On Monday, a coalition of civil society organizations (CSOs) operating under the banner of the North-West Anti-corruption Network in Kano submitted a petition to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The petition raised concerns about an alleged attempt to obstruct justice at the State Tribunal through bribery.
Despite a directive from Kano’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Usuani Gumel, against street protests related to the tribunal’s ruling outcome in Kano, members of the CSOs proceeded with a peaceful protest. They marched from the Kofar Nassarawa area of the city to Kano State Government House.
The group, comprising CSO members and sympathizers of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), numbered in the hundreds. They traversed from Kofar Nassarawa, along State Road, to the Government House. There, they voiced their grievances and presented the petition to Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf.
Governor Yusuf pledged to forward the petition to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his attention.
Ambassador Ibrahim Waiya, the Convener of the North-West Civil Society Anti-Corruption Network, led the group in this initiative.
The letter which was addressed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was also copied to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN); President, Court of Appeal; President, NBA; Inspector General of Police (IGP); Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau.
The letter obtained by our Correspondent was captioned: “ATTEMPT TO BRIBE JUDGES TO MANIPULATE THE OUTCOME OF ELECTION TRIBUNAL IS EVIL, UNDEMOCRATIC AND A GRAND CONSPIRACY TO ROB NIGERIANS OF THEIR RIGHT TO CHOOSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERS.”
The letter read thus: “The North West Civil Society on Anti – Corruption is a coalition of civil society organizations, students groups, academics, democrats and patriotic individuals, in Kano and other six States of the North West, promoting campaign against corruption and social injustice, as well as promote accountability in the governance business.
“We hope this letter finds you in a good state of health, faith and good spirit. We write this letter to express our solidarity with the Federal government and to congratulate you over the successful constitution of the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria.
“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.
“Many efforts were summoned by critical stakeholders in the state to prevail on the likely conflicts which were about to be ignited through the anger of the aggrieved masses, however tensions were doused as the matter was referred to the judiciary, therefore igniting another hope of getting justice from the Nigerian judicial system in the country
“Your Excellency, despite the generated tensions in Kano State, in 2019 which we all lived to witness, it was apparently alleged that, the mandate of the Kano people were hijacked through the machinery of some institutions, such as police, INEC and the rest, and was said to have cumulatively conspired against the desires of Kano people, taking into cognizance the elections outcome.
“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 machinery 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.
“Your Excellency, the outburst of one of the Tribunal judges and the alleged trace of cash transferred to the account of the PA of one of the judge by one of the petitioners in Kano, gave credence to the rumor that, after all, the threat to peace in Kano is real.
“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.
“Mr. President, let us remind you that, it is not only Nigerian people are watching the unfolding political circumstances closely, but also the international organizations across the globe, and therefore you have a duty to justify how democratic you are, and politically unbiased in relations to all matters of elections petitions not only in Kano, but across the country. Let me also remind you that, one of the virtue of a democratic governance is the ability to tolerate and accommodate opposition, as it is no an issue of pride, to kill oppositions by hijacking the mandate and rights of the citizens
“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.”
In his response, Governor Yusuf commended the protesters for their doggedness in defending democracy.
He said, “we appreciate your doggedness, your commitment to ensure democracy in Nigeria. Today, we have received all of you, we have received your letter from your leader.
” The letter is made for onward transmission to His Excellency, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
” I want to assure you that I am delivering this letter to Mr. President hand-to-hand; and we are confident that Mr. President is going to act on the letter. We are going to do all that it takes to protect your mandate.
“Let me also seize this opportunity to thank the Judge of one of the Tribunals that exposed the lawyers that attempted to bribe her.”