A Federal High Court, Abuja has upheld the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission not to accept candidates of the All Progressives Congress in Zamfara State for the 2019 General Elections.
The court said the decision to reject the list was within the powers vested in the commission by the Constitution.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu in her judgement said the inability of the APC to conduct a valid primary within the stipulated time could not be blamed on INEC.
The judge said INEC’s action was intended to curb impunity among political parties and politicians, and ensure that rule of law is adhered to.
Some members of the APC, who claimed they emerged in a consensus arrangement adopted by the party in Zamfara State, had approached the court to compel INEC to accept their names as candidates.
INEC had in September 2018 barred the APC from fielding candidates for the elections over “failure to hold credible primary elections.”
In a letter addressed to the APC, INEC said, “Based on the provision of Section 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended, the commission does not expect that your party will submit names of any candidate from Zamfara State.
“For clarity, our position, therefore, is that the APC will not be fielding candidates for the governorship, National Assembly and state Assembly elections.”
National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, thereafter, accused INEC of bias.
A state High Court sitting in Gusau had in October issued an interim order restraining INEC from disqualifying the APC from fielding candidates for the 2019 elections.