BREAKING NEWS

BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – The Supreme Court has nullified All Progressives Congress (APC)’s participation in 2019 elections, declaring that the governing party did not conduct valid primaries to nominate eligible candidates for the 2019 general elections.

In its ruling dismissing the appeal filed by the Zamfara State chapter of the APC, the apex court ordered that the Party with the second highest votes cast at the 2019 polls should be issued Certificate of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Apex court heard two election appeals seeking to ascertain authentic candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), candidates in the North West State in the last 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 last general elections.

While adopting his address, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), counsel for Dan-Alhaji, prayed the apex court to restore the February 13, 2019 judgment of the Zamfara High Court which allowed APC to field candidates for the polls.

Fagbemi said the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, ruling that disqualified APC from nominating candidates for the election on the grounds that the governing party did not conduct lawful primaries should be set aside.

Arguing that the lower court erred in law, Fagbemi said the decision was a miscarriage of justice, adding that the APC had shown proof it conducted a free and fair primary to elect the candidates that participated in the governorship election, the National Assembly and the House of Assembly elections respectively.

However, in his counter argument, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), representing Senator Kabiru Marafa and 142 other APC members, urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal and affirm the judgment of the Appeal Court.

The Apex court heard two election appeals seeking to ascertain authentic candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), candidates in the North West State in the last 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 last general elections.

While adopting his address, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), counsel for Dan-Alhaji, prayed the apex court to restore the February 13, 2019 judgment of the Zamfara High Court which allowed APC to field candidates for the polls.

Fagbemi said the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, ruling that disqualified APC from nominating candidates for the election on the grounds that the governing party did not conduct lawful primaries should be set aside.

Arguing that the lower court erred in law, Fagbemi said the decision was a miscarriage of justice, adding that the APC had shown proof it conducted a free and fair primary to elect the candidates that participated in the governorship election, the National Assembly and the House of Assembly elections respectively.

However, in his counter argument, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), representing Senator Kabiru Marafa and 142 other APC members, urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal and affirm the judgment of the Appeal Court.

According to Ozekhome, the judgment 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.

Equally, Counsel for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Tanimu Inuwa (SAN), aligned himself with the position canvassed by Ozekhome.

Inuwa, who urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit, said the electoral umpire did not supervise any so-called primaries conducted by APC as required by the electoral Act.

He said the Court of Appeal in Sokoto was right to have stopped the APC from fielding candidates in the 2019 general election in Zamfara State.

cording to Ozekhome, the judgment 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.

Equally, Counsel for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Tanimu Inuwa (SAN), aligned himself with the position canvassed by Ozekhome.

Inuwa, who urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit, said the electoral umpire did not supervise any so-called primaries conducted by APC as required by the electoral Act.

He said the Court of Appeal in Sokoto was right to have stopped the APC from fielding candidates in the 2019 general election in Zamfara State. – With agency reports

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