Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
The Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, yesterday, set aside Zamfara State High Court’s decision that recognised the primary elections held by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state and declared that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accept the party candidates for the elections.
The suit was instituted by Senator Kabiru Marafa, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) and 129 chieftains of the APC in Zamfara State.
They had approached the appellant court, arguing that the state high court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit and that the ruling was null and avoid.
The court, through the presiding judge, Justice Tom Shaibu Yakubu, said the lower court has failed to evaluate wholly all evidences presented before it before given its verdict on the matter.
Yakubu, who delivered the unanimous judgment, said evidences before it had shown that the respondents, APC and others did not conduct primary election, which according to the judges, contravened electoral law.
“We have looked at the exhibits 4, 7 and 8, which are very clear that primary election was not conducted. Evidences have shown that the state governor only appointed a special committee that later came up with candidates’ names in place of primary election. So far, all evidences constituted that primary election was not conducted and that contravened the electoral law.”
The court also faulted the trial court for relying heavily on oral evidences in its decision, saying “oral evidences cannot be used to discredit any written evidence. A procedure must be followed whether there is an order or not.
“This court hereby sets aside the judgment of the trial court. This must be a hard and bitter lesson for all political parties that will not follow the guidelines laid before them.”
On the lack of jurisdiction to entertain the suit as argued by the appellants, the Appeal Court submitted that the lower court has power to determine such case in accordance with the law, and therefore, ruled in respondent’s favour.