John Shiklam in Kaduna and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPC) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow political parties run their affairs while it concentrates on the management of elections.
This is just as the governorship candidate of the party in Kaduna State, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, has urged the residents of the state to reject governorship candidates promoting religion and tribal sentiments in the March 18 elections.
Reacting to the Supreme Court judgment that ordered the commission to accept Senator Rufai Hanga as the senatorial candidate for Kano Central in place of former Kano Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Dr. Agbo Major said INEC should not involve itself in who becomes a candidate of a political party.
INEC had refused to accept Senator Hanga as the candidate, declaring Senator Shekarau as the winner of the election even when he had left the party.
But in a judgment on Friday, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of both the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal and directed the Commission to accept Hanga as the candidate for the election
Major said: “Our victory at the Supreme Court was not unexpected because it is not INEC’s responsibility to determine political party’s candidates. Their responsibility is to engage in election management and not to decide who the candidate of a political party should be.
“The truth is that from the beginning, we have never been afraid of that case all along, right from the High Court to the Appeal Court and now, the Supreme Court. We have defeated them roundly in these three courts,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of the NNPP in Kaduna State, Senator Hunkuyi, has urged the residents of the state to reject governorship candidates promoting religion and tribal sentiments in the March 18 elections.
Speaking with journalists yesterday in Kaduna, Hunkuyi warned against the dangers of using religion and ethnicity for electioneering campaigns in a complex state like Kaduna.
According to him, “using religion or tribal antics in a complex state such as Kaduna for electioneering is dangerous to democracy.”
He called on the electorates to be wary of candidates deploying religion or tribal sentiments to get their support for the governorship election.
Hunkuyi also condemned the endorsement of candidates by religious bodies and questioned the rationale behind jostling for the endorsement of religious leaders by some governorship candidates.
He urged the voters to shun divisive politics and vote for a credible candidate that will move the state forward in terms of development.
The NNPP governorship candidate who dismissed allegations that he was also running on a Muslim-Muslim ticket, said if elected, he will operate an all-inclusive government that would carry everybody along irrespective of age, religion and tribe.
He said the claims and counterclaims by both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that their candidates were endorsed by some clerics, were aimed at deceiving the electorates.
“Where do we go from here where a governor that will emerge after the poll will be tagged a governor for Christians or a governor for Muslims in this metropolitan state?”
“Kaduna State is known as the centre of learning; therefore, I don’t expect any sensible person whether citizen or resident of the state to be carried away by religious and tribal sentiments,” he said.
He added that he believes in a state “where nobody is treated as a second class citizen for the purpose of peace and unity; progress, growth and development