Zamfara Guber Polls: Court Orders Shinkafi to Serve Petition on APC, Idris by Substituted Service

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By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Zamfara State, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi, on Thursday, got permission of the Zamfara State Governorship and House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal to serve his petition against the outcome of the March 9 governorship election on the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate Mukhta Idris through substituted means.

Specifically, the tribunal ordered that the petitioners served the petition on the respondents by pasting all the processes on the wall of the APC National Headquarters in Abuja.

The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Binta Amina, gave the order at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal which was relocated to Abuja due to the insecurity in Zamfara State.

The counsel to Shinkafi and APGA Ifeanyi Mbaeri had in his motion ex-parte asked the tribunal for an order of substituted service on APC and its candidate Idris by delivering the petition and all processes on any adult staff at the APC National Secretariat at Plot 40 Blantyre Street Wuse 2 or by pasting the petition and all other processes at the entrance gate or any other conspicuous place at the APC National Secretariat, Plot 40, Blantyre Street, Wuse 2 Abuja.

In the petition, Shinkafi specifically asked the tribunal to nullify the governorship election conducted in the state on March 9 and order for a fresh election without the participation of the APC and its candidate Idris.

The petition filed on March 29, stated that by virtue of Section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of governor of a state if inter alia: he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party to contest the said election.

Shinkafi further averred that “pursuant to section 87(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, a political party seeking to sponsor or nominate candidates for elections under this section shall hold primaries for aspirants to all elective positions. In other words, by the combined provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Electoral Act 2010 as amended, sponsorship of candidates for elective positions is only through the holding of primaries”.

Citing Section 140(2) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, Shinkafi stated that: “Where an election tribunal or court nullifies an election on the ground that the person who obtained the highest votes at the election was not qualified to contest the election or marred by substantial irregularities or noncompliance with the provisions of this act, the election tribunal or court shall not declare the person with the second highest number of votes or any other person as elected, but shall order a fresh election.”

He contended that Idris cited in the suit as the first respondent was as at the time of the Zamfara State governorship elections not qualified to contest the election on the grounds that he was not a sponsored candidate of a political party and was therefore not qualified for election to the office of the governor of a state.

Shinkafi and APGA are therefore asking the tribunal for a declaration that the first respondent at the time the Zamfara State governorship election was conducted by INEC on March 9, 2019, Idris was not qualified to contest the said election having not been sponsored by the APC as stipulated in Section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

They are also asking for an order setting aside the purported return of the first and second respondents as winners of Zamfara State governorship election held on March 9, 2019, and an order directing INEC to conduct fresh governorship election in Zamfara State within 90 days without the participation of the first and second respondents, the APC having failed to sponsor a governorship candidate within the time stipulated by law.