Eight APC Governorship Apirants Fault Yari’s Appeal On High Court judgement, Seek NJC Intervention

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File photo: Senator Marafa (middle) speaking at NUJ Kaduna on Sunday February 10, 2019. On his right is the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Ibrahim Wakala.

*insist no APC primaries in Zamfara

By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Eight governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara state, have faulted the move by the State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari to enforce the judgement of a state High Court on Zamfara APC candidates tussle.
Led by Senator Kabiru Maraca at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kaduna State Council Secretariat, the aspirants under the umbrella of G-8 said, a novice application filed last friday by governor Yari, seeking the interim enforcement of the judgement of a Zamfara State High Court on the tussle, was strange to the law.
To this effect, the aspirants including Senator Kabir Garba Marafa, the Zamfara state deputy governor, Malam Ibrahim Wakala, former governor of the state, Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi,Minster of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, Rep Aminu Sani Jaji, Engineer Abu Magaji, Dauda Lawal and Mohammed Sagir Hamidu, called for the urgent intervention of the National Judicial Council (NJC) on the matter.
Recall that nine aspirants have purchased the APC governoship forms for the 2019 general elections. Eight out of the aspirants had formed the G-8 , following the crisis that trailed the APC’s primaries in the state.
A Court of Appeal sitting in Sokoto had adjourned the appeal on APC candidates tussle to 19th February, 2019 for hearing and abridged the time for the parties to file briefs.
Two judgements were delivered on Friday, 25th January on the matter. A Federal High Court presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu held that INEC acted within its powers by refusing to accept list of candidates from a faction of APC in Zamfara State.
The second judgement was delivered by Justice Muhammad Bello Shinkafi of the High Court in Gusau, Zamfara State. Shinkafi affirmed that primaries were conducted and requested INEC to accept the candidates produced from the primaries. After studying the two judgments,  INEC decided to maintain its earlier position on the matter.
Arising from the Zamfara State High Court mentioned earlier, two sets of defendants in the case before the Zamfara State High Court i.e Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa and Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji separately filed Notices of Appeal against the Judgment of Zamfara State High Court.
 The records of appeal in the appeal by Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji was transmitted to the Court of Appeal Sokoto Division on 7th February, 2019 between 4 – 5pm. It was gathered that immediately the record was transmitted by the appellant in the appeal, text messages were sent by the Court of Appeal registry to all counsel in the appeal to come to Court on Friday, 8th February, 2019.
While at the court on 8th February, 2019, the Appellant’s counsel sought to know why counsel were invited to come to court since records where only transmitted a day before. Counsel were informed that it was a pre-election matter which must be disposed of expeditiously since elections are around the corner. The counsel for the appellant informed the court that there was no urgency in the matter as the judgement appealed against did not exclude anybody from participating in the election.
The members of the G-8 in a statement said;  “It has been rumored that shortly after the adjournment the 1st – 38th Respondents in this appeal (Governor Yari’s camp) have filed a novice application on Friday 8th February, 2019 late in the night around after 9pm and parties were served on Saturday, 9th February, 2019 and were asked to come to court on Monday 11th February, 2019 for hearing of the application.
“This motion before the Court of Appeal is said to be seeking the interim enforcement of the judgment of Zamfara State High Court. What is most baffling with the application is that no lawyer has ever seen a Court of Appeal enforcing the judgment of any court below it.
“It remains to be seen what course justice will take in the matter especially in view of the decision reached by the Supreme Court on Friday 8th February 2019 affirming that INEC was right to take a position not to allow APC field any candidates for violation of the conduct of party primaries in the State.”
It would be recalled that the fallout of the botched APC primary elections in Zamfara State in October, 2018 saw Governor Abdulaziz Yari’s camp filing two similar suits, one at the State High Court Gusau and the other at the Federal High Court Gusau Division. The suit at the Federal High Court was later withdrawn and struck out. The one at the State High Court proceeded to hearing and judgement eventually given stamping the Zamfara state APC chapter conducted primaries.
The case at the Zamfara State High Court III, Gusau has the suit No. ZMG/G/52/18 with Sanusi Liman Dan Alhaji & 37 Ors V All Progressives Party (APC) & 144 Ors. as the named parties. (Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa and his camp were the 4th- 144th Defendants, while Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji was the 145th Defendant).
The plaintiffs’ claims amongst others were for the court to declare as lawful the primaries conducted by the State chapter of the APC and to mandate APC National and INEC to recognize and accept the list of the successful candidates from the said State chapter primaries.
That All Progressives Party (APC) {National} on its part had also filed a case at the Federal High Court in Abuja in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1279/2018; All Progressive Congress V. Independent National Electoral Commission & 5 Ors) challenging the decision of INEC refusing to accept a list of “consensus” candidates the party presented for Zamfara State. The APC claimed in the suit to have conducted primaries by consensus on 7th October, 2018 at City Kings Hotel, Gusau, Zamfara State and prayed the court to declare null and void the act of INEC in refusing to accept the Party’s lists of candidates for Zamfara state.Governor Yari’s camp joined this suit as the 2nd-6th Defendants.
As God will have it, judgments in both cases were delivered on the same date- 25th January, 2018. The judge in the suit No. ZMG/G/52/18 Sanusi Liman Dan Alhaji & 37 Ors V All Progressives Party (APC) & 144 Ors in delivering the judgement only restated the case of the parties and the arguments of counsel and concluded as follows:
“Now on the strength of the evidence adduced by the plaintiffs, the evidence elicited from both the DW1 and 2 during cross-examination as well as the documentary evidence tendered and admitted in evidence.
I am satisfied that the plaintiffs proved their case against the defendants. Consequently, therefore the issue for determination formulated is hereby answered in the affirmative and all the reliefs claimed by the plaintiffs are hereby granted.”
On the other hand, the Federal High Court, Abuja, coram: I. I. Ojukwu, J in dismissing the plaintiffs (APC) suit against INEC held as follows:
“It is evident from a dispassionate perusal of facts contained in the affidavit of the parties, documents exhibited, submissions of learned senior counsel, oral and documentary, and the law, that at the close of the nominations for the 2019 general election, in accordance with INEC time-table as in exhibit INEC 1, the plaintiff has no candidates for the election, having failed to conduct primaries according to the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the plaintiff. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) duly informed the plaintiff in exhibit APC6, a letter dated 9th day of October 2018 of this fact.
This court is of the humbly but firmed opinion that the decision of INEC is not ultra vires its powers. This court will not encourage illegality on the principle of ex turpi causa non oritur action. The decision of INEC is in tandem with the law and will help instill discipline, obedience to due process among the political parties and their handlers in order to drive our democracy from nascent and fledging to palpable potency. ”
The Independent National Electoral Commission which had earlier held the opinion that APC did not hold any primaries in Zamfara State was faced with 2 conflicting decisions by courts of coordinates jurisdiction. It however, decided in its own wisdom to follow the one that is in tandem with its earlier position.
The statement was signed by Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa CON,  HE. Malam Ibrahim Wakala, Zamfara State Deputy Governor, HE. Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi
General (rtd) Mansur Dan-Ali,  Minister of Defence, Rep Aminu Sani Jaji, Engineer Abu Magaji, Alhaji Dauda Lawal and Alhaji Mohammed Sagir Hamidu.

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