Nigeria Supreme court nullifies APC candidates elections in Zamfara

by Samuel Abasi Last updated on May 25th, 2019,

Abuja, Nigeria: The Supreme Court on Friday nullified All Progressives Congress (APC), participation in 2019 elections and declares party with second highest votes as winner in Zamfara state.

The panel of justices, in a unanimous judgment on Friday declared that the party in the state failed to conduct primaries in accordance with the party rules.

The Supreme Court held that all votes cast for the APC as “wasted votes” and declared that all political parties with the second highest votes in the elections and the required spread, are elected to the various elections. The Supreme Court has fixed May 24 for judgment in the appeals over the disqualification of candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State.

A five-member panel of justices presided by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad fixed the date after listening to the arguments of counsels in the matter.

The Apex court heard two election appeals seeking to ascertain authentic candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), candidates in Zamfara in the last general elections.

The APC and Malam Sanusi Dan-Alhaji had instituted the case on the primary election conducted by the party for the nomination of candidates to participate in the last general election.

Chief Lateef Fagbemi,SAN, Counsel for Dan-Alhaji, while adopting his address, prayed the apex court to restore the Feb.13 judgment of the Zamfara High Court which allowed APC to field candidates in the general election.

Fagbemi submitted that the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, which disqualified APC from nominating candidate for the election on the grounds that the party did not conduct lawful primary should be set aside.

He further argued that the lower court erred in law, adding that the decision was a miscarriage of justice.

Fagbemi said the APC had shown proof the party conducted a free and fair primary to elect the candidates that contested the governorship election, the National Assembly and the House of Assembly elections respectively.

However, Chief Mike Ozekhome,SAN, Counsel for Sen. Kabiru Marafa and 142, all of the APC urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal and affirm the judgment of the Appeal Court.

Ozekhome submitted that the judgment was a copious description of how the APC in Zamfara failed to conduct primary election in accordance with the Electoral Act, party guideline and the 1999 Constitution.

He said the process failed both legal and integrity tests, adding that the exercise was not conducted to produce candidates for the last general election as his clients were fenced out.

Mr Tanimu Inuwa,SAN, Counsel for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) aligned himself with the argument canvassed by Ozekhome.

He further explained that the electoral body did not supervised any primary conducted by the party as mandated by law.

Inuwa argued that the Court of Appeal in Sokoto was right to have stopped the APC from fielding candidates in the 2019 general election in Zamfara.

Inuwa therefore, urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.

INEC Releases Statement On The Supreme Court Judgment On Zamfara Election

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will announce its decision on Zamfara elective positions on Monday.

Reacting to the supreme court ruling which sacked all candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the general election, Festus Okoye, INEC director of voter education and publicity, said the commission will meet on Saturday after an emergency meeting held Friday afternoon.

The APC had been declared winner of the state governorship election as well as seven house of representatives seats, three senatorial positions and 24 house of assembly seats.

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