Residents and political gladiators in Plateau and Kano States have been engulfed with tension as both states await Appeal Court judgement on the governorship election.
Recall that Kano State governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigeria People’s Party, was sacked by the election petitions tribunal, which ordered Nasir Yusuf Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress to be sworn as governor.
However, Governor Yusuf then approached the Court of Appeal to reverse the tribunal’s ruling.
The situation is a bit different in Plateau where the sacking of all PDP lawmakers by the appellate court has further heightened tension in the state over whether or not the governor would survive the political tsunami, according to Politics Nigeria.
Both states have been the most volatile in the country, with recurring ethnic, religious and political crises leading to the loss of thousands of lives and property.
Worried about how political supporters might react to the judgement of the appellate court, the police in Kano have already raised the security level in the state with the deployment of more personnel to strategic places in the state metropolis.
Meanwhile, police have banned political gatherings and cautioned against “preparation for violent processions, protests, or celebrations that may trigger reactions”.
The state police commissioner, Usaini Gumel, who assured residents of adequate security before and after the judgement, advised residents against unguarded statements or engaging in violent protests or celebrations that may ignite reactions in the commercial city.
Residents of both states have expressed concerns despite the fact that the judgements would be delivered in Abuja, not knowing the exact day has placed them in strung-up conditions.
“You know, if the date was clear by now, we would have made adequate plans to stay indoors. But I know for certain that even if my children have gone to school on the day the judgement will be delivered, I will rush there and bring them back home. I don’t trust these politicians and their supporters. You know how desperate they can be,” a father of three in Kano, who asked not to be named, said.
Unlike other states, where one or two lawmakers of a political party were sacked by the appellate court, all seven PDP lawmakers in the National Assembly from Plateau State were dismissed by the Appeal Court sitting in Abuja.
Five members of the House of Representatives and two senators of the PDP lost their seats at the court of appeals.
They were all sacked on the same ground of lack of party structure following what the court described as “refusal of the PDP to conduct congresses from ward to state levels in the LGAs of the state, as ordered by Justice S. P. Gang of a Jos High Court, who earlier nullified the PDP Congress in 2021.”
The appellate court, in its previous decisions that saw the end of all the PDP lawmakers in the National Assembly from the state, ruled that all those who contested elections on the platform of the PDP were independent candidates, which, according to the court, is alien to the Nigerian constitution.
But the PDP had repeatedly told the various courts that it complied with the earlier court order by the Jos High Court and repeated the congress, emphasising that the issue of nomination and qualification of candidates is purely a party affair and therefore all the lawmakers elected on its platform were duly elected.
This development, which is feared may affect the governor’s chances too, led to a series of protests in the state.
Meanwhile, residents of the two states have urged the court to be free and fair to all parties, adding that whichever way the judgement came, should be embraced by all and sundry.
Balarabe Tanko Yakasai, a Kano resident and businessman, said both Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf and Nasiru Gawuna are his friends, and he does want to be partisan but only wants the best for Kano that will not lead to unrest.
Sheriff Omotayo Oyewopo, a university lecturer in Jos, called on all parties to respect the decision of the court.
“It is not only when the judgement goes in your favour that it should be respected. Even if it is not in your favour, you should respect it. It is about the interest of the generality of the state,” he said.
On his part, Gad Peter, the Executive Director, Cleen Foundation, appealed to the public to “not take the law into their hands because I believe that one of the reasons people go to court is to avoid taking the law into their hands.”