The Court of Appeal sitting in Sokoto, led by Justice Tom Yakubu, has set aside the judgement of a Zamfara High Court on the All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries that produced the party’s candidates for governorship, National and State Assembly elections.
Recall that in February, the court of appeal sitting in Abuja set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which barred the APC from fielding candidates, in consonance with the earlier decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Federal High Court gave its ruling on 25 January on the same day that another court upheld the primaries organised by the state chapter of the party.
But a 3- man panel of the appellate court described the judgment in Abuja as an abuse of court process. The panel held that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to have entertained the suit.
The panel further said the suit at the Federal High court was filed out of time.
It said while the electoral act provided for 14 days to institute a suit after the cause of action had arisen, the suit was filed 15 days after, making the action illegal.
The appellate court ruling comes one week after Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, asked INEC to postpone elections in Zamfara state.
In a letter dated February 13, 2019, Malami said he acted based on a petition from a law firm claiming that recent court judgments have annulled the stand of INEC that the APC did not conduct primaries in the state and can therefore not field candidates.
He had said since the courts admitted that primaries were held, INEC should shift the elections to allow APC catch up with other parties in preparing for the polls.
But the commission disregarded Malami’s letter.
At a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman insisted that APC in Zamfara would not field candidates. He spoke before the latest twist at the Appeal Court.