Zamfara election: Supreme Court adjourns APC’s application till March 2 

The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, fixed March 2, 2020 to commence hearing in the motion filed by the Abdul’aziz Yari led faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State for a review of the apex court’s judgement delivered on May 24, 2019 voiding the participation of candidates of the APC in the last governorship election in the state.

When the matter came up yesterday for hearing, the five-member panel of justices of the apex court presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad said the court cannot proceed to hearing of the application because the 141 to 178respondents have not been served with hearing notice of the matter.

Counsel to the APC, Robert Clarke (SAN) then asked for a short adjournment to enable service of hearing notice of court processes on all the respondents, a request the court granted and adjourned till March 2, 2020.

A five-man panel of Justices of the apex court, led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, had on August 22, 2019, unanimously struck out the APC’sapplication for the review of its judgment in the Zamfara governorship
matter, on the ground, that it was incompetent as the complete judgments of the apex court comprising all the judgments of the five members of the panel being contested by the party were not attached to the application, but it was refiled in November 2019 by the party.

Justice Rhodes-Vivour further held that the consequential orders made in the judgment of the court were part and parcel of the pre-election matter and it was an abuse asking the apex court to review its judgment or orders.

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“We don’t seat on appeal over our own decision. We have no jurisdiction over this matter,’’ he said. Robert Clarke, the counsel to the appellant, had said that the purpose of the appeal was for the apex court to take a second look at its
decision and the consequential order and contended that the orders were made out of the jurisdiction and had denied his client fair hearing.

The apex court had in May last year nullified the elections of all the candidates of the APC in Zamfara in the 2019 general elections on the ground that the party did not conduct valid primary elections in the build-up to the general elections.

The five-member panel of the court held that “a party that has no valid candidates cannot be said to have emerged winner of the general elections. The runner-ups are expected to be declared winners by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’’.

Before the general elections, INEC said it would not allow the APC field candidates in Zamfara because the party did not hold primaries within the stipulated time.

The controversy among leaders of the party in the state led to the inability to hold the primaries within the stipulated time.

Two different courts, in Zamfara and Abuja later gave conflicting decisions on the position of INEC.

A High Court sitting in Gusau, Zamfara State, ruled that the APC actually conducted primaries in the state and should be allowed to present candidates for the elections while a Federal High Court ruled otherwise.

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, on February 21 set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, for “lack of jurisdiction” on the part of the lower court.

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