By Ibrahim Kegbegbe
In a significant legal development, the Federal High Court in Awka delivered an oral ruling on the case filed by the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) and five others against Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and ten others. Presiding over the case, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba made crucial determinations but left several vital issues unaddressed.
Firstly, Justice Dimgba declined jurisdiction, expressing doubt about the legal standing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between NNPP’s founders, led by Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, and the Kwankwassiyya Movement, led by Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
The judge questioned the validity of the MOU, emphasizing that even if the Court of Appeal disagreed, he wouldn’t grant the plaintiffs’ prayers as none of the sued parties had signed the MOU.
Secondly, Justice Dimgba argued that the dispute was an internal matter that should have been resolved through the party’s internal dispute resolution mechanism, as outlined in its constitution. He also dismissed Kwankwaso’s claim to leadership, stating that such titles are often self-attributed in politics.
Crucially, the judge refrained from giving a verdict on key issues raised by the plaintiffs, including the permanence of the founder’s office, the validity of expulsions, and the need for Kwankwaso to account for funds collected during the 2022 nomination and screening exercises.
The NNPP, led by National Chairman Dr. Agbo Major, expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling, asserting that the trial judge had committed a grave error by overlooking the signed MOU in the case file.
The party, represented by lead counsel Azubike Anazor, promptly filed a Notice of Appeal to the Court of Appeal, intending to present additional grounds of appeal upon receiving the written judgment and record.
In response to the developments, Alhaji Abdulrahman, National Publicity Secretary of NNPP, urged members to maintain peace and avoid actions resembling those of the Kwankwassiyya Movement.
He emphasized the party’s commitment to justice and appealed to the Supreme Court to disregard any disruptive actions from Kwankwaso’s followers regarding a governorship appeal before it.
The NNPP remains optimistic that justice will prevail as the legal battle progresses, reaffirming their support for their candidate, Gov. Yusuf of Kano State, and calling for “substantial justice” to be served.
TAGS: NNPP, Kwankwaso, Federal High Court