AA Zaura: Between Integrity and Representation
By Adnan Mukhtar,
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress for Kano Central Senatorial District, Abdussalam Abdulkarim Zaura, is facing criminal trial at the Federal high court sitting in Kano.
Zaura was first arraigned in court by the EFCC in 2019 when he was the gubernatorial candidate of Green Party of Nigeria alongside one Michael Edosa for allegedly defrauding Jamman Al-Azmi of monies amounting to $1.32 million with the intent to conduct a joint venture business together.
Though, Mr. Zaura was discharged and acquitted On 9 June, 2020, by Lewis Allagoa, a judge of the Federal High Court in Kano, found the defendant not guilty and discharged him on all counts.
Mr Allagoa ruled against the anti-graft agency that prosecute Zaura in court. He held that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Dissatisfied with the judgment of the lower court, the EFCC appealed to the Court of Appeal. A unanimous decision by the three-member panel of judges read by Abdullahi Bayero set aside the judgment of the high court.
Mr Bayero then ordered the defendant to be tried afresh by a different judge.
Now, the main issue is the absence of the accused in court despite a ruling by supreme Court that he has a case to answer. An accused person must always be present in court, since the beginning of the fresh charge, Zaura has refused to appear before the court to the extent that the Judge had to issue an arrest warrant that he should be arrested and brought before the court to answer the charges brought against him.
Despite these serious charges, Zaura was made the Senatorial Candidate of All Progressives Congress through a consensus agreement by party stakeholders.
Despite having two other credible aspirants with track record, the party turned on deaf ears to make Zaura its candidate.
This is not the first time that credible aspirants are sacrificed for people with questionable integrity.
How would a serious party drop Bashir Garba Lado, a former Senator that had done remarkably well in the red chamber, former Federal Commissioner of the Federal Commission for Refugees and Dissaster Management for AA Zaura who neither held any public office nor good track record to become saleable to the people of Kano Central?
A serious party would never work for a consensus that favours Zaura against Ismaeel Ahmed, a fine lawyer and eloquent speaker that has worked for All Progressives Congress and the defunct Congress for Progressives Change?
It’s obvious that the duo are more competent with unbeatable record than Zaura.
APC is in a serious dilemma in Kano Central. AA Zaura’s case is a serious disadvantage to the party in the general poll even though, an accused is innocent in the eye of the law until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The choice is now before the people of Kano Central, with Senator Ibrahim Shekarau withdrawing from the Senatorial race after dumping NNPP, PDP’s Nuhu Danburan/Laila Buhari who are not visible in the race and in court over the genuine winner of the ticket after a paraller primaries.
The seat no doubt is eyeing Senator Rufai Hanga, a former Distinguished Senator that represented the people of Kano Central from 2003-2007 succeeding the eloquent Kura Mohammed of blessed memory, Senator Mohammed Adamu Bello as his predecessor until in 2011 when Senator Bashir Garba Lado took over.
In the history of this seat, it’s never been repeated for second term but Senator Hanga riding under Kwankwaso’s popularity in the commercial hub, his platform, the NNPP, a second term is assured.
Adnan is a Political PR Consultant and a University Lecturer. He can be followed on Twitter @AdnanMoukhtar