Kano Municipal crisis festers as Yakasai insists on APC ticket
Basing his confidence on the recent judgment of Justice Sa’adatu Ibrahim of Federal High Court, the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Kano Municipal Federal Constituency in Kano, Alhaji Mutari Isahq Yakasai, maintains that he is the only flag bearer of the ruling party for the House of Representatives seat.
The court had last Tuesday nullified the nomination of the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Broadcast Media, Shaaban Ibrahim Sharada, for lack of substantive merit.
The judge consequently upheld the candidature of Mutari Ishaq Yakasai as the winner of the October 3, 2018 primaries of the party and directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to replace Shaaban’s name with Mutari’s forthwith.
Although Shaaban’s name appeared in the list recently released by INEC for next month’s Presidential and National Assembly election, Mutari maintained his stand as the validly nominated candidate even as he vowed to continue the litigation to any length until justice is done.
The controversy over Kano Municipal Federal Constituency began during the APC primaries held across the 13 wards that make up the constituency, during which Mutari was declared winner and returned as the party’s standard-bearer. However, few days later, words filtered in that the name of Mutari had been replaced with his major contender, Shaaban, who came second in the election.
The situation became clearer when INEC released the first batch of parties successful candidates in the primaries. The name of Shaaban’s was conspicuously displayed, a development that generated a round of protest by Mutari’s supporters, who occupied major roads in the metropolis to press home their grievances. On his part, Mutari had challenged the party’s action in court to reclaim his mandate.
However, as the case lingered, it triggered further protests by the supporters of the former chairman of Municipal council. But when INEC released another list, perhaps the final list of candidates across parties for the scheduled Presidential and National Assembly election, the name of Mutari was still missing, and their pain knew no bounds.
In an interview with The Guardian, Mutari insisted that he remains the ruling party’s candidate, contending that the declarative judgment of the court authenticated his victory regardless of powers, interest and influence behind his opponents.
He said: “Let me state emphatically that, speaking as APC flag bearer of Municipal Federal constituency for the House of Representatives, I was confirmed the winner by a competent court based on valid evidence. I won the election and I was declared winner by APC electoral committee monitored by INEC, but our name was replaced suddenly for reasons best known to those people.
“We thank God the court has given us the victory and we are waiting for them to do the right thing. INEC was duly served the court order, both in Kano and Abuja. Perhaps their claim may be that the names were already released before the court order, but we are sure they will do the right thing very soon, except they want to commit contempt of court, which I so much doubt. They will not try that.”
But in what appeared as some form of subtle compensation, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje last week appointed the same Mutari as his Commissioner for Special Duties.
On whether or not he would jettison his House of Representatives ambition for the new appointment in the executive council, Mutari insisted he would rather pursue his political career at the National Assembly.
He disclosed that before he was invited for the recent appointment, “the governor called and informed me about the appointment,” but I told him, ‘your Excellency, my case, which he’s also aware of was still in the court.’ The governor responded: ‘I am calling you to become my commissioner and did not ask you to withdraw your case from the Court.’
Mutari stressed that the governor did not stop him from continuing with the case despite the fact that he invited him to be part of his cabinet, which he accepted, “because of my personal confidence on the governor, our leader.”
Reacting to allegations that he was at loggerheads with Governor Ganduje, Mutari said: “If there is any issue between me and the governor how do you think he will still consider me for appointment into his cabinet and commissioner for special duties for that matter. There is no law in the constitution that says a political appointee must relinquish his position or appointment before contesting for an election.”
On whether he trusted the party leadership to do justice, considering the circumstances that led to his name being replaced in the first instance, Mutari declared that justice had already been served by the court, saying the court’s pronouncement was beyond the party and INEC.
His words: “It is not a matter of whether the party will do what is just or not. The court has already given justice. I went to court because the party refused and denied us justice and we are very much glad the court, which is the last hope of the common man, has given justice, so we thank almighty God for that.
“What is left for the party and INEC right now is to comply with the judgment. Of course, this is beyond INEC and the party, whether they like it or not; except they have anything contrary to my candidature, which I doubt; they will have to also go to court. INEC monitored the primaries election across the 13 wards and I actually got the official report from INEC and we thank God that the credibility of that report from INEC also formed the basis on which the court passed the judgment.
“INEC monitored the collation and declaration of the result from the 13 wards which was conducted on October 3, 2018 by the authentic electoral officers appointed by the national leadership of the party. The election was conducted peacefully in the presence of security agencies and all party agents from wards who all have certified copied of the result. That certified copy of the result duly signed by all concern parties was presented before the court and today it was a success.”
Mutari maintained that he does not have any differences with Governor Ganduje, adding: “For those still peddling rumours about me and the governor, has entrusted me with lots of responsibilities. Any moment from now, I will be taking 250 Kano indigenes for entrepreneurial skill in automobile engineering training at PAN in Kaduna. I am living in peace and not in pieces with my governor.”