Ganduje’s Suspension: Conflicting court orders and imperatives for peace in Kano

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This is one week that politicians and observers of political developments in Kano, the commercial nerve centre of northern Nigeria, will not forget in a hurry.

Political and judicial goings-on have led to palpable confusion and apprehension in Kano’s political landscape, following conflicting court orders by a Kano High Court and a Federal High Court. Both sit in the commercial city of Kano.

This followed the suspension of former governor of the state, now the national chairman of All progressives Congress (APC), which holds sway at the federal level, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje from the party.

On Monday, Nigeria’s political space was rattled as the Executive Committee of APC, in Ganduje Ward, Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area, Ganduje’s immediate constituency, announced his suspension.

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The legal adviser of the ward, Malam Haladu Gwanjo, who spoke on behalf of the Executive committee, told newsmen that: “we decided to suspend Ganduje from the party due to the seriousness of corruption allegations against him.

The officials, therefore, urged Ganduje to take steps to clear his name of the allegations.

The nine APC executive members said they were prompted to act following a petition written by one Ja’afaru Adamu, a member of APC from the APC national chairman’s polling unit.

In the petition, Adamu complained over allegation of corruption charges against the former Governor just as he urged the ward leaders to investigate the matter to redeem the dented image of the party.

He claimed that investigating the APC national chairman would be a milestone in President Bola Tinubu administration’s fight against graft.

However, things escalated on Wednesday when a Kano High Court granted an ex parte order restraining Ganduje from parading himself as a member of the party.

Subsequently, the court ordered, that henceforth, Ganduje should desist from presiding over all affairs of the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC.

The application granted by Justice Usman Malam Na’abba followed an ex parte motion filed by Dr Ibrahim Sa’ad on behalf of two executive members of APC Ganduje Ward.

The party’s assistant secretary, Laminu Sani, and Gwanjo were the plaintiffs.

The four respondents in the case are All Progressives Congress (APC), APC National Working Committee (NWC), APC Kano State Working Committee (KSWC), and Ganduje.

The court directed them to maintain status quo ante as from April 15 pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit on April 30, 2024.

Na’abba, as prayed by the plaintiffs, stopped State Working Committee APC Kano, from interfering with decision of executives of Ganduje Ward.

Na’Abba declared: “An order is hereby granted directing all parties in the suit APC (1st), APC National Working Committee (2nd), Kano State Working Committee APC (3rd), Dr. Abdullah Umar Ganduje (4th), to maintain status quo ante belum as of 15th April, 2024.

“The order thereby restraining the 1st respondent (APC) from recognising the 4th respondent (Ganduje) as member of APC.

“An order prohibiting the 4th respondent (Ganduje) from presiding over any affairs of the NWC and restraining the state Working Committee from interfering with the legally and validly decision of the ward executives of Ganduje ward.

“That the 4th respondent (Ganduje) is prohibited from parading himself as member of APC or doing any act that may portray him or seem to be a member of APC pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”

However, in a dramatic turn of events, another order from a Federal High Court sitting in Kano, surfaced on Thursday, dismissing the suspension Ganduje.

The respondents in the application are the Police, Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and nine other individuals.

The ex parte order delivered on Wednesday by the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Mohammed Liman said the suspension of Ganduje should not be implemented until the case was heard and determined.

Justice Liman ordered: “That all the respondents, their servants, agents or privies are hereby restrained from Implementing and/or giving effect to the purported decision reached during the purported emergency meeting of the alleged Executive members of APC Ganduje Ward, held at Ganduje Ward of Dawakin Tofa Local.

“That all the parties are hereby mandated to maintain status quo before the purported emergency meeting of the alleged executive members of APC Ganduje Ward.

“They are to stay action in respect of this matter pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application.”

For anybody who understands Kano’s volatile political terrain, this development does not portend good for the peace and progress of the state as it is capable of heating up the polity

Political pundits wonder why two courts of competent jurisdictions should give conflicting orders on the same case.

Political actors also wonder why the order from Justice Liman’s Federal High Court purportedly given on Wednesday should be shielded in secrecy for 24 hours before coming to the public domain.

Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu, a political analyst is of the view that Justice Liman’s order is capable of destroying the image of the judiciary.

He said orders should be given through the rules of the law, adding that conflicting order by courts has the potential to embarrass the judiciary, known for its orderliness.

“The integrity of Nigeria judiciary comes under attack following Justice Liman’s conflicting and order“, he said drawing attention to a warning by a former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

“Damage to one jurisdiction is damage to all.

“We must therefore put an end to indiscriminate granting of ex parte orders, conflicting judgements or rulings occasioned by forum-shopping’’, Justice Tanko Mohammad warned as he queried judges from six states and FCT over conflicting orders from their jurisdictions.

Shehu therefore urged the judiciary to purge itself of actions capable of destroying its hard-earned reputation.

Other legal luminaries, in the past, have also voiced out the inherent danger in the  type of `judicial game’ playing out in Kano.

“Such orders threaten the very foundation of our democracy and judicial system as a whole’’, says Mamman Osuman, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in a paper presented at a recent Legal Week organised by Nigerian Bar Association.

Analysts say the hardworking good people of Kano state deserve peace to meet their daily life challenges, the judiciary should help them to achieve that by not playing into the hands of political gladiators. (NANFeatures)

By Aminu Garko,

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