Ahead of the Supreme Court judgement on Bauchi, Sokoto, Kano and Benue governorship elections Monday, there is palpable tension in the affected states as politicians variously went divine to ensure their favourite candidates and parties emerge victorious.
Judgements in the suits were rescheduled Tuesday by the apex court’s panel, which also declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as governor, having sacked Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from office.
From Bauchi, the Coalition of Elders for Peace and Good Governance has appealed to indigenes of the state and residents alike to accept whatever be the outcome of the court verdict in good faith.
The coalition made the appeal Sunday in a statement jointly issued by Sarkin Arewan Bauchi, Alhaji Hassan Sharif, Mr. Apolos J.H, Alhaji Abdullahi Gololo, Alhaji Lawan Mohammed Gungura, Alhaji Kawule Kakudi, Alhaji Ibrahim Hardawa, Alhaji Hassan Galadiman Wandi, Alhaji Danlami Ubale Zaranda, Alhaji Inuwa Boto and Malam Yahya Gabciyari.
Other signatories were Malam Hassan Dagu, Alhaji Abdullahi Sarkin Yamma, Garba Sa’idu Cheledi, Alhaji Mai Jama’a Damba, Alhaji Adamu K. Udubo, Alhaji Hamza S. Sakuwa, Alhaji Ahmed Alaramma Itas, Alhaji Sambo S. Jama’are, Alhaji Garba Wuro Dawakeri and Alhaji Sa’idu Adamu Ginja.
The elders said the state had been known for peace and political tolerance since the second republic when losers went to court to seek redress, saying court decisions had never triggered violence or crisis in the state, hence the need for citizens to maintain the tempo.
“As elders, we foresee danger in crises, and we won’t like a situation where the generation of our unborn children suffer because of the inactions of some unscrupulous elements within our midst.
“It is on this basis that we call on the good citizens of Bauchi state to maintain the tempo they are known for by accepting whatever decision the Supreme Court may pass as Bauchi should be our first priority,” the statement said.
Likewise, another civil society group-Arewa Youth Mobilisation and Mass Mobilisation for Voting Wisely- urged politicians and supporters of political parties in the state to avoid overheating the polity ahead of the Supreme Court verdict.
Spokesperson of the organisation, Mr. Abdullahi Abdulkadir, while addressing journalists at the NUJ secretariat in Bauchi, also urged security agents to be on the alert with a view to forestalling any potential breakdown of law and order after the judgements.
“We should be very careful and tolerant and remain law abiding. When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. So, let us accept whatever decision that is made by the court in good faith,” he said.
Supporters hit mosque
Meanwhile, some politicians and other stakeholders in the Bauchi are also having ‘sleepless nights’ over the apex court’s judgement.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent monitoring the development reports that for the past one week, supporters and members of PDP and APC were expressing optimism of being victorious.
The level of anxiety as well as optimism by both sides, were reflected on daily basis in political programmes aired by radio stations across the state.
APC Chairman in the state, Alhaji Uba Nana, told NAN that his party had embarked on a prayer session ahead of the court verdict.
Nana, who reserved all comments till after the judgement, said the party was hoping for a successful outcome at the apex court.
“We are reserving our comments until after the verdict on Monday; 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,” Nana said.
Similarly, the state Publicity Secretary of PDP, Alhaji Yayanuwa Zainabari, also told NAN that his party had absolute trust in the Supreme Court and believed that justice would not only be done, but would be seen to have been done.
“As it is now, the judiciary is the only hope of upholding the mandate given to Governor Bala Mohammad by the people of Bauchi state. We have trust that the court would do justice in delivering its judgement; we have no fear at all and just as we won the election without rigging, by God’s grace, we will have course to celebrate,” he said.
A member of one of the parties who pleaded anonymity told NAN that in an event of their losing at the apex court, he and others had decided to leave Bauchi.
“The tension is so palpable and expectations for success, very high; we cannot withstand losing out because the embarrassment will be enormous; we will rather leave in an event of failure at the Supreme Court,” he vowed.
Meanwhile, NAN checks revealed that some politicians in the state had resorted to spending their nights in the mosque, praying to God to grant their parties, victory at the apex court.
“A prominent politician in Bauchi, who confirmed this development to NAN on condition of anonymity, said because of the dicey situation at hand, himself and others were not willing to take chances.
“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 He often grants requests pleaded for during late night,” he said.
Incumbent governor, Bala Mohammed of PDP, had told newsmen shortly after his victory at the Appeal Court in Jos that he could not sleep a day to the Jos verdict.
The governor is now in United Kingdom on medical checkups, according to an earlier statement by his media aide, Muktar Gidado.
Also speaking to NAN, the state’s police public relations officer, DSP Kamal Abubakar, assured that the command was on top of the situation as it had taken adequate measure to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order after the verdict.
Kamal called on the people of the state to accept whatever the judgement would be as the will of God.
And from Sokoto, Blueprint gathered that thousands of PDP supporters converged on Eid-praying ground to offer special prayers to sway victory in favour of the incumbent governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwa.
The appeal was filed at the apex court by the APC candidate, Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu.
It was also gathered that similar prayers were offered in Tambuwal, Isa and Gwadabawa local government areas.
Speaking to journalists at the praying ground, chairman of the organising committee, Malam Isah Unnu, said the prayer, which had commended since Wednesday and concluded Sunday, was offered in view of the governor’s good intention to people of the state.
He said they were optimistic the governor would emerge victorious because the people freely gave him their votes.
In a related development, some APC supporters also had their prayer session at the Sultan Abubakar Jumu’at for their candidate –Aliyu.
Many parents who spoke to one of our correspondents said their wards would not go to schools tomorrow for fear of the unknown.
In Benue, it was a hot exchange of words between supporters of the ruling PDP and the opposition APC ahead of the apex court’s verdict Monday on the validity or otherwise of Governor Samuel Ortom’s victory at the poll.
For instance, the opposition, in a statement Sunday alleged that the PDP wanted to cause chaos using pseudo names to stage a violent protest ahead of the verdict.
APC’s Emmanuel Jime is challenging Ortom’s victory, having lost both at the appeal court and the election tribunal.
Acting state Publicity Secretary of APC, James Ornguga, said: “The objective of the protest, we have gathered, is to blackmail the panel of Supreme Court Justices, create a tensed atmosphere in the state, and court unmerited sympathy in line with calls by the National Chairman of their party, Prince Uche Secondus, who has been lampooning the Supreme Court and alleging a travesty of justice since his party lost Imo, a state PDP never won ab initio.”
But the PDP, through the state Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, said the allegations were part of the antics by the opposition APC to digress its (PDP) purposeful leadership in the state from attending to serious state matters.
“Benue PDP states with emphasis here that it has no need for any protest in Makurdi or anywhere regarding the matter of Jime’s legal challenge to Governor Ortom’s victory at the 2019 polls; as such we are not sponsoring anyone to protest anywhere.
“Yet, as was clearly stated by the Benue PDP state Chairman, Sir John Ngbede, when the Benue matter at the Supreme Court was adjourned, members of our great party in the state have been oriented not to be distracted by the very obvious and commonplace antics of the opposition,” Bemgba further said.
Like others, both the APC and PDP expressed optimism in their victory at the end of today’s (Monday) ruling.
Mbaka’s adoration ground
In a related development, the adoration ground of the Catholic priest and famous prophet, Rev. Fr Ejike Mbaka, in Enugu, played host to top visitors, particularly politicians ahead of the Supreme Court’s verdict.
It was gathered that the politicians, who came in droves, made last minute effort to seek spiritual blessing ahead of the ruling.
Blueprint further learnt that those who couldn’t make it to the prayer ground opted for Mbaka’s private residence at Asokoro, a highbrow layout in Abuja.
Some agents close to the controversial priest were receiving different politicians and making quick cash since Thursday.
The cleric prophesied the victory of Uzondima which came to pass following Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling.
And in a statement by his media aide, Maximus Ugwuoke, the cleric said he made some 40 prophecies on New Year’s Eve, and that only that on Uzodinma went viral.
“Uzodinma becoming the governor of Imo was just a part of the about 40 prophetic prayers Fr. Mbaka made on December 31. But that became the only issue people satanically picked against him.
“God has vindicated Fr. Mbaka as He has always done for Fr. Mbaka and Adoration Ministry in all the battles, vituperations and attacks the ministry had faced in the past. To God be the glory,” he said.
I’m sure of victory –Bauchi gov
In all of this, the Bauchi state governor has expressed confidence in the ability of the Supreme Court, as currently constituted, to ensure justice in the case challenging his election.
Mohammed said he was not troubled, knowing that the Judiciary, being the last hope of the common man, would ensure justice and uphold the choice of the common man who voted overwhelmingly for him and rejected his opponents at the last election.
The governor, who spoke in Abuja through the Commissioner for Information, Ladan Salihu, faulted claim that he was very sick and bedridden.
Salihu, a former Director General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), said the governor’s trip to the United Kingdom was for a routine checkup after undergoing the rigorous activities associated with the last election circle, in which he was a major participant.
He said the governor was back in the country and would be in Abuja to hear the court’s verdict.