APC Didn’t Conduct Primary Elections in Zamfara, INEC Insists

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INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), wednesday insisted that having reviewed the two court judgments delivered last week by a Federal High Court in Abuja and the State High Court in Gusau, it still maintained that the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not conduct party primaries in the state.

The electoral body made its stand known in a statement issued late night by INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye.

The Commission also said after reviewing various aspects of its preparedness for the forthcoming elections, expressed satisfaction with the overall preparations for the elections

Okoye revealed that a meeting with all the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) would take place next week to further review the state of preparedness of each State.

He stated: “INEC met today, January 30, 2019 and, among other things, approved the final list of candidates for the Governorship, State Assembly and FCT Area Council elections scheduled to hold on March 2, 2019. On the whole, there are 1,066 candidates for the Governorship elections, 14,583 for the State Assembly elections and 806 for the FCT Area Council elections broken down into 105 Chairmanship candidates and 701 Councillorship candidates.

“The Commission reviewed the situation concerning the All Progressives Congress (APC) fielding candidates for the Governorship and State Assembly elections in Zamfara State. Commission noted that there are two court judgments on the matter – one from a State High Court in Gusau and the other from a Federal High Court in Abuja. The former judgment clearly said the APC conducted primaries in Zamfara State, contrary to the position of the Commission. On the other hand, the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that the party did not conduct valid primaries and therefore is ineligible to field candidates for the elections.

“The Commission would like to reaffirm its commitment to obeying all court judgments, even when it disagrees with them. However, these are clearly two contradictory judgments delivered by two courts of coordinate jurisdiction on the same day.

“Consequently, the Commission has decided to maintain its original position that the party in question did not conduct primaries and, therefore, in line with Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), is not eligible to field candidates for the National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections in Zamfara State,” he said.