By Ameh Ejekwonyilo
Members of the All Progressives Congress who recently participated and won elections in Zamfara State, maybe in for a shocker as the Court of Appeal sitting in Sokoto on Monday, nullified the primary election that produced them as APC’s flag bearers.
Delivering judgement on a pre-election dispute that emanated from the APC primaries, the appellate court led by Justice Tom Yakubu, on Monday in Sokoto, set aside the judgement of a Zamfara High Court on the All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries that produced the party’s candidates for governorship, National and State Assembly elections.
The suit was filed by Sen. Kabiru Marafa and 129 others through his Counsel, Mr Mike Ozheokome , SAN.
The respondents in the suit were: Kabiru Liman-Danalhaji and 139 others represented by Mr Mahmud Magaji SAN as lead Counsel.
Justice Yakubu, held that the lower court failed in its duty to properly evaluate the evidence before it.
Yakubu said judges have the legal power to produce judgment and reach decisions with reason, noting that in the instance case it was not done. “I am convinced that the lower Court has failed to evaluate the evidence before reaching the decision.”
The Appeal Court has power in law to access pieces of evidence on appeal, which we have done. ”Based on available facts the respondents did not contradict the INEC evidence on conducting the said primary election,” Yakubu said.
The Presiding judge said “documentary evidence has upper consideration than oral ones”.
The appellate court held that the plaintiffs being card carrying party members and aspirants in the said primary election have legal capacity to institute the suit.
He added that Federal, States and FCT High Courts have jurisdiction to entertain such matter. The judges agreed that the judgment should serve as “bitter lesson” for political parties as they ought to follow legitimate guidelines and rules. “Domestic affairs of political party activities must act within the confines of the law in dealing with party members and elections” the judges agreed.