Appeal court clears APC Zamfara

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has set aside a judgment of the Federal High Court, barring the All Progressives Congress from fielding candidates for the general elections in Zamfara State.

The Federal High Court’s judgment had followed the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to bar the APC in the state from fielding candidates.

In the judgment delivered on January 25, 2019, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, had held that INEC was right to have delisted names of candidates APC presented for the elections.

According to Ojukwu, the APC had failed to conduct a valid primary within the period scheduled by the electoral body.

But a 3-man panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Abdul Aboki, held that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to have entertained the suit and that it is an abuse of court process.

Justice Aboki stressed that the suit at the Federal High Court was filed out of time.

According to him, the Electoral Act provides 14 days to institute a suit after the cause of action had arisen, but in this case, the suit was filed 15 days after.

He, therefore, rendered the action incompetent.

The judgment of the Appeal Court comes just hours after the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, again stressed that the APC in both Zamfara and Rivers States will not field candidates in the forthcoming general elections.

“The position of the Commission remains the position we announced before now, that the parties in question by court order and/by our understanding of the interpretation of the judgments of two courts of co-ordinate jurisdictions delivered same day in the case of Zamfara cannot field candidates in the 2019 general elections for the National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections,” Mr Mahmood said.

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