Guber aftershocks: Kogi queries monarch as APC gives Kano AG ultimatum

• Traditional ruler gets 48 hours to answer query over ‘partisan politics’
• Party demands apology, threatens suit against Commissioner for Justice
• Youth coalition tasks judiciary on neutrality, anti-democratic forces
• Kano traders: We are not planning any protest over A’ Court verdict

Although gubernatorial elections have been held in Kano and Kogi States, votes have been counted, and winners have been declared, aftershocks of the political contests, however, have refused to go away.

Last week, Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, had ordered immediate freezing of all accounts of the state and local governments with immediate effect.

The disclosure was contained in a statement by Commissioner for Finance, Asiwaju Asiru Idris, who affirmed that no form of payment should be made to anyone from the government’s account henceforth.

The development came barely a few days after the governor had lambasted some members of his cabinet and local government chairmen over betrayal and disloyal activities during the November 11 off-cycle governorship election in the state.

“No imprest or any form of payment should be made to anyone from government’s account henceforth. Standing orders and investment instructions are, hereby, cancelled forthwith. All Kogi State and local government accounts are, hereby, frozen,” the government had said.

In a fresh rumble, yesterday, the state government gave the Ohimege Igu of Kotonkarfi and Chairman, Lokoja/Kogi Area Traditional Council, Abdulrasaq Gambo Isa Koto, 48 hours to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for participating in active politics, which it said undermined the peace of his domain.

A letter, dated November 22, 2023, and signed by Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Salami Momodu Ozigi Deedat, via a memo (MLGCA/CHI/S/P/359/1/36), said: “It has come to the notice of the state government that you deliberately engaged yourself in partisan role in the just conducted gubernatorial election in Kogi State.

“This is viewed very seriously, especially that your action, role and participation in partisan politics endangered the security of your domain, to the extent that a crisis erupted under your watch that led to the death of an innocent young lady, in addition to several others that were wounded.

“This blatant action of yours is a sad contradiction of your expected role as a revered royal father of your status. It is more worrisome that you acted unbothered, when the much coveted peace and security of the state was being threatened by your action.

“In view of the above, you are, hereby, requested to forward a written explanation within 48 hours, why disciplinary action should not be taken against you. Oral explanations may also be required from you when the state government sets up a panel to examine your case. You are advised to give priority attention to the content of this letter.”

ALSO, in Kano, the All Progressives Congress (APC) asked the state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Haruna Isa Dederi, to come clean on the claim that the party influenced the Court of Appeal judgment that unseated Governor Abba Yusuf.

Chairman of the Kano chapter of APC, Abdullahi Abass, said Dederi’s utterances had exposed APC and its supporters to ridicule and danger.  The party, therefore, gave the attorney general a 48-hour ultimatum to support his allegation with evidence that judges and justices were influenced to give a verdict contrary to the law.

In the letter, dated November 23, 2023, copied to the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Chairman, NBA, Kano branch, APC said in the event that Dederi fails to meet with the demand, the party will be left with no option but file a petition against him at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, and also sue him for defamation.

The letter reads in part: “Since your above statement, I have received countless phone calls and text messages from family, friends, colleagues and associates demanding explanation from me as to whether it was indeed true that my party influenced the judgment of the Court of Appeal and the tribunal.

“Our party and the general public will be interested to know how you came to know the content of the judgment of the court before it was delivered. You went on to say that the clerical error contained in the judgment released was the real intention of the justices of the tribunal, but the justices changed it due to interference.”

It further notes: “There is no gain saying that such grievous allegation coming from the chief law officer of Kano State will mislead the public on the actual pronouncement of the court and set the public against the judiciary, in general and in particular, the justices that determined the appeal in question.

“You went further to insist that the Court of Appeal in its judgment did indeed reverse the decision of the tribunal. As if that was not enough, you later made a voice recording as the Attorney General of Kano State countering the statement issued by the Court of Appeal’s Chief Registrar, in respect of the clerical error in the judgment. In the said voice note, you made innuendos suggesting that the Justices of the Court of Appeal were indeed compromised.”
The statement adds: “But if you have no proof of the serious allegation you made, I demand that you publicly apologise to me and my party for the embarrassment you caused us.”

THIS came as a coalition of youths from various political parties held an emergency meeting in Abuja, calling on the judiciary to resist efforts by anti-democratic forces to influence the outcome of Supreme Court’s decision on tussle for the Kano governorship seat.

The group, under the aegis of Nigerian Youths in Politics (NYP), at a press conference addressed by Comrade Magaji Alidu, frowned at harassment of the judiciary over the outcome of the Court of Appeal judgment that affirmed the sacking of Yusuf.

The group urged political actors involved in the struggle for the seat to be mindful of the fact that the judiciary is a sacred institution that must not be undermined.

The group called for a stoppage of the negative campaign allegedly being championed by persons believed to be working in cahoots with Yusuf and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

It said: “As young people in politics, we shall continue to encourage the judiciary not to be intimidated by the sponsored blackmail against it. The larger population of Nigerians are happy with the judgments delivered so far and are proud of the commitment of the judiciary to ensure even democracy in the country.

“We wish to state that the court did not act ultra vires when it held that Yusuf was not a member of the NNPP as of the time the party sponsored him as the governorship candidate of Kano State. Yusuf and his party took for granted a very important aspect of the electoral process and must be punished for their negligence.”

Meanwhile, the Kano State Traders Association, yesterday, dismissed rumours that it was planning to stage protests against the Appeal Court judgment that sacked Yusuf.

This is contained in a statement by its secretary, Usman Nagoda, in Kano. He called on members of the association in all markets in the state not to join any protest. Nagoda also said no sensible trader would participate in any protest, knowing fully that it was prohibited.

“Protest has never been a good decision as it could culminate to violence and destruction of life and property. Therefore, we are not party to any plan to stage a protest against the Appeal Court judgment,” he said.

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