Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chair
The Independent National Electoral Commission has said that it will wait for the pronouncement of the Supreme Court before taking any decision on the primary elections of the All Progressives Congress in Zamfara State.
The commission had withheld certificates of return of the state Governor-elect, Alhaji Mukhtar Shehu, following the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Sokoto.
But the APC and the governor-elect, in a letter to the commission last week, said the Court of Appeal did not nullify their primary elections.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, on Monday in Abuja, said the commission was law-abiding.
He said, “The Independent National Electoral Commission is a law-abiding institution. It is the policy of the commission to obey court orders and court decisions.
“The commission took the decision to exclude the candidates of the All Progressives Congress from the list of nominated candidates on the grounds that the party did not conduct primary elections.
“The party has taken the matter to the Supreme Court and it is only rational and prudent to wait for the decision of the Supreme Court before proceeding. The commission took a cautionary approach in suspending further issuance of certificates of return to the members-elect of the state assembly, the deputy governor-elect and the governor-elect. The commission will abide by the decision of the Supreme Court on the matter.”
He added, “The commission does not have any interest in who becomes the governor of Zamfara State but is only interested in the processes and procedures leading to the declaration of results and issuance of certificates of return.
“We are confident that the Supreme Court will conclude the hearing of the matter and deliver its judgment before the inuguration of elected members of the national and state assemblies.
“We believe that the people of Zamfara State deserve to know who their governor and representatives are before the terminal date of this regime.
The commission receives dozens of letters daily. The commission replies letters it receives but takes decisions based on the orders and judgments of courts.
“The commission studies the judgments and takes its decisions based on the judgements and orders and not based on the opinions and decisions of lawyers.”
Meanwhile, the state Governor and senator-elect, Abdulaziz Yari, led other federal lawmakers-elect from the state to an induction course in Abuja on Monday.
When contacted, one of the newly elected members of the House of Representatives, who preferred anonymity, told one of our correspondents that nobody had told him anything about withdrawing his certificate of return.
“I have been following the drama playing out in our party from the pre-primaries to our victory at the polls, and nobody has notified me that my election had been voided that will necessitate the withdrawal of my certificate of return,” he stated.