Says Postponing Zamfara election is APC’s right — not a favour
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Thursday, denied media reports that he wrote the Independent National Electoral Commission to postpone all the forthcoming general elections apart from the presidential poll in Zamfara State.
Malami, through his Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Mr. Salihu Isah, said in his statement that the media reports were false and misleading, as he had only asked the INEC to extend the time within which the All Progressives Congress might field candidates in the forthcoming elections in the state.
The statement read in part, “The attention of the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been drawn to a recent publication by certain social media and conventional news outlets stating that this Office had purportedly requested the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the elections in Zamfara State.
“The Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation wishes to emphatically reiterate that this report is false and misleading.
“In our letter dated February 13, 2019 addressed to the INEC Chairman, the Honourable Attorney of the Federation in reacting to a petition from M.A Mahmud informing this Office of the subsisting Court of Appeal decision in CA/S/22/2019 which effectively upheld the APC primaries in Zamfara state, wrote to INEC informing them of this development and requested the Commission to comply by extending the time within which the political party candidate in the Gubernatorial elections.”
The minister had in his letter dated January 13, 2019 and addressed to the Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, asked the commission to comply with a certain judgment of the Court of Appeal affirming the primaries of the party in the state.
Malami had urged INEC to grant the APC more time to field candidates for the governorship, National Assembly and state House of Assembly elections in the state, adding that section 38 and 39 of the Electoral Act empowered the commission to postpone the election.
The minister, a founding member of the APC, said in the letter that the Court of Appeal’s judgment delivered on Wednesday affirmed an earlier verdict of the Zamfara State High Court which had held that the party conducted valid primaries for the various elective positions in the state.
Malami said granting the concession of postponing the polls in Zamfara State in the light of the Court of Appeal’s judgment, was not a matter of doing APC a favour but a right the party was entitled to.
His letter stated, “In view of the fact, now that the Court of Appeal has upheld the primaries as valid, the APC in Zamfara State will need a little time to catch up with its contemporaries in the election.
“Granting them this concession is not necessarily a favour but a right that inures to all contestants under similar circumstances.
“Consequent on the above, INEC is invited to comply with the judgement of the Court of Appeal by admitting the results of the APC Zamfara State Primaries and to also comply with the provisions of Section38 of the Electoral Act which empowers INEC to postpone the election for the governorship, National Assembly and House of Assembly Elections.”