APC dares INEC, submits Zamfara candidates’ list

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Disqualifies Suleiman Abba, Uba Sani, grants automatic ticket to Shehu Sani

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission are set for epic legal battle as the latter has dared the former by submitting a list its candidates from Zamfara State.

It would be recalled that INEC had said APC would field no candidate for the 2019 general elections because the party failed to conduct primaries into the various elective positions both at the state and national levels after the expiration of the stipulated time.

But APC, it was gathered, went ahead yesterday and handed in a list of all its candidates from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Authority to INEC in a bid to beat the October 18 deadline.

Despite the submission of the names, INEC’s deputy director of information in Mr. Aliyu Bello said: “As far as we are concerned, the issue of Zamfara is foreclosed.

“We are not collecting any list from them, as they failed to meet up with the required standard.”

He said INEC could not be held liable for the failure of the party to comply with constitutional provisions.

Meanwhile, a Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State, restrained the national working committee (NWC) of the APC from submitting any list from the state to INEC.

In the ruling, Justice Toyin Adegoke had ordered the parties to maintain the status quo till the substantive suit was heard.

The Chief Cyril Ogodo-led State working committee and others had instituted an interlocutory injunction restraining the APC national chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, from submitting a list of candidates from the Prophet Jones Erue faction.

“This matter shall be given an accelerated hearing owing to the fact that it is a pre-election matter.

All defendants are to take note of the tendencies of this suit. Parties shall maintain status quo as at today, the 17th day of November 2018. That is the order of this court,” said Adegoke.

Also, a group, Benue South APC Justice and Equality Movement, has accused the minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh of allegedly substituting the names of elected candidates with those of his cronies.

The coordinator of the group, Mr. Akor Ikwuocha, said they were surprised that after the emergence of a winner from the party primaries and names submitted to the approximate authorities by the electoral committee, “the minister allegedly called a meeting of a few persons while overseas and announced that he was substituting names of most of the candidates because they were not his choice.

“Today, there is no single campaign billboard of President Muhammadu Buhari in the whole of Benue South Senatorial district, despite the fact that the Benue South has a cabinet member in the person of Chief Audu Ogbe.”

The protesters said the attempt to change the names of elected candidates across Benue South may put the APC at a serious disadvantage in the zone.

The group therefore called on the national working committee of the party to call the minister to order and ensure that candidates who won the primaries were allowed to participate in the general elections.

Meanwhile, Punch reports that the APC appeal panel that all petitions against the senate and House of Representatives primaries were rejected thereby giving automatic ticket to those promised.

In Delta State for example, it was learnt that eight petitions were upheld by the committee which agreed with the petitioners who argued that they won the primaries but that their names were surreptitiously replaced.

Seven petitions were rejected for lacking merit.

In the South-West zone, six petitions were received and treated by the panel from Ekiti State.

The petitioners faulted the conduct of the National Assembly primary held in the state but their petitions were thrown out.

A similar fate befell three petitions filed against the conduct of the House of Representatives primary in Osun State.

In Ondo State, the panel upheld three petitions for senate, referred one to the national working committee and rejected two and upheld the five petitions for the House of Representatives.

The five argued successfully with documentary evidence that they won the primary but their names were substituted.

Of the two petitions received from Lagos, one was rejected for the senate, while the one for the House of Representatives was upheld.

The panel also rejected two senatorial petitions from Ogun State and recommended that the third petitioner be adopted as the candidate, saying stakeholders of the party in the areas agreed to adopt him as a sole candidate.

The Prof. Osarhiemen Osunbor-led APC appeal panel equally upheld the disqualifications of some of the party’s aspirants by the Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC and its decision to grant automatic tickets to serving governors and some lawmakers.

Some of the prominent members disqualified are a former inspector general of police, Suleiman Abba, and the political adviser to the Kaduna State governor,  Mallam Uba Sani.

From the panel’s report and recommendations, it became obvious that pressure mounted by some state governors, especially the Kaduna State Governor, El-Rufai, as well as the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, did nothing to influence the committee.

In the North-West, the panel upheld the automatic ticket given to Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central), after rejecting petitions filed by Senator Mohammed Saleh, Usman Ibrahim and Samsuddeen Giwa challenging the decision of the APC NWC to disqualify them from contesting the primary.

It also threw out a petition by Dr. Abba Ibrahim who cited irregularities in the party’s decision to grant Sani an automatic ticket.

For Kaduna North, the APC panel threw out the petition filed by Senator Aliyu Lawal who also complained about alleged irregularities in the conduct of the primary in the area.

A petition filed by Ahmed Munir, who contested the Lere Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, asking the panel to declare him as candidate was upheld.

Munir had petitioned the panel alleging that the aspirant who won the contest was indicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for an unspecified offence in 2008.

The panel found merit in his petition and declared the petitioner as the party’s candidate.

A petition filed by Ahmed Shuiabu Adda’u who contested the party’s ticket for the Makarfi/Kudan federal constituency challenging his alleged wrongful disqualification, was thrown out for lacking merit.

Another aspirant, Rufai Chanchangi, who contested the Kaduna South Federal Constituency, petitioned the panel, citing irregularities but his petition was equally rejected.

For the Sokoto State governorship, petitions filed by two aspirants, Senator Abubakar Gada and Faruk Yabo, citing the refusal of the APC election committee to follow guidelines for the conduct of the exercise were also rejected.

The panel also held that the petition filed by a Kebbi State governorship aspirant, Alhaji Ibrahim Mera, challenging his exclusion from the contest was “not competent.”

Similar petitions by senatorial aspirants for Kebbi Central and Kebbi South, Aminu Shamaki and Sule Sami respectively, were also dismissed.

The panel also dismissed a petition filed by Abdullahi Sura who contested the Sum/Bagudo federal constituency in the House of Representatives.

It, however, referred a petition by Abdullahi Faruk, the member representing Birnin Kebbi/ Kalgo/ Bunza federal constituency in the House of Representatives, whose petition was a “Plea for fulfillment of promise of automatic ticket for loyalty to the party,” to the APC NWC.

In Jigawa State, the panel dismissed petitions filed by Hashiru Yusuf and Allhaji Hashimu against the conduct of the governorship primary on the grounds that the petitions had been overtaken by INEC’s guidelines for the conduct of fresh primaries.

Former IGP, Suleiman Abba, who petitioned the panel to protest the removal of his name from the ballot in the contest for the party’s ticket for Jigawa South Senatorial district also failed to gain the panel’s sympathy.

The case of Abdullahi Gumel, a sitting senator who lost the primary was referred to the NWC for further action after he petitioned the panel, citing irregularities in the conduct of the primary which he lost.

In Kano, the case of the special assistant to the president on national assembly matters (House of Representatives), Suleiman Kawu-Sumaila, was also referred to the NWC for further action.

Similar cases referred to the NWC included those involving Suleiman Halilu, Laila Buhari and Senator Isa Zarewa who contested the Kano Central senatorial ticket.

Petitions against the conduct of the governorship primary in Katsina State were also referred to the NWC.

The two petitioners were Alhaji Garba Sani and Abubakar Isa.

The panel also dismissed petitions by a senatorial aspirant for Bayelsa Central, Barry Indutimi.

It also dismissed appeals by Mr. John Odey, Chief Edem Duke and Chief Eyo Nyong, who demanded a fresh governorship primary in Cross River State.

The panel also held that the petition filed by Prof. Pat Utomi challenging the validity of the governorship primary in Delta State had been overtaken by events.

It, however, upheld an appeal by Halims Agoda who won the primary for Ethiope Federal Constituency but had his name replaced.

For Rivers State, the appeals by Senator Magnus Abe and Chief Dumo-Lulu Briggs against the conduct of the governorship primaries were rejected.

For Akwa Ibom State, appeals by Bassey Dan-Abia, Senator James Udoedehe and Dr Edet Efefuei against the conduct of the governorship primary were similarly thrown out.

It, however, upheld the appeal by Robinson Uwak who won the primary for Oron federal constituency but was denied victory.

Similar petitions by Iquo Inyang and Mrs. Glory Ekpo who contested and won the primaries held for Ikono/Ini and Etinan federal constituencies were also upheld.

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