The Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Zamfara State Alhaji Sani Abdulahi Shinkafi has asked the State’s Elections Petitions Tribunal to nullify the Governorship elections conducted in the state on March 9th.
Shinkafi also ordered for a fresh election without the participation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate Mukhtar Shehu Idris.
Shinkafi had in his petition filed before the tribunal on March 29th filed through his Counsel, Ifeanyi Mbaeri stated that by virtue of Section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution as amended “a person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a state if inter alia: he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party to contest the said election”.
He further averred that “pursuant to section 87(1) of The Electoral Act 2010 as amended a political party seeking to sponsor or nominate candidates for elections under this section shall hold primaries for aspirants to all elective positions. In other words, by the combined provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Electoral Act 2010 as amended, Sponsorship of candidates for elective positions is only through the holding of primaries.
Citing Section 140(2) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended Shinkafi stated that”where an election tribunal or court nullifies an election on the ground that the person who obtained the highest votes at the election was not qualified to contest the election or marred by substantial irregularities or noncompliance with the provisions of this act, the election tribunal or court shall not declare the person with the second highest number of votes or any other person as elected, but shall order a fresh election.
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He contended that Mukhtar Shehu Idris cited in the suit as the 1st respondent was as at the time of the Zamfara State Governorship elections not qualified to contest the election on the grounds that he was not a sponsored candidate of a political party and was therefore not qualified for election to the office of the Governor of a State.
The petitioners further averted that by the combined provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) sponsorship of Governorship Candidate is only through the holding of primary elections otherwise known as Special Congress in State Capital with delegates voting for aspirants of their choice.
The petitioners maintained that the 2nd respondent, the APC did not hold any primary election in Zamfara State or Special congress wherein the 1st respondent was nominated/sponsored as the Governorship Candidate of the 2nd respondent for the Zamfara State Governorship Election that took place on March 9th,2019.
Shinkafi and APGA further contended that the 3rd respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) as the watch-dog of political parties was fully aware that the APC did not sponsor candidates across all elective positions in Zamfara State: the Governorship, National Assembly and State House of Assembly elections. Consequently INEC by a letter dated 9th October 2018 titled ” failure to conduct party primaries in Zamfara State within the stipulated time wrote APC a formal letter appraising the party of the consequences of the party’s failure to hold primaries and sponsor candidates in Zamfara State.
“The petitioners aver that the purported participation of the 1st respondent as the APC Governorship Candidate in Zamfara State held on March 9th, 2019 has been rendered a nullity by the judgment of the Court of Appeal Sokoto Division in appeal number CA/S/32/2019 Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa & others v Sanusi Lukman Dan Alhaji &others which was delivered on 25th March 2019.
Shinkafi and APGA are asking the tribunal for a declaration that the 1st respondent at the time of the Zamfara State Governorship Elections conducted by INEC (the 3rd respondent) on March 9th 2019 was not qualified to the contest the said election having not been sponsored by the APC (2nd respondent) as stipulated in Section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
They are also asking for an order setting aside the purported return of the 1st and 2nd respondents as winners of Zamfara State Governorship Elections held on March 9th 2019.
An order directing INEC to conduct fresh Governorship Elections in Zamfara State within 90 days without the participation of the 1st and 2nd respondents, the APC having failed to sponsor a Governorship Candidate within the time stipulated by law.