Ganduje Denies Bribery Allegation
Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Friday out rightly denied bribery allegations against him by the publisher of Daily Nigerian online newspaper, insisting that the move was a calculated attempt to tarnish his image and reputation ahead the 2019 general election.
Ganduje who was represented by the state Commissioner of Information, Youths and Culture, Malam Muhammad Garba, while testifying before the seven-man House of Assembly Investigative Committee headed by Hon. Baffa Babba Dan Agundi, said he has never received bribe from any contractor or any other person in his life.
According to the Governor, in the letter read and presented to the Committee by the Commissioner for Information, the allegation levelled against him in the video clip released by the publisher of Daily Nigerian, are injurious.
The Commissioner of Information, while reading out the written response to the Committee, said, “I have the instruction of His Excellency, the Governor of Kano state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (OFR) to write as follows:
“That His Excellency, the Governor of Kano state categorically and unequivocally denied the allegation of collecting bribe from contractors as alleged by the publisher of the online newspaper, Daily Nigerian.
“That His Excellency, the Governor of Kano state did not collect, has not collected and will never collect bribe from anybody whosoever and for whatever purposes.
“That the allegation levelled against him is injurious falsehood designed purposely to tarnish his long-established good reputation, reduce his popularity for some political opponents to take undue advantage in the forth-coming general election.
“That caution should be exercised by handling this allegation putting into consideration the antecedents of the accuser on similar accusations against leaders and rulers in the state, particularly the allegation made against the former Governor of Kano state, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and the Sarkin Kano, Malam Muhammad Sanusi 11, which turned out to be false accusation.”
Speaking earlier, the Committee chairman, Dan Agundi stated that, “I am just being informed that the Commissioner of Information is representing the Governor to tender his written response to this Committee.
“We all know that any Committee, Tribunal or what have you has the right to set up its rule on how it is going to operate; and it is not in the breach of any rules, either by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or the Rules of this House to accept representation for any witness who wishes to send his representation in writing or to appear in person.
“I think there is a Supreme Court ruling to that effect. I stand to be guided by the lawyers in the House today. So, I think it is in order for us to start the business of the day by welcoming the representative of His Excellency and the Commissioner of Information. You are highly welcomed to the Kano state House of Assembly; and this Investigative Committee.”
He, however, asked for the representatives of Mr. Jafar Jafar, publisher of the Daily Nigerian, who was absent in the sitting.
In his comments during the sitting, the state Commissioner of Justice and Attorney-General, Bar. Ibrahim Muktar hailed the Committee for its fairness and transparency in handling the investigation, but expressed dismay over how local radio stations were misrepresenting the proceedings of the Investigative Committee.
According to him, “Mr chairman, I just have to show my appreciation with the way the Committee is conducting this proceedings which shows fairness to everybody, fairness to the public, fairness to the accuser, and fairness to the person being accused—that is the Governor of Kano state.
“This concept of fair hearing can be seen right from day one when commenced the proceedings till today. We have seen transparency in everything. We have seen fair treatment about the parties concerned. So, we have appreciated on behalf of the general public.
“I just want to draw the attention of the House probably to the way your information is being taken out to the media which is very important.
“Just this morning when I was coming to this particular meeting, I had a reporter reporting that only a single member out of the seven members of the Committee is around—that only one member of the Committee is available. All other members are not available.
“This was a live broadcast of one of the local radio stations in the state. When I came in, to my surprise, I see all the members sitting and waiting for the parties.
“Secondly, the way this invitation letter which was sent to His Excellency was reported was not good. But the way the letter was written showed fairness, it gave options as rightly stated by the Hon. Commissioner of Information.
“Several option were given either for His Excellency to send his representative, right formally to the Committee or appear in person together with his lawyers, but the way it was reported that Governor has only one option and that is for him to appear before this Committee.
“And with due respect Mr. Chairman, this is mischievous because if the Governor fails to appear today in person, that means the message to the general public is that the Governor is in contempt of request made by the Committee.
“So I am just drawing the attention of the chairman and members of the Committee to this because some people are trying to tamper with the way you are conducting your fair and transparent proceedings.
“They do this in order to create a mischief and I am sure that you are not part of it with the way it is transmitted by some mischievous persons. Thank you Mr. Chairman.”
Governor Ganduje’s personal counsel, Mr. Mohammed Yakasai, also said his client was satisfied with the proceedings of the Committee so far, adding that, “Mr. Chairman, I am the personal Counsel to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano state. Mr. Chairman, I want to use this opportunity to inform the Committee that as Counsel to His Excellency, we are so far satisfied with the conduct of the proceedings.
“Though my client has several options under the constitution, this is public hearing, and this is Kano state; and my client has sent a representative and he has sent a written response to the allegation levelled against him.
“The lawyers in the House will tell you that he has every right not to appear in person. As far as the media is concerned, I am informing the media that journalism is guided by ethics, it is guided by rules and we have to play by the rules of the game.
“There have been several publications which we can take up media houses for defamation of character, but we chose not to do that, we chose not to go to court because this is public hearing.
“The accuser came and stated his own part, and His Excellency has made his presentation. We are so far satisfied and I thank you for the audience given to me.”
However, the Chairman of the Committee, Dan Aagundi assured both Ganduje’s Counsel and the Attorney-General of their resolve to continue to be fair and just to all parties involved.
According to him, “I thank you for your observation. We are here for the proceedings because we are not hearing what is happening in the radio stations. You see, in a situation like this you don’t say what will happen or what people will perceive or what kind of mischief will be going on, but the most important thing is for this Committee to do what is right.
“As you rightly said Allah is seeing what we are doing. We have promised ourselves, we have promised the people of Kano state that we are going to be fair and just to everybody. Therefore, we will be fair to the accuser, the accused and the general public.
“It is very unfortunate for any media station to take something out and say what is not correct. We were here at exactly 10 a.m because we said we were going to meet at 10 a.m. and we were at 10 o’clock on the dot. We started the programme right away and we don’t worry about whoever or which radio station is out to make any mischief action or send wrong information to the public for his personal reasons.”
It could be recalled that the state House of Assembly under the leadership of Speaker Kabiru Alhasan Rurum on October 15 constituted a seven-man Committee to investigate and established the authenticity of the video clips of alleged bribery allegation against Governor Ganduje.
An online newspaper, Daily Nigerian had on October 14 and 15 published two video clips allegedly showing Governor Ganduje receiving bribes from contractors in Dollars.
To this end, Kano state Government has categorically denied the allegations, describing the video clips as not only cloned but doctored.