APC: Party Takes Kano Court Judge Before NJC Over Verdicts Against Ganduje

Infuriated by what they perceive as an unjust exparte order issued by Justice Usman Mallam Na’abba of the Kano State High Court in the dispute between Halladu Giwanjo and the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Ganduje Ward chapter of the party in Dawakin Tofa local government has taken the judge before the National Judicial Council (NJC).

In a petition dated April 17, 2024, and directed to the NJC chairman and Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), the signatories allege misconduct on the part of the judge in granting the exparte order which suspended Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje as National Chairman of the APC.

The petition was endorsed by 27 Ward Executives, including Ward chairman Ahmad Muhammed Ganduje, Auwalli Musa Roba, Usaini Jibrin, Babangida Sani, Halladu Giwanjo, Hassan Salisu, Usman Abdullahi, Haruna Abdullahi, Aminu Abubakar, Yahaya Khalid Barguma, and Haruna Kura. Also listed were Usaini Yellow, Nalami Mai A/C, Ibrahim Saidu, Musa Abdu, Hassan Iliyasu, Sale Dangagai, Abdullahi Ibrahim Yarima, Ladidi Amadu, Amina Muhammad, Abba Amarawa, Sabi Saisai, and Kurma Barguma.

Additionally, Abdullahi Garba, Inusa Dambo, Usaini Muhammed Gale, and Dambo Dan’ila lent their names to the petition.

Part of the petition reads; “We the Executive Committee members of Ganduje Ward, Dawakin-Tofa Local Government Area of Kano State write to formally bring to your attention and seek intervention concerning the actions of Hon. Justice Usman Mallam Na’abba, presiding over Court 4 of the High Court of Kano State, in a ruling involving our Party, the All Progressives Congress APC.

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“Hon. Justice Usman Mallam Na’abba granted an Ex-parte Order suspending H.E. Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as a member of the All Progressives Congress APC and further restrained him from performing his role as the National Chairman.

“The Court’s decision, as referenced in the matter titled above was issued on 17th April, 2024, following an Ex-parte Motion filed by Dr. Ibrahim Sa’ad Esq., on behalf of two Executive members of the APC Ganduje Ward, Dawakin-Tofa Local Government Area of Kano State. The Order restrained H.E. Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje from presiding over all affairs of the APC National Working Committee NWC and prohibited him from portraying himself as a member of the APC”.

According to the APC, the core of its petition revolves around the principle that the judiciary should not intervene in the internal affairs of a political party without clear evidence that the party’s internal mechanisms, as outlined in its constitution, have been exhausted.

The petitioners noted that the APC constitution provides specific procedures for handling disputes and disciplinary actions within the Party, citing Article 21.1(i) which it said provides for the right to fair hearing with discipline of members of the Party.

They noted that the complaint was never served on Dr Ganduje and no invitation was issued to him to attend the purported disciplinary proceedings against him.

Consequently, APC said the unilateral judicial intervention by Justice Na’abba, preempts these internal processes and mechanisms, potentially overstepping judicial boundaries.

They argued that Justice Na’abba granted the ex-parte application without recourse to the fact that “we had earlier issued a joint press release which was widely published in both print and electronic media, wherein we had completely disassociated ourselves from the alleged suspension of H.E. Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and further stated that the perpetrators of the alleged suspension were non APC members in the Ward who were allegedly sponsored by the NNPP led Kano State Government”.

The APC therefore contended that the alleged suspension was therefore invalid and of no effect whatsoever having been issued by persons who impersonated members of its Ward Executive Committee “and we wish to reiterate that these persons are non card-carrying members of our Party”.

In the petition, APC accused the judge of granting the ex-parte order without due process.

Accusing him of Judicial overreach, the APC said the judge has set a concerning precedent regarding the impartiality and scope of judicial intervention in political party governance.

Accordingly, it prayed the NJC to conduct a thorough review of the circumstances and justification behind the decision of Justice Na’abba to issue such orders against Dr Ganduje and the APC.

It also urged Council to evaluate the adherence to judicial guidelines and the Nigerian Constitution in the context of non-interference in political Party affairs; assess potential disciplinary measures if it is found that Justice Na’abba acted beyond his jurisdiction or displayed conduct unbecoming of a judicial officer.

“This petition is submitted in the interest of upholding the integrity of the judiciary and ensuring that political Party rights are not unduly infringed upon by premature judicial intervention. We trust that the National Judicial Council will consider this matter with the seriousness it warrants and take appropriate action to preserve the sanctity of judicial discretion and authority”, the petitioners added.