The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted on its earlier decision to bar the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from fielding candidates for state and federal elections in Zamfara state.
Backstory: The commission confirmed its position in a statement by Festus Okoye, a National Commissioner, and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee.
The statement gave a total number of final candidates for both the governorship and state assembly positions at 1,066, and 14,583, candidates respectively.
On the issue of Zamfara, the statement read: “The Commission reviewed the situation concerning the All Progressives Congress (APC) fielding candidates for the Governorship and State Assembly elections in Zamfara State. It noted that there are two conflicting court judgments on the matter – one from a State High Court in Gusau and the other from a Federal High Court in Abuja.
“The former judgment clearly said that the APC conducted primaries in Zamfara State, contrary to the position of the Commission. On the other hand, the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that the party did not conduct valid primaries and therefore is ineligible to field candidates for the elections.
“The Commission would like to reaffirm its commitment to obeying all court judgments, even when it disagrees with them. However, these are clearly two contradictory judgments delivered by two courts of coordinate jurisdiction on the same day.
“Consequently,” Okoye said, “the Commission has decided to maintain its original position that the party in question did not conduct primaries and therefore, in line with Section 87 of the Electoral Act 20l0 (as amended), is not eligible to field candidates for the National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections in Zamfara State.”
Bottom Line: The case is now expected to head to the Appeal Court, but with the elections just a month away, this does not bode well for the APC.