humanity, she exhibited deserved to be commended.

“We considered writing this letter to present to you, after a peaceful demonstration by the good people of Kano, organized by North West Civil Society Anti -Corruption Network, to register our displeasure over this unfortunate attempts to bribe the judges to manipulate the outcome of the elections petitions, and to call on Mr. President to demonstrate a high sense of democratic integrity by staying away from any induced sentiment of allowing himself to be used to interfere in the activities of all elections Tribunal, to safeguard your honour and self – esteem.

“Let me inform Mr. President that Kano and other states are already politically tense with anxiety, therefore any attempt to manipulate the outcome of the elections, may result into an unprecedented crisis which may consume the country. The widespread rumour to turn up the victory of some elected political leaders, is not only dangerous but also suicidal, which may in turn also affect your political integrity, standing and recognition not only in Nigeria, but across the international communities.   

“It is on this note, we also wish to appeal to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Nigerian Judicial Council, ICPC to launch a thorough investigation into these allegation with a view to ascertain the truth and to subject any person found wanting to face the music.
“On the final note, Mr. President, while your administration is exerting good efforts to restore constitutional order elsewhere, here in Nigeria, our democracy is being subverted and threatened. It is unthinkable for this to happen under your watch.

“A stitch in time saves nine,” it concluded.

In his remarks, governor Yusuf promised to deliver the letter to President Tinubu and brief him on the development.

According to Yusuf, the state government condemns the alleged of bribe to judges to manipulate the outcome of the election tribunal.

He said “the government also condemns in totality, the attempt by other politicians bribe our judges, especially here in Kano. I don’t want to say much on this issue but here in Kano, we are going to do all that it takes to protect your mandate to ensure that the judgement conforms to the rule of law.

“I thank and appreciate you all. I also assured you that this letter is going to be delivered as you demand.

“Let me also use this opportunity to thank the judge of one of the tribunals that exposed the lawyers that went to bribe her. I want to assure all the judges that we are committed to ensuring free and fair judgement in the state,” he said.

The governor also promised to brief the CSOs and the people of Kano of his meeting with the President after submitting the petition. 

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