The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed its decision to comply with a ruling made by the Court of Appeal in Abuja to include the candidates fielded by the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the ballot papers to be used during the elections in Zamfara state.
Backstory: The electoral body disclosed on Friday in a statement signed by its National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, that the Federal High Court in Abuja and the Zamfara State High Court had both given conflicting judgments, with regards to the elections on February 23 and March 9.
“While the former ruled that the APC, having failed to conduct party primaries cannot field candidates in the said election, the latter decided that it can field candidates having conducted valid party primaries.”
He however revealed that following the judgment by the Court of Appeal which set aside the previous ruling by the Federal High Court in Abuja, the APC has been allowed to field candidates for the National Assembly, governorship and state assembly elections.
“Consequently, the commission has today (Friday) in compliance with the said order, restored the APC to the ballot in the National Assembly, governorship and State House of Assembly elections scheduled for February 23 and March 9 2019.”
Opposition from APC Faction: A faction of the APC in Zamfara state, led by Senator Kabir Marafa, has opposed INEC’s decision, saying that the ruling by the Court of Appeal in Abuja, did not clear the party to present candidates for the general elections.
In a statement released by its lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the group said that the notion that the Court of Appeal’s ruling had created precedence for the party to field a candidate, is “false”.
They further stated that the February 21 ruling of the Court of Appeal, simply set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court on the basis of a lack of jurisdiction, but didn’t offer permission to present candidates.
However the rival faction fronted by Governor Abdul’aziz Yari, has celebrated the verdict by the Court of Appeal setting aside the Federal High Court judgment over the case.