Less than one week to the Presidential election, eight governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State, have warned Governor Abdulaziz Yari not to enforce Zamfara State High Court judgement.
Addressing journalists on behalf of the eight APC Zamfara State Governorship aspirants at the Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ) Secretariat in Kaduna, Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa faulted Yari’s appeal on the High Court judgement, seeking National Judicial Council (NJC), intervention.
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 laws.
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, Minister 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.
It would be recalled that nine aspirants had 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, that is 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”, it stated.
The members of the G-8 in a statement said; “It has been rumored that shortly after the adjournment, the 1st to 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”.