The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has pointed fingers at its former presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, for the defeat of Kano Governor Yusuf Abba at the State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal. The NNPP alleges that Kwankwaso’s actions were driven by his desire to secure a ministerial position in President Bola Tinubu’s government, leading him to allegedly compromise the party’s interests.
On Wednesday, the Kano State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal ruled in favor of the All Progressives Congress (APC), declaring Nasir Gawuna the winner of the March 18 governorship election while stripping Governor Abba of his Certificate of Return previously issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The tribunal, presided over by Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay, attributed its decision to the invalidity of the margin of votes secured by the NNPP, citing non-compliance with the 2022 electoral act. They deducted a staggering 165,663 votes from the NNPP’s tally, asserting that the corresponding ballot papers lacked proper stamps and signatures, rendering them invalid.
Reacting to the tribunal’s verdict, Alhaji Abass Akande Onilewura, a prominent NNPP figure in the Southwest, released a statement to the press on Thursday. He underscored the party’s belief that Kwankwaso’s alleged betrayal had contributed significantly to their electoral loss in Kano.
Onilewura emphasized that Kwankwaso had allegedly sidestepped due process in the selection of several gubernatorial candidates, resulting in the nomination of unpopular and unaccepted flagbearers.
He remarked, “This defeat is a substantial setback for us in NNPP, primarily caused by Kwankwaso’s apparent self-interest in selling our party to the highest bidder. While we await the Certified True Copy of the tribunal’s judgment, it is crucial for the global community to understand that this outcome could have been avoided if Kwankwaso had adhered to due process and chosen the most qualified candidate instead of his inlaw.”
Onilewura further stated, “Our investigation has also revealed that Kwankwaso’s continuous engagement with the APC exposed vulnerabilities that were later exploited to secure victory for the opposition in Kano. It is regrettable that individuals like us worked tirelessly to elevate the party to its current status, only for someone like Kwankwaso to jeopardize our efforts. We are relieved that he has been expelled from our esteemed party.”
He concluded by issuing a stern warning to Kwankwaso, urging him to steer clear of NNPP. “We do not tolerate betrayal within our party, and we will take all necessary measures to safeguard our party from those more concerned with personal gain. Our members nationwide should remain composed because a new leadership has taken charge, and we are committed to restoring the glory of our party. NNPP will emerge as a formidable voice and opposition dedicated to justice, equity, and good governance.”
The NNPP’s allegations against Kwankwaso are expected to trigger further political discussions and investigations as the party seeks to recover from its electoral setback in Kano.