- INEC has reacted to the nullification of Zamfara APC primaries by Sokoto appeal court
- INEC commissioner, Festus Okoye, said the Supreme Court will determine fate of those elected in the state
- The commission also vowed that it will not issue return certificate to the governor-elect, his deputy and others until Supreme Court rules
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised to obey the Sokoto appeal court ruling on Zamfara election but noted that the Supreme Court will decide fate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) primary held in the state.
The INEC national commissioner, Festus Okoye, on Wednesday, March 27, made this known while reacting to the verdict of the appeal court binding on Zamfara poll, This Day reports.
Legit.ng recalls that against the previous ruling by Zamfara high court, the appeal court nullified the primary election conducted by APC faction loyal to Governor Abdulaziz Yari, which produced all candidates elected under the party during general election.
Consequently, INEC, upholding the Monday, March 25 appeal court ruling, refused to issue certificate of return to the governor, deputy governor and state House of Assembly members-elect on the platform of the APC in the state.
However, while defending its position, the commission, through Okoye, said it would wait for the final judgement of the Supreme Court, adding that it does not have power to choose candidates.
Okoye said: “INEC will not speculate on a matter before the Supreme Court. The commission will rather wait and enforce the orders and judgments of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the final court in Nigeria and policy court.
“Academically and constitutionally speaking, the Supreme Court may order the swearing in of the candidates of the parties that came second in the election and regard the votes scored by APC as wasted votes.
“The Supreme Court may also order that only the candidates that meet the constitutional requirement of having scored majority of lawful votes and the necessary spread should be sworn in. The Supreme Court may also affirm the judgment of the lower court.
“The court may also insist that the matter in question is no longer a pre-election matter but a matter subject to election petitions tribunal. There are so many variables and dynamics and it is prudent and rational to wait for the court to decide.
“The commission is not infallible. The commission’s decisions and opinions are subject to the interpretative jurisdiction of the court. And the commission has no choice but to abide with the said decisions.”
Okoye further disclosed that Adamawa supplementary election will hold, arguing that it would be unfair to use the gross malpractice that marred Kano rerun measure the commission's success.
He said: “It is selective amnesia to use the Kano supplementary elections as the only yard stick for measuring the success of the supplementary elections. We conducted supplementary elections in Benue State. We conducted in Sokoto state, Plateau and Bauchi states.
“The commission should be commended for its expeditious resolution of the electoral challenge in Bauchi State and for conducting good election in other states. We will continue to work assiduously to deliver good elections.”
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Independent National Electoral Commission had released schedule of activities for the resumption of election in River state.
The electoral body had suspended electoral processes in the state on March 10 following reported violence.
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