The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised to include the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State on the ballot in the February 23rd Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The electoral body announced this in a statement on Friday by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye.
According to News reports that the court of appeal sitting in Abuja has set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which held that the Zamfara state chapter of the APC cannot field candidates for the general election.
Citing its inability to conduct primaries before the stipulated deadline, INEC had barred the ruling party from participating in the election in the north-west state.
On January 25, a federal high court in Abuja held that INEC was right to have delisted names of candidates APC presented for the elections.
The court ruled in favour of the commission, stating that the APC failed to conduct primaries within the required period.
But a 3- man panel of the appellate court held that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to have entertained the suit, that it was an abuse of court process.
The panel says the suit at the federal high court was filed out of time.
Also, it says while the electoral act provided for 14 days to institute a suit after the cause of action had arisen, the suit was filed 15 days after, making the action illegal.
The appellate court ruling comes one week after Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, asked INEC to postpone elections in Zamfara state.
In a letter dated February 13, 2019, Malami said he acted based on a petition from a law firm claiming that recent court judgments have annulled the stand of INEC that the APC did not conduct primaries in the state and can therefore not field candidates.
Furthermore, he said since the courts admitted that primaries were held, INEC should shift the elections to allow APC catch up with other parties in preparing for the polls.
But the commission had disregarded Malami’s letter.
At a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, had insisted that APC in Zamfara would not field candidates.
However, Abdulaziz Yari, governor of the state, had threatened that elections would not hold in Zamfara without APC participating in them.
With the Appeal Court now paving way for the APC to field candidates, the coast is clear
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