Shehu Sani, a human rights activist and senator representing Kaduna Central District, has alleged conspiracy between Governor Nasir El-Rufai and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to pervert the course of justice at the elections petition tribunal.
Sani accused INEC of engaging the governor’s personal lawyer, A.U. Mustapha (SAN), to defend the commission at the elections petition tribunal in the case between him and the governor’s political adviser, Malam Uba Sani, who was declared by INEC as winner of the senatorial ticket.
The human rights activist, while addressing journalists on Monday on a petition dated April 12, 2019, and signed by his lawyer, Avong Emmanuel Didam, to the tribunal titled: “The exposure of ground conspiracy against Senator Shehu Sani by INEC and the Government of Kaduna State,” said: “We have documents to demonstrate that our claims are true, and that the said lawyer is a personal lawyer to the governor.“Of all lawyers in the country, why must INEC hired El-Rufai’s lawyer in a case that involved one of his aides.”
The senator said that despite the intimidation, he would never relent and remain silent in the struggle to get justice and reclaim his stolen mandate.
“I will not remain silent when I discovered that INEC and El-Rufai are planning to further suppress the will of the people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the INEC has said that Nigerians should have confidence in the commission’s readiness to defend democracy by ensuring that justice is not subverted in the elections petition cases before the tribunals.
The electoral body said this while reacting to the protest letter and press conference by Sani who accused it of conspiracy to deny him justice in his election petition suit before the tribunal in Kaduna.
In a statement signed and made available to journalist through e-mail by the commission’s National Commissioner, Chairman, Information and Public enlightenment, Festus Okoye, said: “INEC has a list of external solicitors it engages for the prosecution of pre and post-election matters.
“The commission is guided by the highest standard of ethics in recommending solicitors to represent it.The Governor of Kaduna State is not a respondent in the petition, and we have no reason to believe that the solicitor appointed by the commission will subvert the cause of justice.”
In another development, a group, Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello Movement, has called on the Kogi State judiciary and the Kogi State government to settle their differences amicably in the interest of the progress of the state.
Ibrahim Raji, the chairman of the group, and Secretary- General, Onusi Abdullateef, a press conference on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Lokoja, said the two arms should come to a roundtable resolution in the interest of the suffering judicial workers, who had not been taking their salary for an upward of nine months on account of the rift.
The group noted that the joy in the whole crisis is the fact that Governor Yahaya Bello recently disclosed that the accumulated salary of the judiciary workers was intact.
The movement, which commended the state government and the leadership of the judiciary for the maturity displayed so far, however, advised that there should be give and take in the true spirit of collective bargaining.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has responded to the accusation by Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central senatorial district, that it hired a lawyer for Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State to represent it at the national and state assembly election petition Tribunal in Kaduna.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has a list of External Solicitors that it engages for the prosecution of pre and post-election matters. These solicitors are based in different parts of the country and must have represented a variety of clients and interests in the past,” INEC said in a statement on Monday, April 15, 2019.
Senator Sani, of the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, had expressed hope of getting justice in his petition challenging the result of the National Assembly election in the state after he lost his Senate seat in the 2019 elections to Uba Sani of the All Progressives Congress, El-Rufai’s party.
“We have enough evidence that A.U Mustapha is a personal lawyer to Nasiru El-Rufa’i, Governor of Kaduna State,” Senator Sani said in a press conference on Monday, April 15, 2019.
“As a personal lawyer to El-Rufa’i now hired by INEC in a case where El-Rufai is a party is not acceptable.
“It is suspicious that the governor of the state and INEC are using A.U. Mustapha and Co, who remains El-Rufa’i personal lawyer,” the senator said.
INEC insisted that its solicitors are selected through the highest standard of ethics and are guided by the Commissions Code of Conduct for External Solicitors.
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