A chieftain of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, in Katsina State has lashed out at members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, behind a petition alleging that Aminu Masari, the APC gubernatorial candidate for Katsina State, was involved in certificate forgery.
Aminu Kurfi, a member of the PDP in Katsina State, said in a statement Monday that the allegation was a “cheap blackmail” and “clearly orchestrated”.
“It is a cheap blackmail, a kind of politics that I am convinced serves no useful purpose and we should all agree to put an end to it,” said Mr. Kurfi, a founding member of the party in Kurfi local government of the state.
“In my own reckoning, any effort to engage in litigation would also end up without much benefit. Litigation never resolves any issue, particularly when that issue border on the frivolous. You go through the motion and end up with what economists call a ‘winner’s curse’, a situation in which the winner becomes worst off than anticipated.”
A Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, had petitioned the All Progressives Congress, APC, last week over claims that Mr. Masari, its gubernatorial candidate, presented forged educational certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Mr. Masari, who was the Speaker of the House of Representatives between 2003 and 2007 (as a member of the PDP), emerged the candidate of the APC during the party’s primaries three weeks ago.
In the petition, filed on behalf of five APC members in Katsina State, Mr. Keyamo noted that if the APC went ahead to field the former Speaker in the 2015 general elections, those claims could earn him a disqualification from INEC, or if he won, a removal from the governorship seat.
Though not a member of the APC, Mr. Kurfi said he owed a duty to God to speak the truth, having known Mr. Masari closely for years.
“I knew Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari right from my days in the 1990s at the KSTA while he was then Honourable Commissioner for Works in Katsina State. As my boss then we interacted well,” Mr. Kurfi said.
“When he eventually became the Speaker of the House of Representatives, I doubled as his Legislative Consultant and Honourary Aide.”
According to the petitioners, when Mr. Masari contested for Governor of Katsina State in 2011, he alleged that he had a Post Graduate Diploma in Water Quality Control and Management from Middlesex Polytechnic, United Kingdom.
An inquiry made to the said polytechnic revealed that no such course was offered by the school in the year claimed by Mr. Masari, the petitioners had said.
“Interestingly, this same spurious allegation that is now given a garb of respectability by getting a lawyer to parrot it in a petition was flying in the air as far back as 2003, that is over 10 years ago, when all indicators were pointing to the possibility of Alhaji Masari becoming the Speaker of the House of Representatives,” said Mr. Kurfi.
“This allegation which was the only one that its authors could hold on to and keeps repeating was thoroughly investigated at different levels and was found out to be outright lies and fabrication; it was without basis and was peddled about in bad faith.
“President Umaru Musa Yar’adua of blessed memory, then Governor of Katsina State, a stickler for details and the truth cross-checked the facts to ensure that the position, which was zoned to Katsina State, was not lost because of the allegation. He found out that there was no iota of truth in the allegation.
“Ditto former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He did his checks and gave Alhaji Masari a clean bill of health and went ahead lend support to his bid for the position of the Speakership of the House of Representatives.
“In September 2005, the House of Representatives on their own, in response to orchestrated pressure by the media also launched its own investigation in respect of the same allegation of certificate forgery and subsequently returned a verdict of confidence in Alhaji Masari, then Speaker.
“Through a motion by Hon. Abdul Ningi, then Leader of the House, 320 other members prayed the House to resolve that: ‘there is no substance in any of the allegations made against the person and office of the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Bello Masari.’ All these are verifiable and can be cross checked.”