Appeal Court Clears APC to Field Candidates in Zamfara

The Court of Appeal in Sokoto has dismissed an appeal against the judgment of a Zamfara State High Court asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for various offices in Zamfara State.
The judgment rendered the judgment of Federal High Court, Abuja, ineffective which had said the Independent National Electoral Commission was right to have barred the state from fielding candidates in the forthcoming elections.
The judgment Wednesday, has made a way for the APC to participate in all elections in the state, starting on Saturday with the presidential and National Assembly polls.
A three-member panel of judges unanimously dismissed the appeal following its withdrawal by the appellant, Aminu Jaji.
On January 25, 2019, two courts issued conflicting rulings on whether the INEC can accept candidates presented by the APC for Zamfara elections.
A High Court sitting in Gusau, Zamfara State, had ruled that the governing APC actually conducted primaries in the state and should be allowed to present candidates for the electoral contest.
A Federal high court in Abuja,however, ruled otherwise.
The Zamfara court specifically directed INEC to accept candidates from the party for Zamfara States in the forthcoming elections.
INEC had last October said it would not allow the APC to field candidates in Zamfara because the party failed to conduct primaries before the deadline stipulated.
Some members of the APC in the state had approached the court challenging the decision of INEC.
The party said it conducted primaries which produced current Governor Abdulaziz Yari as a senatorial candidate and his commissioner of finance, Shehu Idris, as the governorship candidate, among others.
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Justice Muhammad Shinkafi, who delivered the ruling said APC conducted primaries elections on October 3 and 7, 2018.
The court also barred the national secretariat of the APC from replacing the names of those who won the primary elections of the party.
In the case with suit number ZMS/GS/52/2018, Sanusi Liman, Dan Alhaji and 37 others vs APC and 143, the plaintiffs had asked the court to compel the APC and INEC to accept the results of the party’s primaries election in the state conducted on October 7, 2018, among others.
But a Federal High Court in Abuja ruled otherwise, saying INEC acted within its powers by refusing to accept the list of candidates from the Zamfara State chapter of the APC.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, in a judgment, said it was not the fault of INEC that the APC failed to conduct a valid primary within the period scheduled by the electoral body.
Mrs Ojukwu said INEC’s action was intended to curb impunity among political parties and politicians and ensure that rule of law is adhered to.
The judgment was on a suit filed in the name of APC by some individuals, who said they emerged from a consensus arrangement adopted by the party in Zamfara State.

Author: News Editor

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