The Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC ) has finally admitted Zamfara state All Progressive Congress (APC) candidates into the 2019 general election.
This follows the Court of Appeal ruling on Thursday, nullifying the decision of the Federal High Court Abuja, which had upheld INEC’s decision to exclude Zamfara APC from the polls.
The state APC was barred from fielding candidates due to failure of the ruling party to conduct its primaries within the time frame allowed by law, INEC had decided.
However, the Appeal Court decision cleared the way for the party’s candidates.
In a statement on Friday, Festus Okoye, chairman of the information and voter education committee of INEC, announced that the commission has relisted Zamfara APC candidates.
The statement read, “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has consistently maintained that it will always obey court judgments and orders,” Okoye said in a statement.
“In the case of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State, the Federal High Court, Abuja and the Zamfara State High Court issued conflicting orders relating to the participation of the APC in the two strands of elections scheduled for 23rd February and 9th March 2019.
“While the former ruled that the APC, having failed to conduct party primaries cannot field candidates in the said election, the latter decided that it can field candidates having conducted valid party primaries.
“However, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division on 21st February 2019 set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja for ‘lack or want of jurisdiction on the part of the lower court.’ This in effect means that the Zamfara State High Court’s decision that the APC can field candidates for the National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections is the only valid and subsisting order.
“Consequently, the Commission has today, in compliance with the said order, restored the APC to the ballot in the National Assembly, Governorship and State House of Assembly elections scheduled for 23rd February and 9th March 2019.”