The Oasis Reporters
May 24, 2019
The Supreme Court has wrestled the political leadership of the insurgency wrecked Zamfara State from the All Progressives Congress, APC ruling party of President Muhammadu Buhari and given it like a piece of cake, to the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
May 29, 2019 is handover ceremony day, but rather than Mukhtar Idris, the APC candidate stepping in to be sworn in as governor, the opposition political party candidate would be the man of the occasion.
That is the decision of the country’s apex judicial authority, the Supreme Court after hearing two election appeals seeking to ascertain authentic candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), candidates in Zamfara in the last general elections.
In an in-house squabble, the APC and Malam Sanusi Dan-Alhaji had instituted the case on the primary election conducted by the party for the nomination of candidates to participate in the last general election.
Chief Mike Ozekhome,SAN, Counsel for Sen. Kabiru Marafa and 142, all of the APC urged the appellate court to affirm the judgment of the Appeal Court which said that the APC did not validly field any candidate as their primary election was not conducted according to laid down rules.
Ozekhome submitted that the judgment was a copious description of how the APC in Zamfara failed to conduct primary election in accordance with the Electoral Act, party guideline and the 1999 Constitution.
He said the process failed both legal and integrity tests, adding that the exercise was not conducted to produce candidates for the last general election as his clients were fenced out.
Mr Tanimu Inuwa, SAN, Counsel for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) aligned himself with the argument canvassed by Ozekhome.
He further explained that the electoral body did not supervise any primary election conducted by the party as mandated by law.
Inuwa argued that the Court of Appeal in Sokoto was right to have stopped the APC from fielding candidates in the 2019 general election in Zamfara.
Inuwa therefore, urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.
Despite the loss, Zamfara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress will part with a cost of 10 Million naIra awarded against it by a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court, led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad.
The panel in a unanimous judgment ruled that the APC, did not have any valid candidate in all the elections that held in Zamfara State, adding that the Sokoto Division of the Court of Appeal was right when it held that the APC did not field any eligible candidate in the 2019 general election in the State.
In its lead verdict that was prepared and delivered by Justice Paul Galinje, the appeal lodged by the ruling APC party
to challenge the appellate court’s judgement was set aside.
“I find that the lower court was right in holding that there were no primary elections in Zamfara State. “The appeal had no merit and it should be dismissed. It is accordingly dismissed.
“The party that has no candidate cannot be declared winner of the election. Therefore, all votes that are credited to such party is deemed as wasted vote.
“Candidates of parties with highest number of valid votes cast with the required spread stands elected in Zamfara”, the Supreme Court held.
Therefore all candidates of the APC that won elections in Zamfara State, including its governor-elect, Alhaji Mukhtar Idris, have been sacked. PDP candidate, , Alhaji Bello Matawalle becomes governor-elect.
But how prepared or willing is the beneficiary of the ruling and was not a party to the dispute, the PDP, willing and ready to govern the poorest state in the country with the most depressing statistical indices in poverty, education, industry and security?
Can the PDP make the difference or gave them a genuine change like Peter Obi gave to Anambra State, moving a rundown state economy with educational and security problems to the top, or will the government lapse into the blame game trademark that the APC deployed in running down the PDP as an excuse for lack of initiative in governance?
That remains to be seen, as from May 29, 2019.