New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has blamed its presidential candidate in the 2023 polls, Rabiu Kwankwaso, for the loss of Kano State Governor, Yusuf Abba, at the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.
The party alleged that Kwankwaso sold NNPP to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for a ministerial slot in the President Bola Tinubu-led government.
The tribunal had, on Wednesday, sacked Abba and declared the APC candidate, Nasir Gawuna, winner of the March 18 governorship poll.
Led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay, the three-man panel further withdrew the Certificate of Return the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) presented to Yusuf.
Stating reasons for its decision, the panel said the votes that gave NNPP victory were invalid as “were not stamped or signed and therefore declared invalid.
The judges deducted the 165,663 votes, which ballot papers, they said, were invalid, from NNPP’s votes. This left the new party in the second position.
Reacting, NNPP chieftain in Southwest, Akande Onilewura, told The Guardian, yesterday, that the party’s loss in Kano corroborated the anti-party allegation against Kwankwaso.
Onilewura stressed that the former NNPP flagbearer’s alleged involvement in anti-party activities led to the crisis in Kano.
He insisted that Kwankwaso did not follow due process in the selection of some of the governorship candidates for the party, which reportedly led to the fielding of unpopular or unacceptable flagbearers.
“This loss is a big one for us at NNPP and it only happened because of the selfishness of Kwankwaso, who sold the party to the highest bidder.
“While we are still waiting for the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the tribunal judgment, it is important for the world to know that this would not have happened if Kwankwaso had followed due process and given the ticket to the most qualified candidate, but his in-law,” he asserted.
According to him, investigation showed that the continuous engagement of Kwankwaso with APC at some point gave room for them to discover loopholes, which were later used against the Kano governor to secure victory for the opposition.
“It is unfortunate that some of us sweat to get the party to where it is today, only for someone like Kwankwaso to make all our efforts a waste. We are happy that someone like that has been expelled from this great party.”
“We also want to use the avenue to warn him to steer clear of NNPP; we don’t want a betrayal in our party and we would do anything humanly possible to secure our party from hijackers, who are more concerned about personal gain,” he added.
He urged NNPP members across the country to remain calm because “a new leadership has taken over the party and we would do everything to restore the glory of our party.”
WHILE rejecting the tribunal’s verdict, the party said Nigeria’s democracy is under serious threat, and there is urgent need to save it from total annihilation.
Acting Deputy National Chairman, Nwaeze Onu, disclosed in Abuja, yesterday, that the party would appeal the judgment, “for APC to know that it is not possible to hide behind one finger and threaten to take Kano back by force.”
He called on party supporters in Kano and rest of the country to remain calm and be law abiding to maintain the peace.