ANALYSIS: Zamfara: Supreme Court Verdict And Matters Arising
Adams Oshiomhole and Yari

Members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Zamfara State Chapter are currently counting their losses and licking the wounds inflicted on them by Friday’s Supreme Court judgment.
The Supreme Court had on Friday nullified the participation of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the last general elections in the state.
It was an unpleasant piece of news for the ruling party and its candidates that had worked so hard to ‘win’ the governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly seats to lose all they had laboured for in a jiffy.
The development was equally tear-jerking considering the fact that the affected persons have been waiting eagerly to take their oath of office, having participated in all the necessary orientations and seminars organized for incoming leaders at different levels.
In all probability, those affected have been rehearsing and counting the days to their inauguration before the Supreme Court’s hammer descended on them.
Consequently, their hope of taking the oath of office in a few days’ time has faded into the sunset as a result of the Friday’s judgment that came from the country’s highest court.
But the judiciary as an independent organ of government by its verdict, once again, demonstrated its willingness to administer justice no matter whose ox is gored.

In a lead judgment delivered by Justice Paul Galinji in Abuja, the Supreme Court held that APC and its candidates did not conduct lawful primary elections in Zamfara State for the 2019 general elections.
Galinji said that INEC should not have recognized the candidates of the APC in the election and ruled that candidates of other political parties that scored the second highest votes in the elections as well as the required spread should be declared winners of the various polls.
The Supreme Court with such pronouncement brought to an end the crisis that had engulfed the Zamfara APC in the build-up to the 2019 general elections, which the national leadership of the party failed to address.
The matter had equally passed through different courts before Friday’s verdict of the Supreme Court.
Recall that the Federal High Court Presided by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, had on January 25, 2019, ruled that INEC was right in its decision to exclude the APC in the general elections.
According to the court, the primaries that produced the party’s candidates were faulty.
But the ruling party later approached the Appeal Court which set aside the ruling of the High Court.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja in its ruling described the lower court’s ruling as an aberration.
A three-member panel led by Justice Abdul Aboki, agreed with APC’s lawyers that the motion brought before the court was filed outside the stipulated time which made it impossible for the lower court to have jurisdiction on the matter.
Expectedly, the Supreme Court’s judgment on Friday which delivered the killer punch to the aspirations of APC’s candidates in Zamfara has been eliciting reactions from different corners of the nation’s political space.
The Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 poll, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, hailed the judgment and commended the court for its decision.
Abubakar, in a statement, said that justice has prevailed in Zamfara, stressing that by its judgment, the court has upheld the rule of law.
He lauded the Supreme Court Justices for putting aside the interests of the powerful and upholding the interests of Nigeria and Nigerians, noting that when justice prevails, the people rejoice, chains are broken, freedom multiplied and society is enriched.


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Abubakar said that he is hoping that the Justices would also allow full reign of justice in other petitions coming before them.
He said, “They will write their names for good on the sands of time and avoid the infamy that oppressors’ wish to thrust on them as their legacy.’’
Similarly, Zamfara Deputy Governor, Ibrahim Wakkala, hailed the Supreme Court judgment and described it as a welcome development.
Wakkala in a statement said, “This is a victory to democracy, the judgment has restored the confidence of Nigerians to the judiciary sector and this judgment is a work of truth against falsehood.”
Wakkala, one of the APC’s governorship aspirants that formed the G8, a group that challenged the interest of Governor Abdulaziz Yari in the elections, urged the people of the state to celebrate but to be law-abiding while celebrating their victory.
But the Senator representing Kaduna Central at the National Assembly, Shehu Sani, in his reaction to the judgment, said that APC lost Zamfara because the party leadership did not do anything to tackle the security situation in the state where many lives have been lost.
“The spirits of the innocents in their sepulcher haunted and crumbled the Zamfara ruling elite’s political tower. The lessons: never make a ladder from woods of a coffin,” Sani stated.
Meanwhile, the APC in its reaction to the judgment said it has no option than to accept the Supreme Court verdict and learn some political lessons from the unpleasant incident.
Ntufam Hillary Eta, APC’ s National Vice Chairman, South South, who disclosed the party’s position after a meeting with the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, described the judgment as very depressing for members of the ruling party.
“It is a very sad day for us,” he said.
Nonetheless, pundits are of the opinion that the Supreme Court judgment has restored the hope of the citizens on the nonaligned status of the country’s judiciary.
Even though some analysts are of the opinion that the nation’s judiciary has elements within it that are sympathetic to the affairs of the ruling party, a landmark judgment that favoured the opposition PDP was delivered on Friday, May 24, 2019.


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