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SUPREME COURT APC ZAMFARA STATE JUDGEMENT REVIEW IS  MOCKERY OF DEMOCRACY AND NATIONAL DISGRACE

Hon Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari faction of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State expressed strong opposition to the 24th May,2019 Supreme Court judgement and desperately proceeded to file an application for judicial review  marked SC/377/2019 . Insisting that they did nothing wrong to be barred for constesting in the elections. However in a unamious ruling by the Supreme Court on Monday 22nd July 2019 a five member  panel led by justice Bode Rhodes Vivor said the application lack merit and should never been filed . ” Supreme Court ruled that it has no jurisdiction  over the matter because anything that has to do with pre-election matter must be brought within 60days after a decision had been delivered “ He further noted that Supreme Court cannot sit on appeal against it own decisions. Desperation of Abdulaziz Yari to remain in  theccorridor of power decided to recycled and filed again another second  Supreme Court  judicial review application in November  2019. Seeking Supreme Court to review the judgement of 24th May 2019 that voided the elections of APC candidates for 2019 General election in Zamfara State. This total disregard for the  letters of 1999 constitution of the Federal of Nigeria by Abdulaziz Yari APC faction  has opened the doors for plethora of cases to be brought back to apex court for judicial review. Hon Emeka Ihedioha election was voided and sacked by Supreme Court on 14th January,2020 has filed an application seeking for review of Supreme Court Judgement, Chief David Lyon APC Bayelsa Governorship Candidate  Supreme Court judgement of 13th February 2020.  and  Engr Abba Kabiru Yusuf PDP Kano State Governorship  Candidate is planing to file an application to  seek for  judicial review of the Supreme court judgement of 20th January ,2020. This is unconstitutional and  it will therefore create for  no an end to litigation in courts of Nigeria. This will make mockery of our hard earned democracy and National disgrace. It would be recalled that on the 13th of February a day to the inauguration of David Lyon as the Governor of Bayelsa State, the apex court in Nigeria upheld the disqualification of Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo the Deputy Governor-elect of Bayelsa State who came on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Consequently, the court voided the election of the party’s candidates in the gubernatorial election on the simple ground that no valid ticket existed at the time of the election by the ruling party. The electoral jurisprudence is settled for decades now that, for there to be a valid ticket, both the governorship and deputy governorship candidates sponsored by a political party must be qualified in all ramifications. Once there is an affliction on one, the candidature of the party collapses in its entirety, rendering a joint ticket to be no ticket at all. The two subsections of Section 187 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)carry neither ambiguity nor vagueness in this regard. Little wonder, therefore, that the votes accrued by the ruling party were discountenanced on the ground that there was no valid nomination as at the time of the election. However in both the cases of the APC in Zamfara and Bayelsa States the question here should be who is actually to be blamed? This is a self inflicted injury as the party in both cases failed to either conduct a valid primary or field qualified candidates for the polls. Without mincing words, Supreme Court in both cases made accurate findings as the blame lies with the party leadership as it had failed in its duties of providing qualified candidates for the elections. Going by the provisions of  the provisions of  Section 87 of the Electoral Act as amended it makes it compulsory for political parties to conduct primaries to select its candidates for an election. According to Section 87 (1) of the Electoral Act as amended “a political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this act shall hold primaries for aspirants to all elective positions. Sub Section 2 of Section 87 posits that the procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for various elective positions shall be by direct or indirect primaries. While sub section 3 states that a political party that adopts the direct procedure shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the party. While sub section 4 posits that a political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidates shall adopt the procedure proscribed below (a) In the case of nominations of the Presidential candidate, a political party shall (i) hold a special presidential convention in the Federal Capital Territory or any other place within the Federation that is agreed by the National Executive Committee of the party where delegates shall vote for each of the aspirants at the deslqnated centre, and (ii) the aspirant with the highest number of votes at the end of voting, shall be declared the winner of the Presidential primaries of the political party and the aspirant name shall be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the candidate of the party; (b) in the case of nomination to the positions of Governorship candidate, a political party shall, where it intends to sponsor candidates- (i) hold a special congress in the State Capital with delegates voting for each of the aspirants at the congress to be held on a specified date appointed by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, and (ii) the aspirant with the highest number of votes at the end of the voting shall be declared the winner of the primaries of the party and the aspirant’s name shall be forwarded to the Commission as the candidate of the party, for the particular State; (c) in the case of nomination to the position of a candidate to the Senate, House of However, unlike in the past, the responsibility for the screening of candidates rests on the political parties. As a matter of fact, by Section 31(1) of the Electoral Act (as amended), states once a political party submits its list of candidates to INEC, in accordance with the statutory stipulations, INEC does not have the power to reject or disqualify candidates for any reason whatsoever. Thus, it is expected that the leadership of each political party carry out diligent verification of her candidates’ credentials, apart from integrity and fitness into the manifesto of the party criteria. Where a political party fails in the screening of the candidates and presents an unqualified candidate, the sanction is not only disqualification but also penalty of N500,000, which the Supreme Court probably forgot to impose on the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Bayelsa case. In the circumstance of this nature, therefore, rather than the ranting and unremarkable volte-face of the all-knowing national chairman of the ruling party, Adams Oshiomhole, who few weeks ago was full of praises for the Supreme Court after its decision on the Imo State governorship election, one would have expected the party to embark on a careful postmortem of its process that led to the presentation of the unqualified candidate in Bayelsa, even after the Federal High Court’s verdict. That this is not happening is not only shocking, as the party leadership has decided to play the ostrich by hiding its head in the  shame. The APC In Zamfara State was divided into two factions one led by the former Governor Abdulaziz Yari and the other led by Senator Kabiru Marafa who were locked in the battle for supremacy. The war of attrition dragged on for so long and it would later turn out to be the party’s albatross. The only substitute for the rule of law is the rule of man. The import of the latter is anarchy and, as put by Thomas Hobbes, it is a return to the state of nature, where life becomes nasty, brutish and short, with the strong devouring the weak. From the candidate nomination angle, the Constitution of Nigeria, the Electoral Act, the party constitution, both the INEC and party guidelines govern the nomination process. These instruments bind all members of the party, including the leadership, as held by the Supreme Court in an avalanche of cases. It is when the Supreme Court now does its job by enforcing the compliance with the instruments that politicians commence their shenanigans. As conventional with our people, particularly politicians, they search for where to deposit the blame. It is never in their character to be humble enough to admit their faults. Again, we must remember that building institutions, much more, strong institutions, largely depends on the upholding of the rule of law. The party itself will continue to be weak until it collapses except the rule of law is respected. A party is a conglomeration of people and not the exclusive preserve of one man or a few. It is in order to eliminate conflicts and build an enduring institution that the constitution exists. No act or omission must be taken outside the confines of the constitution. As the Supreme Court rightly admonished in the case of PDP v. Sherrif [2017] 15 NWLR (Part 1588) 219 at 287, para. B, (per I. T. Muhammad, JSC) that: “Where a member or members of the party feel too powerful to be governed or controlled by the party constitution or guidelines, and in contravention of such control mechanisms, then, certainly, democracy is thrown overboard by anarchy.” Section 235 of the Constitution makes the Supreme Court the final court in the land and whoever does not agree with its decision can appeal to God. Section 235 of the Constitution provides and I quote “that without prejudice to the powers of the President or of the Governor of a State with respect to the prerogative of mercy, no appeal shall to any other body or person from any determination of the Supreme Court. But believing the Supreme Court Justices are human beings and therefore infallible, and are liable to make mistakes, when can they reverse themselves? When the Supreme Court May Set Aside Its Own Judgement* *Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc v L. G. C. Ltd (2020) 2 NWLR (Pt. 1707) 1 @ 17* , the Supreme Court per Abba Aji,JSC held inter alia that the Supreme Court has the power to set aside its Judgement,and rehear same under the following circumstances: 1. Where there is a clerical mistake in the Judgement or Order; 2. Where there is an error arising from an accidental slip or omission; 3. Where there arises the necessity for carrying out its own meaning and to make its intention plain; 4. Where any of the parties obtained judgement by fraud or deceit; 5. Where such a decision is a nullity; 6. Where it is obvious that the Court was misled into giving the decision under a wrong belief that the parties consented to it; 7. When the judgement was given without jurisdiction; 8. Where the procedure adopted was such as to deprive the decision or judgement of the character of a legitimate adjudication; 9. Where the writ or application was not served on the other party, or there is denial of fair hearing; 10. Where the decision/judgement is contrary to public policy and will perpetuate injustice. From the forgoing on when the apex court can review its judgment, the APC application for the review of the Zamfara State governorship,State house of Assembly ,and National Assembly  elections . The decision is frivolous as it is a case of a self inflicted injury, the Oshomole led leadership of the party should take the blame for the party’s misfortune and they should accept it in good faith and stop trying the apportion blames where it does not belong. From the forgoing the Zamfara State does not fall into cases where the Supreme Court could be called upon to  revisit its decision.

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