The Supreme Court has, on Friday, May 24, annulled the participation of all candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the 2019 elections, declaring the party with second highest votes, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as winner in Zamfara State.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the apex court heard two election appeals seeking to ascertain authentic candidates of the APC in the state 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 elections.
Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), counsel for Dan-Alhaji, while adopting his address, prayed the Supreme Court to restore the February 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 candidates for the elections on the grounds that the party did not conduct a lawful primary should be set aside, arguing that the lower court erred in law, as the ‘decision was a miscarriage of justice’.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said the APC had shown proof that 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.
But in his argument, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), counsel for Sen. Kabiru Marafa and 142 others, the APC’s plea to the apex court to dismiss the appeal and affirm the judgment of the Appeal Court 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.
Tanimu Inuwa (SAN), counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), aligned himself with the argument canvassed by Ozekhome and 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 and therefore, urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.