The All Progressives Congress has warned the New Nigeria People’s Party government in Kano State to desist from embarrassing the Chairman of the National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, Justice Flora Azinge, in the wake of the alleged N10m bribery offered to her legal team.
This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday by the Spokesman for Gawuna-Gari Campaign Council, Malam Muhammad Garba.
This was even as the Kano State Government called on security agencies to dig deep into the allegation and bring the ‘strong forces who are well-known for their corrupt attitude’ to book.
The PUNCH reports how Justice Azinge raised the alarm that some senior lawyers were attempting to bribe judges in her team.
Azinge expressed concern that this was the second time a judge was complaining about how some lawyers prosecuting election matters before her, tried to corrupt the system by offering bribes to her colleagues.
She stated in the open court on Tuesday that, “money is flying”, adding that “it’s being rumoured that a staff collected N10 million.”
Shortly after the revelation, the Kano State government released a report that some “strong forces who are well-known for their corrupt attitude are working tirelessly to scuttle the hard-earned mandate of the people of Kano State”.
The statement signed by State Commissioner for Information, Baba Halilu Dantiye, further said the NNPP government viewed the incident as a litmus test for the present administration to ensure that the case was thoroughly investigated and the culprits prosecuted.
“The anti-corruption agencies are equally expected to swing into action, especially when this type of allegation was made in open court by a respected Judge,” he said.
Reacting, Garba, who was the immediate past commissioner for Information and a Chief of Staff to the APC National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, stated that the statement was a subtle attempt to denigrate the APC and the court.
He further alleged that the deliberate attempt to malign the tribunal chairman could have been spurred out of fear that the Kano government may not secure a favourable judgment.
He said, “Kano State Government is pre-empting the possible unrevealing of the actual bribe giver by the tribunal and therefore wanted to malign the judge. The made-up story, which is contained in a statement issued by the state commissioner for Information, Baba Halilu Dantiye, further indicated that the government is trying to vilify the tribunal before the judgment so that it draws sympathy from unsuspecting public in the event it is defeated.
“With an apparent sign of victory on its side, the APC has not and will never offer any bribe to anyone involved in the case considering that it has presented facts and figures to prosecute the matter before the tribunal.”
Continuing, Garba observed that while the APC had presented all its witnesses during the proceedings of the tribunal, the NNPP government has failed to present any to defend its case.
According to him, the action of the Kano state government was nothing but gimmick and an attempt to disparage the APC.
While reaffirming its commitment to patiently continue seeking legal redress in the case, the ruling party expressed confidence that it will eventually reclaim its ‘stolen’ mandate in Kano.