President Muhammadu Buhari has been asked to pay “special attention” to the case at the Court of Appeal regarding the governorship candidate the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State.
A statement signed by Usman Bungudu, convener of the Zamfara Unity Forum, noted that “the confidence with which Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, the state governor, has been campaigning for his Commissioner of Finance, Mukhtar Idris, suggests something sinister”.
The group wants the President to not just focus on the Supreme Court, but on the Court of Appeal as well.
The statement read: “Anybody following the Zamfara case should be worried by Yari’s confidence. Perhaps he knows something that Nigerians don’t know. We therefore call on President Muhammadu Buhari not to limit his searchlight to only the Supreme Court. Special attention must be paid to the Court of Appeal as well, and Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, the President of the Court of Appeal, must be reminded of her responsibility to justice and fairness.
“We at the Zamfara Unity Forum insist that Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari must not be allowed to perpetuate himself in office after failing us for the past eight years. Kind can only beget kind. He must not be allowed to smuggle his candidate into the governorship race through the courts. The APC NWC was in Zamfara to organise the primaries. Most of the contestants endorsed Mallam Dauda Lawal as the governorship candidate and his name was submitted to INEC by APC. He filled INEC Forms CF001 and CF002. If the court finally orders INEC to accept Zamfara APC’s list, it certainly cannot be the one Yari wants to present.
“APC has a list which it has already sent to INEC. It only makes sense for the list to be re-presented if the courts finally have a change of mind. As we can see in the Rivers case, the chances of APC being asked to submit its list are very bright. For the record, it is the national body that conducts party primaries. So Yari cannot organise his own imaginary primaries and foist the list on us.”
The APC National Working Committee (NWC) had submitted the name of Dauda Lawal to the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) as its consensus candidate, but INEC rejected it.
INEC based its rejection on the argument that primaries didn’t hold in the state; it therefore insisted that APC would not participate in the legislative and governorship elections in the state.
However, the NWC said consensus candidature is part of its constitution and that the candidates were picked unanimously by most contestants after the violence that rocked the primaries.
Also, two high courts recently gave conflicting judgments on the issue, one asking INEC to accept the list and another ruling that INEC was right in rejecting the candidates.
The cases are now at the Court of Appeal.