INEC directed to postpone Zamfara elections

Posted by News Express | 14 February 2019 | 1,457 times

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•AGF Abubakar Malami

 The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone elections in Zamfara State to enable the All Progressives Congress (APC) field candidates for the 2019 elections.

In a three-page letter dated February 13, 2019 and addressed to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Malami told the commission that the directive was sequel to Section 38 and 39 of the Electoral Amendment Act 2010.

He stated that since the Court of Appeal has annulled the ground upon which the commission had based the cancellation of the APC primaries in the state, the party would need a little time to catch up with its contemporaries in the election.

He submitted that granting the party concession is not a favour but a right that inures to all contestants under similar circumstances.

The letter read: “My office received a petition from the firm of M.A. Mahmud, (SAN) & CO in respect of the above subject matter, (copy attached for ease of reference) requesting that the subsisting judgment in Suit No. ZMS/GS/52/2018 – Sanusi Liman Dan-Alhaji & 37 ORS V. APC & 144 ORS be upheld and respected by INEC, as the Court of Appeal has upheld the Appeal No. CA/S/23/2019, thus effectively annulling the grounds upon which the purported cancellation of the APC primaries in Zamfara State by INEC was based.

“You may wish to recall that the Zamfara State High Court upheld the Zamfara APC primaries in the suit mentioned in the first paragraph above, held on October 3 and 7, 2018 for the governorship and the national and state legislative houses.

“You may further wish to recall that in Suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/1279/2018- APC V. INEC & 5 ORS, the Federal High Court held that the nullification of the said Zamfara APC primaries by INEC was lawful. However, this decision has been upturned in Appeal No CA/S/23/2019. Copy is also attached for ease of reference.

“In the circumstance and in consideration of the provisions of Sections 38 and 39 of the Electoral Act, 2010, the law allows INCE the latitude and discretion to extend the time within which a political party may duly field a candidate for an election where unforeseen circumstances constrained such a party from doing so within the stipulated time frame.

“In this particular instance, the constraining circumstances that led to the delay in fielding candidate were caused by INEC’s refusal to comply with the Zamfara State High Court Judgment in the aforementioned suit to uphold the primaries as held. Moreover, INEC cannot foreclose the right of a political party to participate in elections without recourse to the Act. By the doctrine and principle of judicial precedence, the Appeal supersedes the Federal High Court’s Position in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1279/2018 –APC V. INEC & 5 ORS.

“In view of the fact, now that the Court of Appeal has upheld the Primaries as valid, the APC in Zamfara State will need a little time to catch up with its contemporaries in the election. Granting them this concession is not necessarily a favour but a right that inures to all contestants under similar circumstances.

“Consequent on the above, INEC is invited to comply with the judgment of the Court of Appeal by admitting the results of the APC Zamfara State primaries and to also comply with the provisions of S.38 of the Electoral Act, which empowers INEC to postpone the election for the governorship, National Assembly and House of Assembly Elections.

Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has described the directive as an act of desperation, and advised INEC to reject it. Reacting to Malami’s directive, counsel to the appellant, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), described it as an act of desperation, advising INEC to reject it.

He berated the APC for taking Nigerians for a ride.

“This letter is wrong. It shows that they are desperate. INEC should reject it. They see Nigeria as an APC entity. They don’t believe that Nigeria is not for APC alone but to all Nigerians. It is a wrong request that should be ignored,” he said

Excerpted from THISDAY report

Source: News Express

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