The Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi’s letter to CJN: The Team Ganduje angle, fact-check and takeaways from main letter

images-2-3.jpeg

Dahiru Usman-Bauchi, left, and Ganduje.

Share with love

By KEMI KASUMU and OUR REPORTERS (Bauchi, Kano, Abuja and Lagos)

 

“Ariwoola should see the letter beyond the claim that it is certain political group trying to intimidate the judiciary because, there can be no intimidation bigger and worse than attempt by the judiciary to use untenable invalidation of purportedly 165,000 unstamped ballot papers and pre-election matter of party membership, which the Supreme Court itself has never allowed to come before it, to upturn the mandate of millions of Kano State people. It can only lead to civil war, for real, as envisaged by the Sheikh Dahiru Usman-Bauchi’s letter.”

 

Since reports broke out Saturday about a letter written to the Chief Justice of Nigeia (CJN), lHonourable Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, by prominent Islamic cleric in Northern Nigeria, Sheikh Dahiru Usman-Bauchi, warning against the pervertion of justice in the Kano State governorship election appeal under his watch in the Supreme Court, the nation’s highest court, reactions have flown across several quarters with some denying and others comfirming existence of the letter as was written to the CJN by the Sheikh to thw CJN.

A video, however, emerged Sunday afternoon featuring a son of the Sheikh, Nasiru Dahiru Usman-Bauchi, who confirmed existence of the letter and that he was the one that handled it after due consultation with his father, as it usually happens when there is the need to do such thing for the popular cleric.

Those, who earlier said there was no such letter written to the CJN, turned round having seen the confirmation by Nasiru and began to claim that the 100-year-old Islamic cleric denied knowledge or connection with any such letter as, according to a report also on Sunday, they claimed that the letter was not from the Sheikh.

The counter-report

In a report titled, “Kano Guber election crisis: I didn’t write letter to CJN – Sheikh Dahiru Usman-Bauchi”, the CJN, Olukayode Ariwoola, was urged to disregard the letter, thereby confirming that a letter was actually writen, submitted and the receipt of same was duly acknowledged with stamp by the Office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The DEFENDER reports that the letter in question simply warned Ariwoola, amidst fears of a Nigerian judiciary, already deeply compromised by some highly placed politicians of the ruling class, warning him not to allow the Supreme Court under his control block the way of justice in the Kano State election matter because, the letter said, such a misjudgement will lead to violence and that Nigeria at this time cannot afford another Civil War.

The media report, countering the letter as reported, had claimed that Sheikh Usman-Bauchi purportedly talked to Vanguard about the letter, saying, “it is not in my character to speak on political matters pending in court. I don’t know about the letter and it did not emanate from me,” Usman-Bauchi reportedly said.

Speaking further on behalf of the scholar, another one of his sons, Dr. Bashir Dahiru Usman-Bauchi, said, “Our attention was drawn to the purported letter sent to the Chief Justice of Nigeria. People from all walks of life have been calling to confirm the truth about the letter.”

He added, “The truth of the matter is that the letter did not emanate from Maulana Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi. The letterhead is not the type used by Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi.”

Usman-Bauchi emphasised that the fabricators of the controversial letter forged Sheikh Dahiru’s Foundation’s letterhead.

He urged Nigerians and relevant authorities to disregard the letter and to put the record straight that the letter did not emanate from Maulana Sheikh Usman-Bauchi.

Our checks, however, revealed that even the counter-information sent out and credited to the name of Sheikh Usman-Bauchi was, like the earlier message, not made directly by the cleric himself, thus clearing the sons – Nasiru and Bashir – as having carried out such assignments of letter writing or representations on behalf of their father in consultation with him. What was also found out, however, was that one of the sons may be well known to many while other is not well known but thevfact remains that, well known to many or not does not erase the right of any son of Sheikh Dahiru Usman-Bauchi as qualified to carry out his assignments.

In the interview granted by Nasiru Dahiru Usman-Bauchi, as shown in the video, he said the denial or disagreement that seem to come from members of the same family was only a matter of information gap that cannot completely put up the truth that a letter was written to the CJN. He said it was not the first time Sheikh Dahiru Usman-Bauchi foundation had intervene in ensuring that peace was achieved in the society.

Nasiru Dahiru Usman-Bauchi, who said Sheikh’s intervention always comes under letterheaded papers of either himself or the foundation, what he said by the letter to Ariwoola could not correctly be said was responsible for the crisis in Kano but was done to advise the CJN to ensure that justice and not injustice is done in the governorship election appeal of the state.

“The secretary’s attention was drawn as a result of the letter which he said he is not aware of, because he was out of the country as he travelled to Morocco. The secretary discussed with the journalist, who asked him to comment whether it was true a letter was written to the CJN as in the circulation.

“There are two letterheads which usually used to send out letter, the old one which is “Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi Foundation” and “Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi.” And these are two different bodies. I was the one that took the letter there and it was received with stamp and the content of the letter is that the judge should pass his judgment with justice.

“When the chairman (of the foundation) knew about the letter, he drew my attention to it and I confirmed it was actually true as I agreed to be the one who released the letter”.

In conclusion, the Nasiru, according to the video interview, advised people not to take election as do or die affair but everyone should go for whoever he or she wants. He said the letterbdid not set out to stake side with any of tge parties but to ensure justice, which The DEFENDER believes is responsibility of all regardless of status,cgroup, religion or tribe.

Politicisation of Sheikh’s “golden” letter

Politicisation of the Sheikh’s letter to the CJN, which should have been a golden opportunity of checks to people in charge of power in the country, was sensed when a group in Abuja, simply identified to The DEFENDER’s investigative team as the Team Ganduje, tried to trivialise the import of the letter and dismise it as handiwork of the pro-Kwankwasiyyah, the ideological group populated by the talakawas led by Leader of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.

Those who queue behind this Team Ganduje, however, could not provide further evidence of Kwankwasiyyah involvement as, while responding to question about proof, they said through one of them that, “The only evidence we have is that the pro-Kwankwasiyyah people widely shared the letter on social media”.

He could not answer further when asked by our team that, “If the letter had favoured Team Ganduje or APC, would pro-APC or all of you not share it widely on social media?” That revealed the politics side of reactions The DEFENDER received on the Sheikh Usman-Bauchi’s letter it earlier published like several other media.

This was going on in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Team Ganduje camps especially as more of them have been very active on social media leading I whatvthey accuse others of doing.

A particular Almajiri @tudunda_mi featuring the photograph of APC governorship candidate said on X account, “Allah has decreed 50,000 yrs before the creation of heaven and earth. Gawuna-Garo Assured”, in the usual way supporters and members of ruling class have preempted court judgments since 2023 elections litigations started and they turned out to eventually be the favoured.

What was also found out was that, whether or not the letter was by the cleric, the message, our investigations revealed, should be treated as more important than the messenger in the case at hand, is signaling to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, the possibly untamable situation that any misjudgment of the Kano’s appeal will cause not only the judiciary but also the country that is touted Africa’s biggest economy.

And the mood of the very charged Kano State society is that “We do not need to wait until anyone tells us before we know who we voted for. We decided to give our votes in its over a million to Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf of the NNPP on Saturday March 18, 2023 to be our governkr and we did. Any attempt to deny us this mandate through court of any level is, like Sheikh Dahiru Usman-Bauchi said, an invitation to chaos,” this is popular saying among people of Kano State amidst conversations generated by those who tried to deny the letterbto the CJN.

More instructively, Yoruba communities in Northern Nigeria Kano State Branch hold the same position when in their recent rally address and press conference statements they called on Yoruba Obas in South West states to prevail on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to desist from whatever manipulation of justice as witnessed in the Court of Appeal’s evident judgment scam sacking Governor Abba Yusuf after over a million votes had chosen him.

The Fact-check

Investigation revealed following a video interview granted by Nasiru Dahiru Usman-Bauchi, who is considered to have the same right to represent their father as Dr. Bashir Dahiru Usman-Bauchi, and he confirmed the authentication of the letter saying it was actually by Moulana through the same process he would delegate his sons to do things on his behalf.

Our investigated report showed the simple points in the letter writing issue, the counter-statement by Bashir Dahiru Usman-Bauchi, son, and final confirmation of the authentication of the letter by Nasiru Dahiru Usman-Bauchi, also son as listed below:

1. That there was a letter with Shiek’s letterhead submitted to Chuef Justuce of Nigeria (CJN).

2. That Shiek was consulted by his son, Nasiru Dahiru Usman-Bauchi, before writing the letter.

3. That some people are not happy for lack of involvement in the process of writing the letter.

4. Team Ganduje are fighting back (using seniority and popularity of some Sheikh’s sons over the other as political weapon) because the content of the letter did not favour them.

5. That Shiekh Dahiru Usman-Bauchi is about 100 years old now and the fact that he runs the biggest Islamic Centre with the different people there might pose challenges of mix up like this especially on issues of this nature that involves politics.

Takeaways

On the long run, it has been said that controversy notwithstanding, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, has a moral responsibility to see the letter with him as a clarion call to allow the smooth sail for justice as his Supreme Court of Nigeria is expected to deliver its final judgment on Kano State governorship election appeal any time from now.

Ariwoola should see the letter beyond the claim that it is certain political group trying to intimidate the judiciary because, there can be no intimidation bigger and worse than attempt by the judiciary to use untenable invalidation of purportedly 165,000 unstamped ballot papers and pre-election matter of party membership, which the Supreme Court itself has never allowed to come before it, to upturn the mandate of millions of Kano State people. It can only lead to civil war, for real, as envisaged by the Sheikh Dahiru Usman-Bauchi’s letter.

Reason the mood of the very charged Kano State society is that, “We do not need to wait until anyone tells us before we know who we voted for. We decided to give our votes in its over a million to Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf of the NNPP on Saturday March 18, 2023 to be our governkr and we did. Any attempt to deny us this mandate through court of any level is, like Sheikh Dahiru Usman-Bauchi said, an invitation to chaos,” this is popular saying among people of Kano State amidst conversations generated by those who tried to deny the letter to the CJN.

More instructively, Yoruba communities in Northern Nigeria Kano State Branch hold the same position when in their recent rally address and press conference statements they called on Yoruba Obas in South West states to prevail on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to desist from whatever manipulation of justice as witnessed in the Court of Appeal’s evident judgment scam sacking Governor Abba Yusuf after over a million votes had chosen him.

Supreme Court reserves judgment

It will bevrecalled that the Supreme Court of Nigeria had, on Thursday December 21, 2023, reserved judgment in the appeal filed by the Kano State Governor, Abba Yusuf, challenging the verdict of the Court of Appeal which removed him as governor of the state.

Hearing on the appeal of Abba Yusuf of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) commenced with the five-member panel of justices headed by Justice John Okoro stating that there are nine pending appeals before it.

The court, therefore, urged counsels involved in the matter to meet and agree on which of the nine appeals and cross-appeals that should be heard, with the outcome binding on the remaining eight.

When the panel resumed after a brief recess, a consensus was reached to make the main appeal, that of Yusuf challenging the election, while the cross-appeals such as that questioning the membership of Abba Yusuf, will abide with the outcome of the main appeal.

Wole Olanipekun, counsel for appellant, asked the five-man apex court panel led by Justice Inyang Okoro to determine whether or not, the guidelines of INEC will be a basis for nullifying the election victory of his candidate who won the election by a margin of over 100,000, noting that this is the first time in the annals of electoral jurisprudence where an election was nullified on the grounds that ballot papers were not signed or stamped at the back.

Olanipekun stated that INEC guidelines does not envisage that the courts would nullify an election on the basis of INEC purportedly failing to stamp ballot papers on the back.

Olanipekun also averred that Yusuf’s membership of the NNPP is a pre-election matter and authentic and the appellate court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

The counsel for APC, Akin Olujimi however, maintained that the Electoral Act mandates INEC presiding officers to sign the back of ballot papers after the conclusion of the election, stating that the findings of the tribunal were simply that the ballot papers were not signed at the back, and not dated.

On the issue of party membership, Olujinmi argued that the NNPP membership register did not show the name of Abba Yusuf on it.

Counsel for INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, supported the arguments of Olanipekun, submitting that the decisions of the lower courts were flawed, as the testimony of a subpoenaed witness (PW32) which the tribunal relied on to sack Abba Yusuf, were not frontloaded along with the petition at the tribunal, contrary to the Electoral Act.

Mahmoud stated that it was not the duty of a voter to check if ballot papers were signed or not, but that of  the party agents, noting that the tribunal went far beyond its powers in vetting each of the ballot papers in their chambers and not in open court.

Mahmoud contended that membership is clearly an internal affairs of a political party and Abba Yusuf’s name was forwarded to INEC prior to the election while his party membership card was tendered in evidence at the tribunal.

Counsel for the NNPP, Adegboyega Awomolo, noted that ballot papers were actually cast at the polling units but the APC legal team did not specify the polling units affected at the Tribunal in line with rules of court, stating that ballot papers not signed ought not to affect the validity of an election.

Awomolo insisted that the Tribunal was wrong to recount the ballots in its chambers, as not a single witness told the Tribunal that ballot papers were not stamped

He, however, urged the apex court to restore the 165,165 cancelled votes of Abba Yusuf and affirm his election.

After listening to parties, the apex court  reserved  its judgement on the governor’s appeal.


Share with love
Top