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Court orders INEC to field APC candidates in Zamfara

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*Another judge in Abuja supports INEC decision

INEC chairman Professor Mahmood YakubuINEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu: which judgment will he follow on Zamfara? Gusau or Abuja?

The Zamfara State High Court 3 sitting in Gusau on Friday upheld the primary election conducted by the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Oct. 11, 2018 the state APC chapter filed a case before the court praying it to compel the APC national headquarters and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept the primary election it conducted on Oct. 7, 2018.

NAN also reports that the national headquarters of the APC had 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 judgement also ordered INEC and APC national headquarters to recognise the primary election held by the party in the state.

Reacting to the judgement, the counsel to the plaintiff, Sani Katu, commended the Judge for the judgment.

However, in Abuja came a twist as a Federal High Court judge supported the decision of the INEC to exclude APC candidates in the election.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu said it was not the fault of INEC that APC failed to conduct a valid primary within the scheduled period.

Ojukwu said INEC’s action was intended to curb impunity among political parties and politicians.

Justice Ojukwu held that the position adopted by INEC with regards to Zamfara APC was in tandem with the law and would help to instil discipline.

APC, not satisfied with the decision, filed a suit in court challenging the decision of the electoral umpire.

In the suit, the APC prayed the court to declare that INEC’s letter of Oct. 9 was null, void, ultra vires and of no effect, having regards to the provisions of Sections 31(1) and 86(2), (3) and (4) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

INEC’s letter of Oct. 9 had stated that it was excluding the party from presenting and submitting the list of its candidates for the forthcoming election in Zamfara next month and March.

The electoral body said the exclusion was on the grounds that the APC failed to conduct its primaries within the stipulated time.

Meanwhile, the APC was counting on the judgment delivered in Gusau.

Alhaji Lawal Liman, chairman of Zamfara chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), commended the judgment.

Liman, who spoke to newsmen in Gusau on Friday, described the judgement as a welcome development

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the judgment was delivered by Justice Bello Shinkafi.

The court upheld the primary elections conducted by the party under the leadership of Alhaji Liman in October 2018.

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