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Court nullifies appointment of new Kano emirs

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Emir of Karaye, His Highness Alhaji Dr Ibrahim Abubakar II and Kano State govenor Umaru Ganduje at the installation of the emir last weekend. PHOTO: TWITTER/UMAR GANDUJE

• Kingmakers mount legal challenge against Ganduje, others
• Top govt officer resigns over chieftaincy dispute

A Kano High Court yesterday restrained the state government from the appointment of four new emirs. Justice Nasiru Saminu, who ruled against the action of the state government on the inauguration of the new monarchs, directed all parties in the subsisting suit to maintain the status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

A minority leader in the state House of Assembly, Rabiu Sule Gwarzo, had on May 10, 2019, obtained an ex parte order restraining the state government, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Kano State House of Assembly, Speaker of the House, Clerk, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, and Kano Printer.But despite the order, Ganduje inaugurated the emirs and validated their appointment with the presentation of staff of office on Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 12, 2019.

The emirs are: Alhaji Tafida Abubakar Ila, Emir of Rano; Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulkadir Gaya, Emir of Gaya; Dr. Ibrahim Abubakar II, Emir of Karaye; and Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, Emir of Bichi. Defending the position of the state government, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Ibrahim Mukhtar told Saminu that the restraining order came after action on the appointments had been completed.

Mukhtar had earlier sought an extension of the hearing of the motion on notice to enable him to study it and respond appropriately. He claimed all the respondents received the order yesterday.“The court cannot rule on an action that is already completed. The law has been signed and gazetted by the governor. The new emirs had been appointed and presented with letters and staff of office before the court order came,” said Mukhtar.

In his counter reaction, counsel to the plaintiff and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, insisted that the defence counsel lacked any excuse as the order was served publicly. He said the restraining order should be respected to protect the sanctity of the judiciary. Saminu noted that the defendants could not satisfactorily prove why the order of the court issued on May 10, 2019 was disregarded. The court therefore ordered all parties to respect the subsisting order restraining further action on the inauguration of the new emirates and adjourned the case till June 20, 2019 for further hearing.

Reacting to the ruling, Mukhtar said: “The court has directed that all parties maintain status quo. What that means is that the order given by the court on May 10, 2019 remains until it is vacated. When a court order is given, it must be respected. But that does not mean the order cannot be set aside.

“We are going to bring before the court evidence to prove and to set aside the order on notice. From our point of view, a completed action cannot be restrained. Although we have not placed evidence in writing before the court to justify our claim, we are going to come up with concrete proof to show that government’s action on the appointment of the new emirs had been completed before the order of court was granted.”

On his part, Mahmoud told journalists that by the court’s pronouncement, Emir Muhammad Sanusi remains the only recognised monarch in Kano. “Given the declaration today, it is assumed that nothing has happened in Kano. And by the constitution of Nigeria, the new emirates created by the Kano state government are not recognised.”

Similarly, four kingmakers in the Kano emirate council have challenged Ganduje and seven others on the establishment of the new emirate councils.The kingmakers are: Alhaji Yusuf Nabahani (Madakin Kano), Abdullahi Sarki Ibrahim (Makama Kano), Bello Abdullahi (Sarkin Dawaki Mai Tuta) and Mukhatari Adnan (Sarkin Ban Kano).
In a writ of summons filed before the High Court of Kano State and dated May 14, 2019, the plaintiffs urged the court to set aside the Appointment and Deposition Amendment Law 2019 and the appointment of emirs of Rano, Gaya, Bichi and Karaye.

The plaintiffs also want the court to set aside the letters or any instrument of appointment issued to the traditional rulers.In the 11-page writ, council to the plaintiff, Dikko and Mahmoud, urged the court to restrain Ganduje from interfering with the powers of the plaintiffs as kingmakers for Kano emirate.

Meanwhile, trouble is brewing in Ogun State over an alleged plan by some influential people to illegally install kings in Aworiland towns in the domain of the Olota of Ota, Oba Abdulkabir Obalanlege. Chiefs in Aworiland yesterday warned that any such action, without the approval of the Olota would be fiercely resisted with “every legitimate means.”

The spokesman of the aggrieved chiefs, Olanrewaju Bashorun, who talked on behalf of the Olota, said though the Awori people are peace loving, “where there is an intent to discredit the will, distort the culture and breach the tradition of the people, it is not always right to keep silent in the face of such indiscretion.”

At a press conference in Abeokuta, the state capital, Bashorun said: “We have been told that, against conscience, common sense and justice, some new kings whose ancestors were not biologically, historically and circumstantially linked with the Awori or have any affiliation with the kingship would be installed before the end of the month.”

The development has led to the resignation of the Ogun State commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, Olajide Ojuko. In a letter, dated Tuesday, May 14, 2019 and addressed to Governor Ibikunle Amosun, Ojuko, an Awori, said the “recent directive on the issues of Obaship in some areas in Ota State constituency runs against my conscience and the yearnings of my people that I represent.”


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