ABUJA — The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, suffered a major setback yesterday, when the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division declined recognition of its primaries that produced National and state House of Assembly candidates in Zamfara State, including the Governor-elect, Muktar Idris.
The party is also challenged on the Bauchi State governorship seat as a Federal high Court sitting in Abuja dismissed its earlier order halting the collation of Tafawa Balewa LGA results for the governorship election held on March 9 in the state.
APC candidate and incumbent governor, Mohammed Abubakar with 470,570 votes is trailing Senator Bala Mohammed of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The PDP standard bearer scored 475,888 votes in the governorship poll of March 9 and make-up election of March 23 and is said to be leading in Tafawa Balewa LGA, which is considered a PDP stronghold in Bauchi.
At press time, INEC was still collating the result. Mr. Festus Okoye, a national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said the commission will conclude the remaining result from Tafawa Balewa LGA and announce the winner.
Expectedly, the court verdicts elicited reactions from stakeholders. The main opposition PDP, the Coalition of United Political Parties,CUPP, and immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, hailed the ruling, just as lawyers outlined the implications of the decisions.
The Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division set aside the verdict of the Zamfara High Court, allowing the APC to field candidates in the 2019 election.
A Zamfara State High Court recognised the APC primaries that produced governorship, state and National Assembly candidates and ordered INEC to accept the party’s candidates for the elections.
Dissatisfied with State High Court decision, the appellants, Senator Kabiru Marafa, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) and 129 others through their Counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, approached the Appeal Court and challenged the decision on the ground that the State High Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit among others.