The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) has written to INEC, asking the commission to postpone the National Assembly elections and the governorship and state House of Assembly polls in Zamafara State to enable the All Progressives Congress to field candidates in the exercise in the state.
A copy of the three-page letter bearing Malami’s signature and dated February 13, 2019 with reference number MJ/DSD/03, emerged online early Thursday.
The letter is without the acknowledgement stamp of the office of INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to whom it was addressed.
Malami, in the letter, which he said was informed by a petition he received from the law firm of M.A Mahmud & Co., anchored his request for the postponement of the elections in Zamfara State on a judgment of the Sokoto Division of the Court of Appeal.
The minister, a member of the APC, said in the letter that the Court of Appeal’s judgment delivered on Wednesday affirmed an earlier verdict of the Zamfara State High Court which had held that the party conducted valid primaries for the various elective positions in the state.
Malami said granting the concession of postponing the polls in Zamfara State in the light of the Court of Appeal’s judgment, was not a matter of doing APC a favour but a right the party was entitled to.
His letter stated, “In view of the fact, now that the Court of Appeal has upheld the primaries as valid, the APC in Zamfara State will need a little time to catch up with its contemporaries in the election.
“Granting them this concession is not necessarily a favour but a right that inures to all contestants under similar circumstances.
“Consequent on the above, INEC is invited to comply with the judgement of the Court of Appeal by admitting the results of the APC Zamfara State Primaries and to also comply with the provisions of Section38 of the Electoral Act which empowers INEC to postpone the election for the governorship, National Assembly and House of Assembly Elections.”
Opposing side reacts
The minister’s claim was however debunked by Chief Mike Ozehome (SAN), a lawyer acting for Senator Kabir Marafa and others involved in the appeal.
Calling for a press conference to address the letter by the AGF’s letter later on Thursday, Ozekhome said, “There is absolutely no legal basis whatsoever for this letter which is clearly meant to circumvent the judicial process already activated by all parties concerned.
“I act for Senator Kabiru Marafa, Hon Dauda Lawal and others.”
INEC had insisted that it would not accommodate APC’s candidates in the forthcoming polls due to the party’s alleged failure to conduct valid primaries in the state.
In the face of the two conflicting judgments from the courts of coordinate jurisdiction, INEC insisted that it would stick to its original position that the APC failed to conduct valid primaries in the state and therefore would not be allowed to field candidates for the polls.
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