A late Thursday decision by the court of appeal sitting in Abuja has set aside the judgment of the federal high court, Abuja, which had upheld the exclusion of the Zamfara state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from fielding candidates for the general elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had barred the ruling party from participating in the election in the north-west state due to party’s failure to conduct primaries within the time frame allowed by law.
The Federal high court in Abuja had agreed with INEC in a judgement on January 25, saying the commission was right to exclude APC.
That decision has now been annulled by a three man panel of the appellate court, which held that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to have entertained the suit in the first place, pointing out that the matter was filed 15 days after cause of action had arisen, contrary to the Electoral Act.
The Court described the suit as an abuse of court process and therefore illegal.
This comes one week after Mr. Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, asked INEC to postpone elections in Zamfara state so as to include APC candidates since they had approached the Appeal Court for relief.
INEC had disregarded Malami’s letter.
It also came within hours after Mr. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, had insisted in a press conference in Abuja on Thursday that APC in Zamfara will not field candidates in the 2019 elections.