By Ikenna Agu
According to former Premier of Northern Nigeria Sir Ahmadu Bello, “No one is immune to the trials and tribulations of life”. This is exactly the position the opposition party in Kebbi State; the Peoples Democratic Party is trying to prove by flying a kite that the testimonial that was submitted to Independent National Electoral Commisision (INEC) in 2015 by the Deputy Governor of Kebbi State Senator Abubakar Umar Tafida was fake. With the turn of events in the Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Birin Kebbi, the state capital, these purveyors of falsehood are stopping at nothing in spreading their stories.
Recently, they went a step further by bringing some witnesses who had little or no knowledge of the issues on the table to testify against the incumbent Deputy Governor of the Kebbi State.
An age long African saying that “Truth is one” tends to throw the camp of the opposition into turmoil as the witnesses and evidence being presented by the Deputy Governor shows that the allegations are dead on arrival.
First to punch holes on the claims of the opposition are the Permanent Secretary, Sokoto State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Schools Education as well as Director of Exams who tendered documents to prove attendance of the Kebbi State Deputy Governor, Senator Abubakar Umar Tafida in the mock examination of the Sultan Abubakar Teachers College.
The Permanent Secretary of the Sokoto State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Schools Education who was represented by Director Exams, Mustapha Idris Musa, informed the Tribunal that he was before them on behalf of his Permanent Secretary via tribunal subpoena.
Musa further stated that the Court’s subpoena they received ordering them to produce a broad sheet used for the mock examination of 1979 of their College among other documents.
He also told the court that one Zayanu Muhammad Umar that came to the court and presented himself as a Principal of Sultan Abubakar College was a Vice principal and not a Principal and at the time he came and allegedly falsely presented himself as a Principal, the genuine and substantive Principal Mustapha Abubakar was in the office and Zayanu came to Birnin kebbi without his boss knowledge or consent.
The Principal Mustapha Abubakar who was in wheelchair, send Sani Abubakar Vice Principal Academic to represent him in case his attention is needed and also to inform the court to disregard whatever testimony given by Zayanu Muhammad Umar who was Vice Principal Admin and not Principal as he falsely presented himself.
The Original Certificates of Umar Abubakar Tafida, which were presented to the tribunal includes, GCE O Level Private Nov/Dec 1981, National Diploma in Purchasing and Supply (Kaduna Polytechnic), Higher National Diploma in Purchasing and Supply (Kaduna Polytechnic) and Msc Transport, from Ogun State University.
The legal team of the Deputy Governor led by Kehinde K. Elijah (SAN), also said that the subpoenaed witnesses’ documents tendered have shown that testimonial issued to the Deputy Governor and Mocks Result were properly issued.
In furtherance of their nefarious activities, the opposition party also claimed that a classmate of the Deputy Governor, Aminullah Umar came to the tribunal and testified against him. But in quick reaction, Aminullah Umar said in a statement that he was shocked when he read in some manipulated reports sponsored by the opposition party in Kebbi state that he testified against the Deputy Governor. He said in both his written and oral testimonies, there was nowhere his statements went against the Deputy Governor.
For the purpose of clarity, the testimonial in question was one of the documents he submitted to INEC when he contested the position of Deputy Governor in 2015 Governorship Election but was not attached at all in 2023 Election. The opposition, either by error or omission, has decided to misinform Kebbi people because the O’Level result the Deputy Governor attached to the form he submitted to INEC for 2023 Election had only his GCE O’Level Private Nov/ Dec 1981. Other results are OND and HND results from Kaduna Polytechnic and his Masters Degree results. What Sen. Umar Abubakar Tafida is out to prove beyond reasonable doubt is that even the testimonial he didn’t attached in 2023 Governorship Election is genuine, and that the testimonial is just the evidence of attendance of the school in question. It is quite disturbing that the information the good people of Kebbi state are being fed with is that Deputy Governor submitted fake documents to INEC.
The desperation being exhibited by the opposition party is unprecedented and capable of derailing the good work already started by the APC led government in the state. Remarkably, Kebbi residents have shown massive support to the incumbent government as they have been on the forefront of making sure that the ship of the state keeps sailing smoothly especially in the area of encouragement to the state government.
It is pertinent to state here that since the current administration came on board, the menacing effect of bandits in the state have been put on check and the economy of the state has taken a positive turn. Education system in Kebbi state is current taking the lead in the whole of North West because of the programmes being implemented by the incumbent government.
Analysts have said that the current media trial being faced by the Deputy Governor of the state may be borne out of the fact that with the way the APC led government is in a haste to develop the state, the opposition is already having the feeling that it may be difficult for them to win election in Kebbi state. It may interest the opposition party in the state to know that Umar Abubakar Tafida is not just a politician but also a patriotic citizen who has served this great nation in many capacities. He was former General Manager with Nigerian Ports Authority and a former Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria from 2007 to 2011.
Those who worked with him have confessed about the impeccability of his character, of which he has displayed within the shortest period he has been occupying the office of the Deputy Governorship position of the state.
Kebbi Sate is a unique state in Nigeria. It takes people with the tact and discipline of Sen. Umar Abubakar Tafida and the Governor Dr. Nasiru Idris Kauran Gwandu to pilot the affairs of such state. It will be wise for the opposition party, to follow the path of honour and play the politics of opposition without tarnishing image of people.
Finally, as the tribunal is moving towards concluding their job, the People Democratic Party in Kebbi state should as a matter of urgency desist from any action or comment that could be pre-emptive as regards to the decision of the tribunal.