Zamfara: 'APC Can Challenge INEC In Court'
The controversy generated by the ban placed on All Progressive Congress in Zamfara by Independent National Electoral Commission has refused to fade away.
More reactions have continued to trail the ban.
The commission had set October 7, 2018 deadline for parties to conclude their primary elections to elect candidates, but divisions within the state chapter of the APC prevented an INEC-supervised election from taking place for the governorship and legislative positions.
Consequently, in a letter signed by INEC’s Acting Secretary, Okechukwu Ndeche, and addressed to APC’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, the commission said the party could no longer conduct any primary elections outside of the originally-stated window and would not be allowed to participate in any election except the Presidential poll next year.
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Reacting to the ban, Lagos based lawyer Olumide Babalola said the APC can challenge INEC's decision in court.
Babalola while speaking to Bounce News, said "There are some court decisions that say INEC does not have the power to ban the party from fielding candidates but there are other court decisions that say INEC has the power to regulate everything that has to do with elections in Nigeria.
"INEC has the right to regulate how elections are conducted and if a party fails to meet the deadline set by the electoral body, it can be penalised accordingly but the electoral act says a party primary can still be conducted 60 days before election, while INEC provision says 120 days before elections.
"So it is a dicey situation but the party can seek redress in court if they are not satisfied with the decision."
Meanwhile, the High Court IV in Gusau, presided over by Justice Mukhtar Yusha’u, Tuesday, granted an interim order restraining all parties involved in Zamfara APC primaries tussle to stay action.
Sani Katu, counsel to the plaintiffs who are card carrying members of the party and some senatorial aspirants in the state, said the order implied that the national headquarters of the APC, INEC, the national vice chairman of the party in the North West and their agents could not take any further action.
Katu said the plaintiffs had also asked the court to direct APC and INEC to recognise the results of the primaries conducted by Zamfara APC from the October 3 to 7, 2018.
“The respondents, by law, have the statutory period within which to file their processes, but before then, the court was moved by a touch of urgency, that is the need to avoid violence and granted the order.
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“So by implication, the position of the court is that all things done from the 3rd to the 7th of October 2018, including the conduct of the primaries and announcement of the election results, are valid and any action taken after October 7, 2018, is a nullity pending the determination of the motion on notice,” he said.
However, counsel to the APC, Barr. PM Lasco, said they were comfortable with the ruling even though they were to file their counter affidavit.
The Zamfara APC was sharply divided between the camp of Governor Abdulaziz Yari and the G8 which included Deputy Governor Ibrahim Wakala, Senator Kabiru Marafa, Defence Minister Mannir Dan-Ali and others, a development that made it impossible to complete protracted primaries for the governorship, state and National Assembly up till the time the dateline expired on 7th Oct.
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