Statutory delegates will not vote at the presidential primary of the All Progressives Party (APC) billed to hold on Tuesday in spite of the judgement of a court clearing them to do so.
National chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, disclosed this yesterday while briefing journalists at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
“Well, I am a lawyer, we have serve notice of appeal and the matter is in the court. As far as we are concerned, this convention is concerned, statutory delegates are excluded,” Adamu declared.
Statutory delegates are current and former public office holders, including presidents and governors.
In an attempt by lawmakers to correct an “error” relating to section 84(8) of the Electoral Act, a bill seeking to enable statutory delegates to vote at conventions and congresses was recently passed by the National Assembly.
A Federal High Court in Kano had on Friday ruled that statutory delegates are constitutionally qualified to participate in all meetings, congresses and conventions of any registered political party in Nigeria, including the All Progressives Party (APC).
LEADERSHIP Weekend had reported that the pronouncement of the court may have come late, as the APC had already submitted its list of delegates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and any attempt to alter the list three days to the presidential primary would contravene INEC guidelines for activities leading to the 2023 general election.
Before Adamu hinted that the party had gone on appeal on the matter, some senior lawyers had earlier told LEADERSHIP Sunday yesterday that except the decision of the court is set aside it remains the position of the law.
A learned silk, Abdul Balogun (SAN), said the duty of the judiciary is to interpret the law and once that is done it should be respected.
He said, ”No other arm of government is saddled with the responsibility of interpreting the law. Only the judiciary has the constitutional power to do that and once that is done, it should be binding on everyone until it is set aside by a superior court.”
On his part, Barrister Kamal Muktar, a Kaduna-based lawyer, agreed with the position of the senior advocate.
According to him, until a judgement is set aside, it stands as the law.
“I believe parties in the matter have canvassed their arguments before the court and the court has also looked at the arguments before coming up with its decision.
“Any party that is aggrieved has the constitutional right to approach a higher court to appeal the judgment. That is why you have superior courts,” he said.
A law Lecturer, Mr Malik Abdulrasak, on his part, said it is in the interest of political parties to respect the judgement or order of the court.
“We have witnessed a situation in the past where parties, organisations and individuals flouted court judgement and they paid heavily for it.
“My advice to political parties and politicians is to respect the rule of law so that they don’t regret their actions later”, he warned.
Also, Banjoko Goodwill, a public affairs analyst, said the courts have done so well in sanitizing our electoral process so far.
According to him, but for the court, the country may not be where it is now in the build up to the 2023 elections.
“I’m sure before the court came to that reasoning in Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act, it looked at the intent of the makers of the law”, he said.