Kano governorship election tribunal judges are conspicuously absent from the courtroom on judgement day following recent threats to their lives, Daily Trust reports.
The tribunal had been poised to read its judgment in a petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC), challenging the election victory of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) on Wednesday.
This unexpected absence has left journalists, lawyers, party members, and the public bewildered and anxious.
Reports from the scene say that access to the courtroom was tightly controlled, with journalists and spectators denied entry. The situation escalated when the secretariat announced that there would be no live broadcast of the judgment, and the few journalists permitted inside were strictly prohibited from using smartphones or cameras.
Top security officials could not locate the judges, prompting speculation that the proceedings might be held virtually.
Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay, the chairman of the three-member panel, eventually addressed the assembled crowd via Zoom.
The absence of the judges has not been without controversy. In recent days, allegations and counter-allegations have swirled around the tribunal. Former Commissioner of Land and Physical Planning, Adamu Kibiya, threatened the judges to choose between their duty and safety when delivering the judgment.
“People voted for us, and some individuals are attempting to do injustice. We want to tell the judges that we will not accept this. Any judge willing to deprive us of our rights will regret it. Whatever will happen, we won’t care…,” he declared during a protest organised by members of the ruling New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) in the state.