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NEWS FLASH: Zamfara Election: Supreme court voids votes for APC

The Supreme Court has voided all votes cast for the All Progressives Congress in the 2019 elections in Zamfara state.

The five-member panel of justices, in a unanimous judgment on Friday, held that the party in the state failed to conduct primaries in accordance with the party rules.

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In the lead judgment by Justice Paul Adamu Galinji, the apex court held that all votes cast for the APC as “wasted votes” and declared that all political parties with the second highest votes in the elections and the required spread, are elected to the various elections.

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The Supreme Court has fixed May 24 for judgment in the appeals over the disqualification of candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State.

A five-member panel of justices presided by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad fixed the date after listening to the arguments of counsels in the matter.

The Governor Abdulazeez Yari faction of the APC, which emerged after the October 3, 2018 primary of the party had in the appeal by their lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), asked the apex court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Sokoto in an appeal by the Kabir Marafa faction of the party challenging the outcome of the primary.

All the candidates fielded by the Yari faction of the party for the governorship, national and state House of Assembly elections had won.

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Also, the APC national headquarters filed an appeal through its counsel, Damian Dodo (SAN) asking the apex court to quash the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Sokoto and recognize that of the High Court over the candidates of the party in Zamfara State. But counsel to the Marafa-faction, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) urged the apex court to strike out the appeal by the Yari faction for being unmeritorious and incompetent as they were seeking reliefs from the Court of Appeal and not the Supreme Court.

Ozekhome also asked the apex court not only to strike out the APC appeal for being incompetent, but to award substantial costs. Ozekhome also withdrew a cross appeal by Sanusi Liman-Dan Alhaji against Senator Marafa even as the panel dismissed Volume 9 of his reply brief to the APC appeals after it was deemed not to have proof of payment fees.

Yari’s faction and APC had filed the appeals after a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal in Sokoto dismissed the judgment of the Zamfara State High Court, which recognized the October 3, 2018 primary, for failing to properly evaluate the evidence that the primary  was in line with INEC’s guidelines and party constitution. The appellate court’s decision affected all candidates of the APC in the elective positions of the 2019 general elections.

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