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Ganduje arraignment, Kano government and presidency involvement

Ganduje arraignment, Kano government and presidency involvement

The government of Kano State appears all set to arraign the immediate past governor of the state, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Wednesday, the 17th of April, 2024 in a corruption case that promises to be explosive if seen to its logical conclusion.

Ganduje was governor in Kano State for eight consecutive years (2015 to 2019, and 2019 to 2023), and the NNPP-led government of Abba Kabir Yusuf is claiming that gross misappropriation of public funds went unchecked within the period, and that the immediate family of the ex-governor was actively involved.

No one knew how Ganduje got himself ensnared in such an intricate web of alleged misdeed, his wife, Hafsat, and son, Umar, were equally named in the criminal charges he is facing.

RELATED: FINANCIAL CRIMES: Why Ganduje can’t be arraigned as scheduled

READ ALSO: Ganduje, wife, son to be arraigned April 17

Some had expected that his daughters and their husbands may also be eventually added to the fray, but they were, at least, spared in Wednesday’s expected arraignment.

Political witch-hunt?

Beyond his arraignment, Ganduje’s name has featured in a judicial commission of inquiry constituted by Governor Yusuf to probe allegations of bribery, mis-allocation of government property and sundry issues under the ex-governor’s watch.

Ganduje has claimed that all these were aimed at denting his reputation as a way to undermine his political relevance. It was all about witch-hunt, he said.

He made two vital points that have gone really viral within the last week. One, which many observers said has very little appeal to sense and logic, was that Governor Yusuf should pay more attention to delivering good government rather than chasing him (Ganduje) as a way to mask his (Yusuf’s) incapabilities.

READ ALSO: Kano govt files criminal charges against Ganduje, wife, son, others

Commentators have responded that it is part of good government to bring people who have misgoverned the state to book. Ganduje did not appear to have gained any significant sympathy in this regard.

The second point, perhaps more pointedly stinging, was that such a probe should have accommodated a wider timeframe to include the governments before him, especially one that was also alleged to have grossly abused the allocation of government property in the state.

In essence, Ganduje wanted Governor Yusuf to also probe the previous government of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a leader in the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) who single-handedly picked Yusuf as governorship candidate and who is father to Yusuf’s wife.

Kwankwaso allegedly sold properties belonging to educational institutions to his cronies, and dipped his hands into pensioners’ fund to construct estates and refused to deliver agreed properties to the retirees.

READ ALSO: KANO’S COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY: Ganduje demands probe of Kwankwaso’s era

Of course, the state governor had no answer to this challenge, except to say that he was not on any witch-hunt mission, and that the probe was part of his campaign promises.

Escape route?

Ganduje and his group are said to be desperately searching for a way to escape this looming travail.

In the typical Nigerian way, as an ex-governor who is now the national chairman of the country’s ruling party, there are expectations that he should be untouchable.

But no one seems to be ready to give him the so-called cover that former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomole, so brazenly boasted about during the Buhari era. The ‘forgiven sins’ mantra tends not to be working for Ganduje. Why?

READ ALSO: LIKE GANDUJE LIKE YUSUF: Citizens blast Kano gov for involving relatives in govt

A chieftain of the APC at the national level told Nigerian Sketch in confidence that “The top wants him prosecuted. I’m aware that the APC itself was instigating all these moves against him. That’s why Abba Yusuf of Kano State was getting all this agitated.

“I don’t know why, but I sense that they want to use all these to scare him out of the party leadership. They are emboldening the Kano governor, I can assure you. The Presidency has a game plan in all these. Ganduje is a scape-goat.”

Moral question

A huge moral burden hanging over the government of Governor Yusuf in this engagement with Ganduje is the involvement of the erstwhile chairman of Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-corruption Commission (PCACC), Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado.

Rimingado was recently suspended by a court to allow for his probe in a corruption case of his own.

He was Ganduje’s pointman who enjoyed so much unfettered patronage from the ex-governor. The rot that was said to have been perpetrated by Rimingado in PCACC was so gross that he should have been arraigned alongside his former boss.

“But then, he has sinned all he wanted in APC and appears to have been forgiven by NNPP under Yusuf”, said the APC chieftain who declined to be named.

READ ALSO: Kano’s Gov Yusuf sets up commissions to probe misappropriation, violence under Ganduje

“While Kano State government failed to probe Rimingado for anything, it is challenging national anti-graft agencies not to probe or prosecute him. That smirked of reputational double standard, especially when he’s involved in the prosecution of Ganduje”, he added.

There is a general view that Governor Yusuf should avoid Rimingado like a plague if he wants to be taken seriously.

Possible outcome

An Abuja private lawyer who had worked with the Ganduje camp for years said he believe the case against Ganduje might stand, but that Ganduje’s lawyers will measure the waters to see how deeply the prosecution may have dug. He also said they will plant some legal landmines on the prosecution’s path.

“It depends on the lawyers they have and how good they are. We plan to constitute a stiff resistance and defend with everything. But that does not mean there could not be room to negotiate.”

This position was corroborated by a rising lawyer in Kano State government’s camp who said government may eventually settle for forfeitures as a way of plea bargain, but that will also mean Ganduje will let go of his present position in the APC.

 

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