Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate for Zamfara State, Sani Shinkafi, has described as a mockery of judiciary and national disgrace the decision of former Governor Abdulaziz Yari to challenge the decision of the Supreme Court sacking the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Muktar Idris, as the duly elected governor of the northern state.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Shinkafi noted that the Yari-led APC in the state had gone to the apex court on three occasions with the same result, noting that their insistence that the Supreme Court revisit the case a third time is becoming ridiculous.
“The Abdulaziz Yari faction of the APC in Zamfara State expressed strong opposition to the May 24, 2019, Supreme Court judgment and desperately proceeded to file an application for judicial review marked SC/377/2019. He insisted that they did nothing wrong to be barred from contesting the elections.
“However in a unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court on Monday, July 22, 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,” the statement read.
He further remained him that Supreme Court cannot sit on appeal against it own decisions, insisting that out of Yari’s desperation to remain in the corridors of power that 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.
The suit he filed asked the Supreme Court to review the judgement of May 24, 2019, that voided the elections of APC candidates for 2019 General election in Zamfara State, describing its total disregard for the letters of 1999 constitution.
“The action of Yari has encouraged Emeka Ihedioha whose election was voided and sacked by Supreme Court on January 14, 2020, as he has filed an application seeking for a review of Supreme Court Judgement, David Lyon APC Bayelsa Governorship Candidate is also challenging the Supreme Court judgement of February 13, 2020, and Engr Abba Kabiru Yusuf PDP Kano State governorship candidate is planning 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 a mockery of our hard-earned democracy and National disgrace. It would be recalled that on February 13, 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 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.
“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, the 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 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 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.”
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 in the statement.