Elections: Setback for Zamfara APC as judges withdraw

Justices of the Sokoto Division of the Court of Appeal on Monday disqualified themselves from hearing the case on the qualification of Zamfara All Progressives Congress (APC) to field candidates for the upcoming general election.

The judges made the decision reportedly after allegations emanated they were bribed.

A Zamfara High Court had recognised the primary elections held by the APC in the state and declared that INEC accept the party’s candidates for the elections.

On the same day the Zamafa court ruled, an Abuja court validated INEC’s decision to disqualify the APC from participating in elections in Zamfara.

Based on the contradictory rulings, INEC said it would stand by its decision to disqualify the ruling party. INEC disqualified the APC from governorship and parliamentary elections in Ekiti after the party failed to conduct its primaries within the stipulated time.

Unsatisfied with Zamfara High Court decision, the appellant, Aminu Jaji, a governorship aspirant and serving lawmaker representing Kauran Namoda/ Birnin Magaji federal constituency approached the Appeal Court to set aside the judgement.

The judge, Ahmad Belgore, ruled that based on circulated media allegations and issues raised by Muhammad Nuhu, counsel to a senator, Kabiru Marafa, the justices would not continue with the case.

Mr. Belgore said in recognition of the magnitude of allegations and present situation in judiciary as well as the nation, the judges surrendered that the President of the Court of Appeal should constitute new panel to entertain the matter.

He told all parties to the case to await the constitution of a new panel that would consider the matter.

At the resumed hearing, counsel to the respondents told the court that some of his clients have accused the justices of receiving three million dollars to compromise the case.

Earlier, counsel to the appellant, Ishiyaku Dikko (SAN) had applied to withdraw the entire appeal, which was rejected by the court on the ground that he ought to wait until the scheduled date for substantive hearing.

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