Just a day to the National Assembly elections, the Governor Abdulaziz Yari led faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure candidates of the party take part in the poll.
Asides the National Assembly election, the group is also insisting that its candidates must be allowed to also participate in the governorship and state House of Assembly elections which comes up later on March 2.
One of the group’s counsel, Christian Kelechi, stated this in an interview with reporters in Abuja on Friday, arguing there was a valid court order that directed INEC to include names of APC candidates in the list of those contesting the elections.
“To the best of our knowledge as counsel involved in the matter, we know there is a valid and subsisting judgement of the Zamfara State High Court wherein the court agreed with the plaintiffs that APC duly conducted its primary election in the state.
“That primary election produced the party’s candidates for the governorship, National Assembly and state House of Assembly elections coming up on February 16 and March 2. That is our position,” he said.
A Zamfara State high court and a Federal High Court had given conflicting judgments on the matter ruling against and for INEC position that the state’s APC failed to hold primaries, and so not qualified to field candidates from the state in any election.
But Kelechi said there was no truth in the claim that there are two conflicting judgments from the state high court and a Federal High Court in Abuja on the matter.
He explained that after the judgment of the state high court, some defendants filed an appeal which they later withdrew.
He said, “What the withdrawal means in the eye of the law is that there is no appeal, so the court verdict is valid and subsisting.
“INEC, as a responsible government institution, should allow that list.”
On the letter from Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, asking INEC to consider including candidates of APC to participate in the elections, Kelechi said there was nothing wrong in the letter to INEC.
According to him, it was the legal team that felt the time was too short for the party to participate in the election as directed by the court, hence the decision to communicate with the AGF, being the country’s chief law officer, in order for him to advise INEC.
“There is nothing wrong in AGF writing INEC, asking the commission to comply with a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction.
“INEC is bound as a responsible government institution to comply with the court judgement. There is nothing wrong in that,” he said.