By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja and Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Gusau
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC yesterday maintained its stand that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not field governorship and House of Assembly candidates in Zamfara State.
The commission also took the same position on Rivers State APC candidates.
However, in a swift reaction yesterday, Governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar of Zamfara state has described the rejection of the list of APC candidates from the state chapter of the party as mere rumour and baseless.
Yari, who stated this yesterday at a press conference held in Government House Gusau said, the acceptance of the list by INEC has encouraged the party to commence it’s campaigns for the presidential, gubernatorial and national assembly.
He challenged that, any report being published by media outfit apart from that INEC has accepted the controversial list is nothing but an attempt to distract the good effort of the APC, adding that, “That has been the handiwork of unpatriotic members of the party”.
But the Commission, at its meeting on Wednesday, reviewed the situation in Zamfara State as it concerned the APC, and noted that there were two court judgements on the matter.
A statement issued by Mr. Festus Okoye, Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, said a state High Court in Gusau and a Federal High Court in Abuja gave a contradictory judgements on the matter.
According to the statement, “The former judgement clearly said that the APC conducted primaries in Zamfara State, contrary to the position of the commission.
“On the other hand, the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that the party did not conduct valid primaries and therefore is ineligible to field candidates for the elections,” the statement said.
The Commission noted that the judgements were delivered by two courts of coordinate jurisdiction on the same day, stating that it has decided to maintain its original position that APC did not conduct primaries.
INEC stated that in line with section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), APC is not eligible to field candidates for the National Assembly, governorship and state Assembly elections in Zamfara State.
State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Obo Effanga, confirmed yesterday that the list pasted on Thursday was without Rivers APC candidates’ names because of the court order.
Recall that INEC had also refused to paste the names of APC National Assembly candidates on January 17, citing a court order that the candidates’ names should be removed from the list of those contesting the 2019 general election.
Meanwhile, a total of 1,066 candidates have been for the March 2 this year’s governorship election by the INEC).
Similarly, 14,583 candidates have been cleared for the State Houses of Assembly elections by the Prof. Mahmood Jega-led commission.
These figures were contained in the final list of candidates for the governorship, States Houses of Assembly and FCT elections released yesterday by the commission in Abuja.
The lists further showed that a total of 105 candidates have been cleared to contest for the chairmanship of the six Area Councils in FCT, while 701 candidates will contest for the councillorship seats in the six councils.
The six Area Councils in FCT are; Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Bwari, Kuje, Kwali, Gwagwalada and Abaji.