By Augustine Aminu
The actions taken by the three judges of the Appeal Court in Sokoto on Monday which withdrew from the case challenging the judgement of the lower court which upheld the primaries of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara state over bribery allegation to the tune of $3 million and the refusal of the court grant the appellant the right to withdraw the case have been condemned.
A statement in Abuja yesterday by a group, Concerned Citizens of Zamfara State, said the judges’ withdrawal from the case and the immediate constitution of a new set of judges to sit on the appeal as well as their refusal to grant the request of the appellant to withdraw the case were quite hasty, inappropriate, unfair and tended to lend credence to the $3 million bribery allegation.
The statement, which was signed by Chairman of the group, Alhaji Jibir Wakili, said events unfolding since the botched primaries of APC in Zamfara state last year, particular the improper conduct of Governor Abdulaziz Yari and certain judicial pronouncements, could jeopardise the party’s chances in the coming elections if they were not urgently resolved.
The group, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Judicial Council (NJC) to wade into the crisis with a view to resolving all the knotty issues in the interest of democracy and the rule of law.
Eight governorship aspirants of the APC in Zamfara state have petitioned the NJC, calling for its urgent intervention in the matter. The aspirants were specifically focused on Governor Yari’s appeal on INEC’s decision not to accept his faction’s candidates for the polls. The aspirants, under the umbrella of G-8, are Senator Kabir Garba Marafa; Zamfara state deputy governor, Malam Ibrahim Wakala; former governor of the state, Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi, Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji; Engineer Abu Magaji; Dauda Lawal; and Mohammed Sagir Hamidu.
Senator Marafa recently accused Governor Yari of plotting to destabilise the 2019 elections in the state. Marafa said the governor plans to use 8,500 armed youth under guise of civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) to carry out the act. According to him, frustrated by his inability to force his preferred governorship candidate on the APC, the governor announced the recruitment of 8,500 civilian JTF members, camouflaging to end killings and kidnappings.