* declares parties with second highest votes as winners

The Supreme Court on Friday nullified the elections of all the candidates of the All Progressives Congress in Zamfara State in the 2019 general elections.

Delivering a unanimous judgment of the five-man panel led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, the apex court declared the first runners-up in the 2019 general elections in the state as the winners of all the posts earlier declared to have been won by the APC and its candidates.

Justice Paul Galinje, who read the lead judgment upheld the decision of the Sokoto Division of the Court of Appeal to the effect that the APC did not conduct any valid primary election and as such had no candidate for any of the elections in the state.

The panel also awarded cost of N10m against APC in favour of the Kabiru Marafa faction of the APC and other respondents in the appeal.

The justices sounded a note of warning to politicians against destroying the country’s democracy.

He described the votes polled by the APC candidates in the elections as wasted, adding that the party and the candidates with the second highest votes and the spread in the various elections were the valid winners.

The judgment centres on the governorship, state House of Assembly and the National Assembly elections conducted in Zamfara State on February 23 and March 11, 2019.

APC candidates, including the outgoing governor of the Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who was elected to the Senate, had won most of the offices contested for in the 2019 elections with the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidates, placing first runners-up in the polls.

Some of the persons affected include the Governor-elect, Mukhtar Shehu Idris; Senators Abdulazeez Yari (Zamfara West); Aliyu Ikra Bilbis (Zamfara Central); Kaura Tijjani Yahaya (Zamfara North); seven elected members of the House of Representatives and 24 House of Assembly members. They all belong to the incumbent governor’s camp. The opposition PDP scored the second highest valid votes in the general elections. For instance, in the governorship, while Idris got 534,541, his closest opponent, Dr. Bello Muhammad Mutawalle of the PDP polled 189,452. The candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM), Sen. Dansadau scored 15,177, while Dr. Abdullahi Shinkafi of APGA garnered 3,865.

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