- Senator Kabiru Marafa has commended INEC for maintaining its earlier position on the rejection of Zamfara APC candidates
- The courts had given conflicting judgments on the APC candidates in Zamfara ahead of the 2019 general elections
- Marafa, a leading APC governorship aspirant, said the commission has done the right thing by maintaining its position on the matter
Chairman of the Senate committee on petroleum (downstream), Senator Kabiru Marafa, has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for maintaining its earlier position on the rejection of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates in Zamfara state.
Two courts had given conflicting judgments on the matter on Friday, January 25.
While 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 the APC in Zamfara state.
Another judgement was delivered by Justice Muhammad Bello Shinkafi of the High Court in Gusau, Zamfara state. where he affirmed that primaries were conducted and requested INEC to accept the candidates produced from the primaries.
However, INEC on Wednesday, January 30, after studying the two judgments, decided to maintain its earlier position on the matter.
Specifically, the commission in a statement by its national commissioner in charge of information and voter education, Barrister Festus Okoye said, “the commission has decided to maintain its original position that the party in question did not conduct primaries, therefore, in line with Section 87 of the Electoral Act of 2010 ( as amended), not eligible to field candidates.”
Reacting to the development, Senator Marafa, a leading APC governorship aspirant, said the commission has done the right thing by maintaining its position on the matter.
His words: “This shows that the commission is not doing the bidding of any of the parties involved in our intra-party squabble. From the beginning, the commission took a weighty but truthful position on the Zamfara APC primaries logjam, despite the fact that our party is the ruling political party.
“The development has shown that the commission will conduct credible, fair and transparent polls. We are urging the commission to always stand by the truth, no matter who is involved.”
Also, Marafa, while commending Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu for her sound judgment, said APC could still field candidates in Zamfara state, if their prayers before the Appeal Court in Sokoto are granted.
He said: “We are very optimistic that a fresh window to conduct primaries opposed by Yari, will by God grace be granted by the Appeal Court.
“You will recall that APC failed to conduct primaries in Zamfara state basically because of its obedience to a subsisting order of an Abuja Federal High Court that barred both Yari and my camps from participating in the APC primaries.
“This was actually why APC couldn't conduct primaries in the state. Since neither the party nor the aspirants were responsible for the failure, we asked the court to direct APC to conduct fresh primaries and order INEC to accept the result. This was the prayers sought before the Zamfara State High Court and now before the Appeal Court for determination.”
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Marafa recently accused Governor Yari of plotting to destabilise the 2019 elections in the state.
In a statement sent to Legit.ng, Senator Marafa specifically said the governor plans to use 8,500 armed youth under guise of civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) to carryout the act.
According to him, frustrated by his inability to force his preferred governorship candidate on the APC, the governor announced the recruitment of 8,500 civilian JTF members, camouflaging to end killings and kidnappings.
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