Supreme Court to hear APC’s application over Zamfara governorship election March 2

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A five-member panel of the Supreme Court lead by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, has fixed March 2nd for hearing the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s application, seeking it to review its judgement which nullified the victory of the candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC) at the 2019 general elections held in Zamfara State.

The court discovered that the 141st to the 178th respondents in the matter were not represented in court and were not served with the hearing notice.

A senior lawyer, Tanimu Inuwa, announced appearance for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The fresh application before the apex court was brought by a faction of the APC led by a former governor of the state, Abdulaziz Yari.

According to the applicant’s lawyer, Robert Clarke, his clients are challenging the judgement of the apex court on the grounds of its consequential orders that gave victory to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s candidates in the state.

Clarke said those orders rendered the entire judgement a nullity.

The applicants argued that the reliefs the apex court granted in favour of the PDP and its candidates were alien to issues that aggrieved APC members in the state brought before it for determination.

In Yari’s application marked SC/377/19, he argued “That the Consequential Orders made by this Honourable Court in five appeals has made non-parties to the Appeal to unjustifiably benefit from the outcome of the Appeal contrary to age-long decided authorities by this same court. Hence, asking this non-parties to reap from where they never sowed.

Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad
Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad

“That the teeming electorates in Zamfara State have been unfairly and unjustifiably denied or deprived of their natural or ordinary outcome of the votes cast by them.”

However, the Kabiru Marafa-led faction’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, told the apex court that he filed a preliminary objection to challenge the competence of Mr Yari’s application.

The Supreme Court had, on May 24, ruled that the APC did not conduct valid primaries in the build-up to the 2019 general elections in Zamfara.

The Supreme Court validated the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, which ruled that no valid primaries were conducted by the APC in Zamfara State.

The court in a unanimous judgement by a five-member panel decided that a party that had no valid candidate cannot be said to have emerged winner of the recently conducted general elections.

In an appeal brought by the APC, the apex court ruled against the appellant and ordered a fine of N10 million against the APC.

“Candidate other than the first appellant with the highest votes stands elected. A cost of N10 million is awarded against the appellant,” the court ruled.

It then declared the first runners-up in the 2019 general elections in the state as the winners of all the offices earlier declared to have been won by the APC and its candidates.

Dissatisfied with the apex court judgement, APC, through Mr Clarke, filed an application on June 17, 2019, asking the apex court to “review, amend, correct and/or set aside the consequential orders” contained in the May 24, 2019 judgment of the apex court.

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