Yesterday, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State told the State House of Assembly that he “did not collect, has not collected and will never collect bribe from anybody” as he was recently portrayed in a series of video recordings that went viral on social media.
Ganduje who had been summoned to appear before a seven-man investigative committee set up by the assembly to probe allegations that he collected a $5million cash bribe from contractors sent his defence in writing.
The letter was signed and delivered to the committee by Information,Youth and Culture Commissioner, Muhammad Garba. The governor, in the four paragraph letter, said:
Re: invitation to respond to a bribery allegation against His Excellency, kano.
Your Correspondence No: KMHA/ADMIN/COM/Vol.1/12 dated 31st October 2018: 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.
Malam Muhammad Garba,
Commissioner for Information Kano state,
For the Governor?
I so submit.
The commissioner was not cross –examined since he was merely representing the governor but the committee chairman said:
“we cannot go into cross-examination with you. We can only receive a written response from the governor, and that is what we can work with because you are not the governor. The accusation is directly against him. So sending his representation, like we said in the letter, will be in writing and we accept it from you if you tender it before the Committee.
“There are so many questions you may not be able to answer because you are not the one who is being accused of the bribery allegation against the governor.”
The House had previously interrogated Jafar Jafar editor of the Daily Nigeria who posted the video recordings.
The governor’s counsel, Ibrahim Muktar, who accompanied Garba to the House expressed appreciation to the Committee for the way it was ”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.”
He added: “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.”