Confusion As Another Court Orders INEC To Field Zamfara APC Candidates
There was palpable confusion in the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] headquarters in Abuja on Friday after two different courts gave two different verdicts concerning candidates of the All Progressives Congress [APC] for the 2019 general election in February and March.
After ElombahNews published a report wherein a Federal High Court in Abuja upheld the decision of the INEC to reject all APC political candidates from Zamfara State, another court sitting in Gusau, on Friday, gave a conflicting judgement ordering INEC otherwise.
In the first judgement following a suit filed in the name of APC by some individuals challenging INEC’s decision to exclude the party in Zamfara State, the presiding judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, in her ruling, said that INEC acted within its powers.
Justice Ojukwu said it was not the fault of INEC that APC failed to conduct a valid primary within the scheduled period.
The judge said that INEC’s action was intended to curb impunity among political parties and politicians.
She held that the position adopted by INEC with regards to Zamfara APC was in tandem with the law and would help to instill discipline in the system.
The judge, therefore, upheld INEC’s decision.
Accordingly, INEC in a letter dated October 9, 2018, stated that it was excluding the party from presenting and submitting the list of its candidates for the forthcoming election in Zamfara in February and March.
Barely hours later, however, the Zamfara State High Court 3 upheld the primary election conducted by the state chapter of APC.
The court ordered the APC national headquarters and INEC to accept the primary election conducted on October 7, 2018.
Recall that the national headquarters of the APC had also earlier declared that there was no primary election of the party in the state.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Bello Shinkafi said his judgment was based on the evidence tendered before the court by various witnesses whom were cross examined.
According to the judgement, the APC Zamfara State Chapter was qualified to field candidates to contest elections for the Governorship, National Assembly and the State House of Assembly elections.
The judge, therefore, ordered INEC and APC national headquarters to recognise the primary election held by the party in the state.
The question before INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu is: WHICH JUDGMENT WILL HE FOLLOW ON ZAMFARA? GUSAU OR ABUJA?