Fresh protests yesterday erupted in Kano City and its environs with the demonstrators denouncing the recent judgment of the Court Appeal that sacked the state governor, Abba Yusuf.
While pockets of protests had taken place since the appellate court’s decision, Monday afternoon’s coordinated protests came as a surprise to many following the clampdown on some would-be protesters by the police that led to the arrest of seven people.
In what appeared like a coordinated action on Monday, crowds of protesters stormed strategic positions in the city leading to heavy traffic gridlock and temporary hiccups on commercial activities.
Major roads like Kano-Zaria Road, Maiduguri Road by Muhammadu Buhari’s interchange, and Kantin Kwari (Kano textile market) were taken over by hundreds of youths who called for justice for Abba Yusuf.
The placards they carried read: “Kano my city my state”, “Justice for Kano”, “Justice for Abba”, “Abba’s mandate was stolen in 2019, we will not allow it happen in 2023”.
The protest came on the heels of a discovery by the police that “some faceless groups are bent on unleashing violence in Kano,” stressing that the police were on top of the situation.
The state commissioner of police, Hussaini Gumel, told newsmen in Kano on Monday that already, seven suspects had been arrested and would be arraigned soon.
Gumel revealed that “we have the understanding with the leadership of the contending political parties, and they have signed a peace pact, in view of that therefore, anyone found outside this arrangement will be treated as a common criminal.”
While the police had prevailed on both the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to shelve any plan of mass action over the judgment, the leaderships of the parties have continued to trade words, with the NNPP alleging that the opposition was using federal and presidential might to influence the judiciary to rule in its favour.
The Chairman of NNPP in Kano, Hashim Sulaiman Dungurawa, made the allegation while speaking to Daily Trust on political developments regarding the Election Petitions Tribunal and Appeal Court judgements that were made in favour of the candidate of the APC, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna.
He said, “Our opposition wants to steal it just because they feel they have the Central Government and I am calling the attention of the central government especially Mr President because it is not a new thing happening in the state. It is derived by the opposition party.
“It happened also in Lagos, being a Yoruba, it was a slap to his (former President Obasanjo’s) face that PDP did not win his zone but under the watch of this president (Tinubu), they allowed him (Tinubu) to run his government just like that. So, I see no reason why just because he is the president and he has more than 20 states out of the 36, he is still trying to take away the small party that happens to show its presence in some states. I see no reason for him to do that. He is above that level.
“Why is he seeing that it is a must that he wants to take the mandate of the millions of people and give it to someone that was not duly elected? I think that one is not too good for him and it is not good for democracy, for his government and for the good people of Kano State because they cannot come en masse to cast their votes in millions and you are allowed to take it just because you have a federal government to give it to somebody who they did not vote for.”
Dungurawa, therefore, called the attention of the security agencies and activists to come to the aid of democracy in Nigeria.
However, responding, the Secretary of the APC in Kano, Ibrahim Zakari Sarina, dismissed the claim of presidential influence, adding that it was purely a judicial process that ensured justice was done in the matter.
“They are making a mistake. You know election is a process from the day you cast your vote to the last day when the Supreme Court makes their final judgement. When you said we steal the mandate, who gave them the mandate? With illegal and fake votes and result?
“Since the day they wanted to announce the result, we told the Returning Officer that what he was trying to do was wrong but he went ahead and announced. There is nothing we could do according to the law but to go to the court and we went.
“They didn’t win the election. If there is influence from the federal government, how many seats have we lost, either state or federal assembly. Didn’t we need those seats? As at now, we are the minority in the National Assembly and we need them but since they won the election, whether right or wrong, we have to accept it. There is no any hand of anybody from top. It’s a judicial process which we obeyed either in our favour or against us,” he said.