Kaduna and Kano states were shut down for hours yesterday as a mammoth crowd of jubilant supporters of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) and the Kwankwasiyya Movement trooped out to welcome Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf.
Governor Yusuf, who was one of the four governors that converged on the Supreme Court in Abuja on Friday for judgments on the governorship disputes involving them, had landed in Kaduna from where hislong convoy drove through crowd-filled roads enroute to the ancient Kano city.
In what has been described as a ‘glorious homecoming,’ commercial activities in both states were grounded, as the mammoth crowd literally painted the streets red with their trademark Kwankwasiyya insignia – red cap.
Milling supporters and well wishers received the governor at Kwanar Dangora from where they escorted him to the Government House.
The elated governor stood in his open roof car as the motorcade drove slowly through the street to acknowledge cheers from his supporters in celebration of his electoral victory at the Supreme Court.
Earlier, the Court of Appeal and the Tribunal had, in their concurrent judgments, annulled his election and declared Nasiru Gawuna of the All Progressives Party (APC), as winner of the March 18, 2023 Kano governorship election.
But, a five-member panel of the apex court, in a judgment delivered by Justice John Okoro on Friday, held that the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal erred by sacking Yusuf as governor of the state. Justice Okoro, who delivered the lead judgment, held that law and natural justice were turned upside down by the two lower courts to arrive at the unjust and unfair decision.
Okoro, while voiding and setting aside judgments of the two lower courts, said that miscarriage of justice in the ways and manners the petition against the governor was handled was manifesting.
The NNPP has hailed the Supreme Court for its courage to uphold the principles of fairness and equity by affirming the election.
Its acting National Chairman, Mr. Abba Ali, stated this in Abuja at a news conference.
“We wish to echo the voice of Justice Okoro when he urged judges to always be meticulous in their work.
“We wish to add that judges should always continue to be bold and courageous, and discharge their duties without fear or favour. “They should resist all external pressures and work with their conscience. This is necessary for the judiciary to maintain its age-old credibility and reverence as the last hope of the common man.
“Our judiciary must, indeed, be morally and institutionally strengthened to ensure its historic dignity and independence and its ability to serve, not the desires of the elite, but the yearnings and aspirations of the greater number of Nigerians,” he said.
Ali appreciated Nigerians, the international community, the media and other stakeholders for their support.
“The struggle to save Kano was a multi-partisan movement, involving all lovers of democracy across the length and breadth of our dear country, Nigeria, and beyond,” he said.
He said that NNPP was a party to beat in 2027, and assured Nigerians, particularly the people of Kano State that NNPP would not take their show of solidarity for granted.
He reiterated that NNPP would continue to defend, promote and serve the interest of the people of Nigeria at all times, irrespective of tribe, gender or religion.
Meanwhile, the APC has dismissed insinuations that it sacrificed Kano State in the Supreme Court judgment on the governorship election petition to avoid bloodshed and crisis.
The Deputy National Organising Secretary, Nze Chidi Duru, debunked insinuations that the party traded off the governorship ticket, saying, “I just said that the judiciary has spoken and that is why we have various tiers of the judiciary. You have the trial court, and then, you have the Court of Appeal; thereafter, you have the Supreme Court, and that is not in any way to denigrate the understanding of the learned justices that were at the various levels of adjudication system.
“The trial court appreciated and pronounced the fact as they understood it. And the same thing happened when they went to the Court of Appeal. It was also basically to the extent that they appreciated the matter, but those at the final court saw it differently, and then of course pronounced judgment on the basis of the facts that were before them.
“It does not in any way denigrate one section of the arms of the judiciary or the other. And it is in the wisdom of our founding fathers that we have these various layers of adjudication process; that first, if you err at the trial court, those at the higher court may look at it and find a different understanding based on the understanding that they have.
“I did not see any politics in it. I did not also see any arrangement on the basis of that. What happened was that at the trial court, they understood the facts differently.
At the Court of Appeal, they also understood it, but more importantly, at the Supreme Court which is the final arbiter in the judicial process, a different understanding was given to it and a pronouncement was made accordingly.”
He, however, emphasised that in his view, the verdict has brought calmness to the country at large, stressing, “I think it was a moment for Nigerians to be happy. I also believe that it has, in a way, doused tension in the country.”