By Anthony Ogbonna
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has finally included the candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Zamfara on the ballot.
In a statement on Friday by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, INEC said the party’s candidates can now participate in tomorrow’s general election.
Recall that both the Federal High Court, Abuja and the Zamfara State High Court had issued conflicting orders relating to the participation of the Zamfara state APC in the election.
While the Abuja high court had barred APC in the state from fielding candidates, the Zamfara state High Court ruled that the party should field candidates.
But INEC, in the statement, said it relisted the APC on the ballot following the judgement of the court of appeal which set aside the ruling of the Abuja High court.
It said, “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has consistently maintained that it will always obey court judgments and orders,” Okoye said in a statement.
“In the case of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State, the Federal High Court, Abuja and the Zamfara State High Court issued conflicting orders relating to the participation of the APC in the two strands of elections scheduled for 23rd February and 9th March 2019.
“While the former ruled that the APC, having failed to conduct party primaries cannot field candidates in the said election, the latter decided that it can field candidates having conducted valid party primaries.
“However, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division on 21st February 2019 set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja for ‘lack or want of jurisdiction on the part of the lower court.’ This in effect means that the Zamfara State High Court’s decision that the APC can field candidates for the National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections is the only valid and subsisting order.
“Consequently, the Commission has today, in compliance with the said order, restored the APC to the ballot in the National Assembly, Governorship and State House of Assembly elections scheduled for 23rd February and 9th March 2019.”