There is anxiety in the northern states of Kano, Sokoto and Bauchi ahead of Monday’s Supreme Court judgement on the 2019 governorship election disputes.
In Bauchi State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Mohammed Abubakar, are challenging the declaration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Bala Mohammed as winner.
In Kano, candidate of the PDP, Mr. Abba Yusuf, is challenging INEC’s declaration of Abdullahi Ganduje of the APC, while in Sokoto, the APC and its candidate, Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, are challenging INEC’s declaration of Aminu Tambuwal of the PDP as governor.
The Election Petition Tribunal, as well as the Court of Appeal divisions in Bauchi, Kano and Sokoto states upheld the results declared by INEC in the governorship elections in the three states.
A seven-man panel of justices of the apex court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, last week fixed today to deliver judgment in the election petitions.
In Bauchi, politicians and other stakeholders are having ‘sleepless nights’ as they await the verdict of the Supreme Court.
Supporters and members of the PDP and the APC are optimistic that they will emerge victorious.
Chairman of the APC in the state, Alhaji Uba Nana, said his party has embarked on a prayer session ahead of today’s ruling.
“We are reserving our comments until after the verdict (today); we have nothing much to say but I can tell you that we are very prayerful now.
“We are in prayers and hoping for a successful outcome at the Supreme Court on Monday.”
The publicity secretary of the PDP in the state, Alhaji Yayanuwa Zainabari, also said his party has absolute trust in the Supreme Court and believed justice would not only be done, but would be seen to have been done.
Investigations revealed that mosques in Bauchi State have become a beehive of activities as politicians have resorted to marathon prayer sessions.
“Some of us resolved to leave the comfort of our bedrooms and turn to God for salvation. We stay overnight in the mosque praying because, as Muslims, we know that Almighty often grants requests pleaded for during late night,” one politician said.
Mohammed who is currently on medical vacation in the United Kingdom, had told newsmen after the Appeal Court in Jos upheld his election that he would not lose sleep over the judgement.
Some elders, under the auspices of Coalition of Elders for Peace and Good Governance in Bauchi State, called on the people of the state to accept whatever judgement the apex court gives in good faith.
They made the call in a statement issued by Sarkin Arewa Bauchi, Alhaji Hassan Sharif, and 15 others, yesterday.
The elders also noted that court verdicts on elections had always triggered violence in the state and urged residents to be peaceful and tolerant in their conduct, no matter the outcome.
Also, a civil society organisation, Arewa Youth Mobilisation and Mass Mobilisation for Voting Wisely, urged politicians and their supporters to avoid overheating the polity ahead of the verdict.
In a press conference at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) secretariat in Bauchi, spokesman for the group, Abdullahi Abdulkadir, urged security agents to be alert with a view to forestalling any breakdown of law and order after the judgement.
Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officers of the Bauchi State Command, Deputy Superintendent of police (DSP), Kamal Abubakar, has said the command was on top of the situation and has put measures in place to ensure there is no breakdown of law and order after the verdict.
He said security has been beefed up in all strategic locations within the state and that the officers and men of the police are on the alert.
He said members of the two major parties have been barred from any form of celebration after the judgment to prevent breakdown of law and order.
In Sokoto, the APC and its candidate Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu, are challenging the election of Tambuwal, who was elected on the platform of the APC in his first term before he defected to the PDP from which platform, he won the 2019 election.
Hundreds of supporters had thronged the central Mosque in Sokoto during Jumaat prayers on Friday to show solidarity with Governor Tambuwal.
Chairman of the organising committee of the prayer, Alhaji Isah Bello Unnu, told journalists: “We started this prayer immediately after the election was declared inconclusive.
“We came together and ask what should be done and we all agreed to organize special prayer.
“We initially plan for three days but after the third day, people asked us to take it for the whole two weeks which we did. After the election, we all came back here to thank God after the election. When the judgement was fixed for last week, I called on members of the committee on what should be done and we all agreed on prayer again. Today is the fifth day of this prayer and our singular objective is the confirmation of the people’s Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, by the Supreme Court.”
He also called on the people of the state, to come out in mass on Tuesday for a special thanksgiving after the apex court may have affirmed the Governor’s victory.