By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
2019 governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Zamfara State, Sani Shinkafi, has described as mockery of judiciary and national disgrace the decision of the former Governor of the State, Abdulaziz Yari, to challenge the decision of the Supreme Court, which had sacked Muktar Idris of All Progressives Congress (APC) as the duly elected governor of the State.
Shinkafi, in a Statement in Abuja stated that the Yari led APC in Zamfara State had gone to the apex court on three occasions with the same result, noting that their insistence that the Supreme Court hears for a third time the same case is becoming ridiculous and childish.
According to Shinkafi “Hon Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari faction of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State expressed strong opposition to the 24th May, 2019 Supreme Court judgment and desperately proceeded to file an application for judicial review marked SC/377/2019. Insisting that they did nothing wrong to be barred for contesting in the elections.
“However in a unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court on Monday 22nd July 2019, a five member panel led by Justice Bode Rhodes Vivor said the application lacked merit and should never have been filed.
“The Supreme Court held that it has no jurisdiction over the matter because anything that has to do with pre-election matter must be brought within 60days after a decision had been delivered”.
He further noted that Supreme Court cannot sit on appeal against it own decisions, noting that out of the desperation by Abdulaziz Yari to remain in the corridors of power, he decided to recycle the suit and filed another application for the second time at the Supreme Court for a judicial review application in November 2019, seeking for the Supreme Court to review the judgement of 24th May 2019 that voided the elections of APC candidates for 2019 General election in Zamfara State.
“This total disregard for the letters of 1999 constitution of the Federal of Nigeria by Abdulaziz Yari APC faction has opened the doors for a plethora of cases to be brought back to apex court for judicial review.
According to Shinkafi “the action of Yari has encouraged Hon Emeka Ihedioha whose election was voided and sacked by Supreme Court on 14th January, 2020, as he has filed an application seeking for a review of Supreme Court Judgement, Chief David Lyon, APC Bayelsa Governorship Candidate is also challenging the Supreme Court judgement of 13th February 2020.
“Engr Abba Kabiru Yusuf of PDP Kano State Governorship Candidate, is planing to file an application to seek for a judicial review of the Supreme court judgement of 20th January, 2020.
“This is unconstitutional and it will therefore create a situation where there is no end to litigation in courts in Nigeria. This will make mockery of our hard earned democracy and implies national disgrace. It would be recalled that on the 13th of February, a day to the inauguration of David Lyon as the Governor of Bayelsa State, the apex court in Nigeria upheld the disqualification of Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, the Deputy Governor-elect of Bayelsa State, who came on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Consequently, the court voided the election of the party’s candidates in the gubernatorial election on the simple ground that no valid ticket existed at the time of the election by the ruling party.
“The electoral jurisprudence is settled for decades now that, for there to be a valid ticket, both the governorship and deputy governorship candidates sponsored by a political party must be qualified in all ramifications. Once there is an affliction on one, the candidature of the party collapses in its entirety, rendering a joint ticket to be no ticket at all.
“The two subsections of Section 187 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)carry neither ambiguity nor vagueness in this regard. Little wonder, therefore, that the votes accrued by the ruling party were discountenanced on the ground that there was no valid nomination as at the time of the election.
Shinkafi pointed out that “however in both the cases of the APC in Zamfara and Bayelsa States the question here should be who is actually to be blamed? This is a self inflicted injury as the party in both cases failed to either conduct a valid primary or field qualified candidates for the polls. Without mincing words, Supreme Court in both cases made accurate findings as the blame lies with the party leadership as it had failed in its duties of providing qualified candidates for the elections.
“Going by the provisions of the provisions of Section 87 of the Electoral Act as amended it makes it compulsory for political parties to conduct primaries to select its candidates for an election. According to Section 87 (1) of the Electoral Act as amended “a political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this act shall hold primaries for aspirants to all elective positions” he added.
Shinkafi noted that “Sub Section 2 of Section 87 posits that the procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for various elective positions shall be by direct or indirect primaries. While sub section 3 states that a political party that adopts the direct procedure shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the party.
Shinkafi stated that “It is when the Supreme Court now does its job by enforcing the compliance with the instruments that politicians commence their shenanigans. As conventional with our people, particularly politicians, they search for where to deposit the blame. It is never in their character to be humble enough to admit their faults. Again, we must remember that building institutions, much more, strong institutions, largely depends on the upholding of the rule of law.
“The party itself will continue to be weak until it collapses except the rule of law is respected. A party is a conglomeration of people and not the exclusive preserve of one man or a few. It is in order to eliminate conflicts and build an enduring institution that the constitution exists. No act or omission must be taken outside the confines of the constitution.
As the Supreme Court rightly admonished in the case of PDP v. Sherrif  15 NWLR (Part 1588) 219 at 287, para. B, (per I. T. Muhammad, JSC) that: “Where a member or members of the party feel too powerful to be governed or controlled by the party constitution or guidelines, and in contravention of such control mechanisms, then, certainly, democracy is thrown overboard by anarchy.”
Shinkafi noted that “from the forgoing on when the apex court can review its judgment, the APC application for the review of the Zamfara State governorship,State house of Assembly ,and National Assembly elections does not fall among cases that could be reviewed as the application is frivolous and lacks merit as it is a case of a self inflicted injury.
The Oshomole led leadership of the party should take the blame for the party’s misfortune and they should accept it in good faith and stop trying to apportion blames where it does not belong.it is clear and unambiguous that the application by the Zamfara State APC does not fall into cases where the Supreme Court could be called upon to revisit its decision” he added.