Senator Shehu Sani representing Kaduna Central has alleged a conspiracy between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Governor Nasir el-Rufai following the appointment of the later’s counsel by the commission in National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal.
INEC appointed A.U. Mustapha to represent it in the NASS petition tribunal in a suit filed by Senator Sani to protest the declaration of Malam Uba Sani of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, Senator Sani stated that the lawyer has been representing el-Rufai in his personal cases for the last 10 years, including four defamation and libel suits filed against him.
According to Senator Sani, “this is update on the petition I filed before the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal here in Kaduna. Our country in the last few months concluded its national election. Controversy trailed the elections as candidates questioned the integrity and credibility of the elections.
“I was one of those who questioned the integrity of the election as it was rigged, fraudulent and marred by massive irregularities based on the fact that the elections from the onset was bent towards removing some of us and installing a stooge. Integrity is founded on a leadership that comes through legal, lawful and credible election. The Kaduna election was neither free, fair nor credible.
“The INEC has decided to use Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s personal lawyer A. U. Mustapha as their own legal counsel which is abnormal and suspicious and proved our suspicion of collusion between the governor of the state and INEC. The lawyer is the one representing Governor el-Rufai in a case of defamation and libel which was filed against me on four courts non Kaduna. He has been representing Governor el-Rufai for more than 15 years.
“How can INEC hire the lawyer of a governor who has also been sued to court over his election? We have written a petition to INEC to substitute the lawyer but if the Commission refuses, we will continue with our suit because we don’t want to fall short of the 90-day deadline for completion of all election petitions.”
Senator Sani went ahead to say that they have been given access to electoral materials which has further strengthened their case.
“The massive rigging we found from the electoral materials have been documented and would be released at the right time. We would go ahead to prove that my votes were not counted, were suppressed and that the declaration made by INEC were against principle of fairness and justice.”
When contacted the Kaduna State INEC Administrative Secretary, Malam Muhammad Auwal Mashi, said he was not aware if the commission has received the Senator’s accusation in writing.
He stated that only Abuja headquarters of the Commission can respond to the claim.
“We didn’t know any of the lawyers being hired personally not to talk of their relationship with other people or politicians. So, as far as we are concerned, we are not aware of such relationship,” he said.