Jibrin, Doguwa: The travails of House of Reps political giants
The Appeal Court judgements that ordered for the conduct of fresh elections in Kiru/Babeji and Doguwa/Tudun Wada federal constituencies of Kano State are no mean judgments.
They are unique in their sense and political effects both in Kano State and the 9th Assembly.
This was so, as the fate of two powerful figures close to the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, hangs in the uncertain political scale.
Abdulmumini Jibrin, representing Kiru/Bebeji federal constituency and the current House Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, representing Doguwa/Tudun Wada federal constituency had their elections nullified by the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna ordered for the fresh election in Jibrin’s Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency as a result of a petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Aliyu Datti Yako.
Delivering the judgement, Justice Ajoke said the election in Kiru and Bebeji was null and void as the final results on Form EC (8) E was mutilated.
Similarly, the Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna ruling in the case brought by his PDP opponent ordered for a fresh election in Tudunwada/Doguwa federal constituency represented by Alhassan Ado Doguwa.
It ruled that his election was marred by irregularities; in a case brought by the candidate of the PDP.
The Election Petition Tribunal had earlier affirmed Doguwa’s election.
The two “kingmakers”
The two people are very close to Gbajabiamila and are the two ranking lawmakers that spearheaded the campaign leading to his emergence as the Speaker of the 9th Assembly.
Jibrin was seen as the kingmaker that perfected the moves and mapped out the strategies which gave Gbajabiamila an almost smooth ride to the Speaker’s seat as he carried along the new members who were the majority in the House while using other tactics like an “Army General” to conquer the old horses.
Doguwa on the other side was said to have consolidated the gains of the past because of the role he played as one of the principal officers of the 8th House led by Dogara.
Silence in the House
Although Doguwa, the Majority Leader was sacked, nothing has changed in the House as there is no move to replace him before the rerun.
Doguwa is the point man in Gbajabiamila’s kitchen cabinet and the Speaker and his men will not afford to tinker with the present arrangement.
It was believed that, the seat will be retained for Doguwa because of the confidence that he will eventually be returned after the rerun.
Doguwa had been sighted at the National Assembly few days after his sack while the plenary was on.
He was seen exchanging pleasantries with other members outside the chamber before he eventually left.
Jibrin’s supposed sins
It could be recalled that, Jibrin rebelled against the APC leadership in 2015 and backed Yakubu Dogara to become the Speaker and was made the Chairman Committee on Appropriation.
They however parted ways with Dogara few months into the 8th Assembly after he levelled allegations of corruption against Dogara which earned him a long time suspension.
He was later pardoned and returned to the House but lost his coveted seat to another lawmaker from Kano State, Mustapha Bala Dawaki representing Dawakin Kudu/Warawa federal constituency.
On the other hand, the APC national leadership as well as the Kano chapter of the party had never forgotten nor forgiven Jibrin for his role in the emergence of Dogara.
Prior to the 2015 elections, Jibrin had series of spats with powerful APC stalwarts in Kano, including Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
The lawmaker was however popular in his constituency and have never lost election as he cruised to victory in the 2015 general elections and was declared the winner.
His victory did not however go down well with the powerful forces he had been having issues with for a long time.
The plot to do away with Jibrin therefore began in earnest with an alleged backing of Governor Ganduje, the state APC chairman, Abdullahi Abbas and others.
Jibrin was suspended by the Bebeji Local Government chapter of the APC through its chairman, Suleiman Gwarmai.
According to the chairman, Jibrin was suspended for allegedly engaging in anti-party activities.
He said the party raised a seven-man committee which investigated a petition filed against Jibrin which recommended his suspension.
“Upon a petition received by the APC executive committee of Bebeji Local Government, a seven-man committee was inaugurated to investigate all the issues raised by the petitioner.
“After a thorough investigation, the committee submitted its report and recommendations to the Local Government executive which subsequently met and adopted that:“having confirmed various anti-party activities by Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin Kofa which was found contrary to some provisions of the party’s constitution, ranging from article 21, paragraph A (ii) (V).
“And (Vii) the executive committee adopted the report and hereby suspended Hon. Kofa with immediate effect for 12 months.
“That the executive committee also adopted the committee’s recommendation urging the state executive committee to recommend to the national executive the immediate expulsion of Hon. Abdulmuminu Jibrin Kofa from the party for various offenses.”
The judgement was said to be what the opponents in his party wanted as they openly rejoiced and promised to back an opposition candidate to defeat him in the rerun.
The state party chairman, Abdullahi Abbas was quoted as allegedly saying, that, they will back an “indigenous candidate” in the rerun.
The uphill tasks
A rerun in the present circumstances means different things to each of the two sacked lawmakers.
As Doguwa enjoyed the support of his people as well as the APC leadership at both state and national levels, same may not be said for Jibrin as the party leadership in Kano State openly supported the judgement against him.
While the national party leadership kept mute on the recent happenings as it lost more senate, House of Representatives and state Houses of Assembly seats as a result of the Appeal Court judgements, it is an open secret that, the party wants to see Jibrin out during the rerun.
There are speculations about an alleged secret arrangement between the APC leadership and the PDP candidate who took Jibrin to court over the election.
Although details of the arrangement were not disclosed but what the state party chairman was quoted to have said lend credence to the speculations.
As it stands, both Jibrin and Doguwa have the chance to win the rerun in their constituencies.
However, powerful forces are working against Jibrin’s victory in the rerun election. If the people decided to bring Jibrin back as they had been doing in the past, that will be a defeat to the APC and a strong statement by the people of Kiru/Bebeji federal constituency.
But in the event of Jibrin losing to the opposition PDP candidate, it will be a victory to the forces that opposed him all the way and he might go back to the University as he had been saying. Only time will tell.
Race in the House
However, while the embattled Majority Leader Doguwa was facing the rerun, the race to replace him is believed to have secretly began.
The move was believed to be spearheaded by different groups with each backing a particular member interested in his position.
Top contenders to the seat from the North West are believed to be at the forefront of the race to replace Doguwa.
At present, three lawmakers who contested for the position alongside Doguwa in the 9th Assembly were strategising to go for the seat in the absence of Doguwa to fill the vacuum created by the Appeal Court ruling.
Doguwa representing Tudun Wada/Doguwa federal Constituency emerged the House Majority Leader of the 9th Assembly following the emergence of Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker.
According to sources in the House of Representatives, pressure is building up especially within the North West APC Caucus.
However, the Speaker has kept mute and no move is being made for the replacement of Doguwa and it was believed that the seat was reserved for his expected return.