The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday discounted the votes cast for All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 23 and March 9, 2019 general election in Zamfara State as void and declared candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winners in compliance with the Supreme Court judgement of Friday, May 24, 2019.
The Supreme Court had last Friday held that the APC did not conduct valid primaries and ruled that the votes cast for the party in all the elections in question were invalid. The apex court therefore ordered INEC to recognise the runners-up as the winners.
However, after invalidating the votes scored by APC candidates, INEC recognised all the runners-up in the election as candidates of the PDP.
Speaking during a press conference held at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu said all those who came second in the election were members of the PDP who met the requirements to be declared winners.
He therefore declared that the commission will issue certificates of return to the new winners tomorrow.
Yakubu said governor and deputy governor-elect, senators-elect and the House of Representatives-elect will receive their certificates on Monday, May 27, 2019 at the Commission’s Electoral Institute at 2pm.
“Members of the State House of Assembly-elect will receive their certificates from the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Zamfara State at the INEC State Office in Gusau on Friday May 31, 2019 at 10am,” Yakubu added.
With this development, LEADERSHIP Sunday reports that all certificates of return earlier issued to members of the APC in Zamfara State are invalid.
The INEC chairman, who said no one can win an election without conducting proper primaries, urged the people of Kogi and Bayelsa States to avoid a repeat of what happened in Zamfara State.
The gubernatorial election in the two states come up on 16 November, 2019.
Yakubu noted, “I wish to seize this opportunity to draw the attention of all stakeholders, but particularly the political parties, to the implications of the Supreme Court judgment on the Zamfara matter.
“It is clear that properly conducted party primaries are cardinal to the proper internal functioning of political parties, the electoral process and our democratic system at large. Therefore, political parties must take very seriously the conduct of primaries according to all extant rules, including the monitoring of the processes by INEC, to avoid a repeat of the Zamfara experience.
“I want therefore to remind us that the Commission has since 9th April, 2019 issued the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections by which party primaries are scheduled to hold between the 2nd and 29th August, 2019.
“I appeal to political parties intending to field candidates in the elections to adhere strictly to this and other timelines in the timetable and schedule of activities,” Yakubu said during the press conference.
He, however, gave a background of the legal process that culminated in the Supreme Court decision on Friday.
“You may all recall that the commission issued the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 general elections on 9th January 2018, over one year in advance.
“Among other activities, the conduct of party primaries was scheduled to take place between 18th August and 7th October 2018. Unfortunately, the APC did not conduct its primaries in Zamfara State within this stipulated time and the commission duly informed the party that it would not be in a position to present candidates for elections in the state.
“Subsequently, various interested parties, including the APC itself, approached the court over the decision of the Commission. Just before the election, the subsisting court judgment at the time ordered the commission to include the APC on the ballot for the Governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly elections, which the Commission complied with.
“However, since the elections were completed, a Court of Appeal judgment and now a Supreme Court judgment have determined that the APC did not conduct valid primaries for the elections in question. In its judgment delivered on 24th May 2019, this judgment affects the positions of governor and deputy-governor, three senatorial, seven federal and 24 state assembly constituencies.”
According to him, following the judgment of the Supreme Court, the Commission has met in two emergency sessions and taken briefings from its lawyers and staff on the implementation of the Supreme Court judgment.
He went on: “While the legislative elections (Senatorial, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly elections) are straight forward to deal with because they entail first-past-the-post or simple majority of votes, the governorship election is determined not just by majority votes but also spread in accordance with Section 179 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“This means that we had to first discount the votes cast for the APC at the elections and then carefully rework the spread by Local Government Areas based on the new valid votes.”
In compliance with the Supreme Court judgment, the Commission listed the winners of the elections in Zamfara State as follows: Governorship: Bello Mohammed Matawalle, PDP; Deputy governor, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, PDP.
For the senatorial election, Zamfara North, Alhaji Ya’u Sahabi, PDP; Zamfara Central, Mohammed Hassan, PDP, and Zamfara West, Lawali Hassan Anka, PDP.
For the House of Representatives: Kauran Namoda/Birnin Magaji, Umar Sani Dan-Galadima, PDP; Shinkafi/Zurmi, Bello Hassan Shinkafi, PDP; Gusau/Tsafe, Kabiru Adamu, PDP; Anka/Talata Mafara, Kabiru Yahaya, PDP; Bakura/ Maradun, Ahmed Muhammad Bakura, PDP; and Gummi/Bukkuyum, Sulaiman Abubakar Gumi, PDP.
For the State House of Assembly Constituencies: Kaura Namoda North, Zaharadeen M Sada, PDP; Kaura Namoda South, Ana’s Sarkin Fada, PDP; Birnin Magaji, Nura Dahiru, PDP; Zurmi East, Salisu Usman Zurmi, PDP; Zurmi Weat, Nasiru Mu’azu, PDP; Shinkafi, Muhammad G Ahmad, PDP; Tsafe East, Musa Bawa Musa, PDP; Tsafe West, Aliyu Na-Maigora, PDP; Gusau East, Ibrahim Naida, PDP; Gusau West, Shafi’u Dama, PDP; Bungudu East, Kabiru Magaji, PDP; Bungudu West, Nasiru Bello Lawal, PDP.
Others are Maru North, Yusuf Alhassan Muhammad, PDP; Maru Sourh, Kabiru Hashimu, PDP; Anka, Yusuf Muhammad, PDP; Talata Mafara North, Shamsudeen Hassan, PDP; Talata Mafara South, Aminu Yusuf Jangebe, PDP; Bakura, Tukur Jekada Birnin Tudu, PDP; Maradun I, Faruk Musa Dosara, PDP. Maradun II, Nasiru Atiku, PDP; Gummi I, AbdulNasir Ibrahim, PDP; Gummi II, Mansur Mohammed, PDP; and Bukkuyum North, Ibrahim Mohammed Na’Idda, PDP; Bukkuyum South, Sani Dahiru, PDP.
We Accept Supreme Court Verdict – State Govt
Consequently, the Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar yesterday declared that his administration and APC members in the state had accepted last Friday’s verdict of the Supreme Court which nullified the votes scored by the APC during the 2019 general elections in the state.
The governor stated this while addressing a gathering of the APC members at the Government House in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital.
Yari said APC members and supporters of the party in the state did everything possible to ensure APC did not lose Zamfara State but that as Allah wanted, the party lost the state.
He said party members also did their best to ensure they held on to power and provide more dividends of democracy to the people of the state. He however said that as Allah wanted it, the Supreme Court judgement went the way it did.
Yari therefore urged all APC members and other citizens of the state to remain calm, peaceful and law abiding just as he directed security agencies to be more vigilant and ensure adequate protection of lives and property in the state.
We Expect More Elections To Be Upturned – PDP
Meanwhile, basking in the euphoria of victory, the PDP has congratulated the governor-elect, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, all federal and state legislators-elect, as well as people of Zamfara State on the victory, describing it as the triumph of the will of the people over manipulative forces.
The party said this victory is a clear pointer to the fact that no matter how long manipulations and anti-democratic tendencies appear to thrive, justice and the will of the people always prevail at the end of the day.
The PDP assured the people of Zamfara State of a purposeful, people-based and result-oriented leadership that will unite and revitalise the state for the greater good, in line with the wishes and aspiration of the people.
The party, in a statement issued by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, noted that Zamfara is blessed with abundant human and natural resources, adding that the in-coming administration will direct all energies towards harnessing such resources for the wellbeing of all the people.
The PDP therefore urged the people of Zamfara State to resist all forces of division and unite behind their new leaders to move the state forward.
“In congratulating the people of Zamfara State, the PDP is optimistic that justice will prevail in its effort to retrieve all its stolen mandate, particularly the presidential mandate that Nigerians freely gave to Atiku Abubakar, at the courts.”
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