The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again maintained its stand that the All Progressive Congress (APC), Zamfara is not eligible to filed candidates in forthcoming general elections.
The decision was reached after reviewing the two conflicting judgement on the issue. In the last one week, there have been two different court pronouncements on Zamfara, while a High Court Zamfara favored the inclusion of the party, an Abuja High Court ruled in the favour of the commission omitting the party from the contest.
INEC had excluded the party due to its failure to conduct its primaries within the time lag.
The commission finally rolled out names of all the candidates to participate in the general elections excluding candidates from Zamfara APC.
In a statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye stated that after considering both rulings, INEC has decided to maintain its earlier position that the party is not eligible to filed candidates for the 2019 polls.
He supported this position with section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
The statement reads: “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met today, 30 th January 2019 and, among other things, approved the final list of candidates for the Governorship, State Assembly and FCT Area Council elections scheduled to hold on 2nd March 2019. On the whole, there are 1,066 candidates for the Governorship elections, 14,583 for the State Assembly elections and 806 for the FCT Area Council elections broken down into 105 Chairmanship candidates and 701 Councillorship candidates.
“The Commission reviewed the situation concerning the All Progressives Congress (APC) fielding candidates for the Governorship and State Assembly elections in Zamfara State.
Commission noted that there are two court judgements on the matter – one from a State High Court in Gusau and the other from a Federal High Court in Abuja. The former judgement 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 judgements, even when it disagrees with them. However, these are clearly two contradictory judgements delivered by two courts of coordinate jurisdiction on the same day.
“Consequently, 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 2010 (as amended), is not eligible to field candidates for the National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections in Zamfara State.
“Commission also reviewed various aspects of its preparedness for the 2019 general elections and expressed satisfaction with the overall preparations for the elections.
A meeting with all the Resident Electoral Commissioners will take place next week to further review the state of preparedness of each