17 May 2019

Nigeria: Zamfara Governorship - Supreme Court to Decide APC's Fate May 24

The Supreme Court on Thursday fixed May 24 to deliver judgment in the appeals over the disqualification of candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Zamfara State.

A five-member panel led by the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed, fixed the date after listening to the arguments from counsel in the matter.

Mr Mohammed announced the date following passionate appeals that the court considers the judgment before May 29, so as not to create constitutional crisis in the state.

The Governor Abdulazeez Yari faction of the APC , which emerged after the October 8, 2018, primary of the party had approached the apex court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto division.

The appeal was filed by the Kabiru Marafa faction of the party challenging the outcome of the primary.

During the court session on Thursday, the counsel representing the appellant, Lateef Fagbemi, pleaded with the court to allow the appeal and restore the judgment of the Zamfara High Court which allowed APC to field candidates in the 2019 general election.

Mr Fagbemi said the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, should be set aside on the grounds that the said judgement was a miscarriage of justice.

Responding, the counsel representing Mr Marafa and other respondents, Mike Ozekhome, urged the court to dismiss the appeal.

Mr Ozekhome further urged the court to affirm the appeal court judgment which held that the APC in the state did not conduct primaries that can qualify it to nominate candidates for the last general election.

Adopting Mr Ozekhome's position, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through its counsel, Tanimu Inuwa, told the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.

Mr Tanimu while arguing said that the Court of Appeal in Sokoto was right in stopping APC from fielding candidates for the 2019 general election in the state.

This, he said, was because the party failed to conduct any primary election known to law.

He, therefore, urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal.

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