APC Zamfara Primaries Nullified By Court, Ozekhome, SAN Insists, Says Press Release By State Govt On Election Should Be Ignored

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Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome

The Counsel to Senator Kabiru Marafa and 141 others in the suit concerning the flawed primaries conducted by APC ZAMFARA, Chief Mike A.A. OZEKHOME, SAN, has said that the press statement authored by the Zamfara State Government House, Gusau, regarding the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, delivered on Monday, 25th March, 2019 should be ignored.

In a reply made available to the TNL, the learned silk argued that the statement that the judgement has nothing to do with the election is false, adding that the interpretation given by the Government on the judgement is not correct, and does not represent the true position of the decision itself.

Below reads this press statement 

Our attention has been drawn to a press release authored by the Zamfara State Government House, Gusau, regarding the clear judgment of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, delivered on Monday, 25th March, 2019. In the said press release, the state government stated that the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, which unanimously set aside the decision of the Zamfara State High Court, has nothing to do with the elections held in that state on 7th October, 2018.

Curiously and falsely, the said Press Release went ahead to ascribe its own reasons and interpretation of the said judgment of the Court of Appeal, terming that as “examination of proofs of Evidence” (whatever that means).

Flowing from the aforesaid faulty and ridiculous reasoning and interpretation, the press release erroneously concluded that the judgment of the Court of Appeal “has nothing to do with our elections. It even went further to state that “the court has not in any way tempered with our elections”.

The entire import of the above Zamfara State government press release did not only stand logic on its head, but it amounts to a strange and baseless attempt by the Zamfara State Government to sit as an appellate court over a valid and subsisting judgment of the Appeal Court.

The unfortunate thing however, is that the process of an appeal by government press release is unknown to our Laws. It is indeed an anathema to say the least; and should therefore be completely ignored.

FOR THE RECORDS, THE FACTS

The above Appeal was heard on Thursday, 21st March, 2019, before the Court of Appeal Sokoto (coram, Justice Tom Yakubu, JCA (Presiding), Justice Tijani Abdullahi, JCA and Justice Jamilu Tukur, JCA). Judgement was reserved to 25th March, 2019.

In a unanimous judgement delivered on Monday, 25th March, 2019, the court of Appeal allowed the Appeal and set aside in its entirety, the judgement of the Zamfara State High Court, delivered on the 25th day of January, 2019,by SHINKAFI J in SUIT NO. ZMS/GS/52/2018.

THE DECISION OF THE HIGH COURT OF ZAMFARA STATE

By the decision of the High Court of Zamfara State delivered on 25th January, 2019, all the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs (1st -38th Respondents in the appeal) were granted on the ground that they had proved their case against the defendants (Appellants).

In other words, the decision of the High Court of Zamfara State had recognized and validated the list that emerged from the flawed primary elections purportedly held on the 7th of October, 2018, as the authentic and recognised list of candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State, for the Governorship, National and state House of Assembly in Zamfara State, for the 2019 general elections.  It was based on this judgement (now upturned by the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, on the 25thMarch, 2019), that INEC had allowed the Respondents (Governor Yari group) to contest various positions on the 9th March, 2019.

THE JUDGEMENT OF THE COURT OF APPEAL, SOKOTO

By the unanimous judgement of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto, delivered on the 25thMarch, 2019, allowing the appeal, the judgement of the State High Court which had recognized and validated (the APC purported primaries for the Governorship and Assembly elections was set aside and quashed in its entirety in very clear and lucid terms. A Certified true copy of the enrolled order of the judgement is herewith attached for your perusal and immediate action.

The legal import of the said judgement is that the so called primaries allegedly held by the Zamfara State chapter of the APC, rather than the National body of the APC, as a legal entity, and on which all the candidates hinged their candidacy has now been effectively and totally nullified.

CONSEQUENTLY, it goes without saying and indeed follows as the night follows the day, that everything that was founded on the said flawed APC primaries was null, void and of no effect whatsoever. This is because the very pillar on which it rested has now legally collapsed by the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division.

The foregoing is in accord with law and simple logic as it is naturally impossible to place something on nothing and expect it to stand; it must collapse like a pack of cards.

To situate the aforesaid development in its true legal perspective, it follows that all the candidates of the APC who purportedly participated in the National and State Assembly elections held on 9th March, 2019, were never candidates in the eye of the law. Their purported elections are therefore null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

YOUR INTERVENTION

We beseech INEC most earnestly to note therefore that there is absolutely no legal basis for any of the APC candidates that allegedly emerged “victorious” from the said sham elections to be issued with any Certificate of Return.

INEC’s intervention is consequently needed to ensure that the Commission does not run foul of the law and the extant judgment of the Court of Appeal, by illegally issuing certificates of return to the Zamfara APC members who purportedly emerged from the now flawed and cancelled primaries.

Chief Mike A. A. Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb, Ph.D, LL.D

Counsel to Senator Kabiru Marafa and 141 others

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