The ruling on Friday of the Supreme Court of Nigeria nullifying the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at all levels in Zamfara State in the last general election, following the failure of the party to hold its party primary according to laid down guidelines and regulations, is a clear example of what happens to anyone who builds his house on a sandy ground without first laying a solid foundation.
The Supreme Court ruling did not really come to many as a surprise as some had reasoned in the past that it will only be a matter of time before the axe will fall on the state APC, because of its flagrant disregard to due process believing it can always have its way.
Despite the grandstanding of the Zamfara State governor, Abdul’aziz Yari, and the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, that the party did no wrongs with regards to the party primary, many knew that if the party could lose out in Rivers State because of the same impunity, whatever had happened in Zamfara with regards to the electoral victory of the party was a case of a house built on quick sand.
So, Friday’s ruling of the nation’s apex court came to many as sweet music to the ear, as they believe time has come to teach people in leadership position that they cannot always do things their own way against laid down guidelines and get away with it.
Many of those celebrating the Supreme Court ruling may not be doing so because they hate those whose victory were short-lived in Zamfara, but because the apex court in the land had the boldness to take such a position against the ruling party, therefore many are comforted that there seem to be hope for the common man after all.
The problem of the Zamfara State APC started way before the general election, as the crisis was self inflicted during the primary of the party to select its flag bearers.
Problem started when the National leadership of the party and the state governor-led state executive of the party could not agree on how the primary election should be conducted and which list of the candidates that emerged from the primary conducted by the state APC and the consensus arrangement undertaken by the National leadership should be submitted to the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), making the commission write a letter to the party that it failed to meet the stipulated time and therefore forfeits the chance to field candidates in the election.
According to INEC, since the Zamfara State APC failed to hold party primaries before deadline fixed by the commission, it was activating the extant laws that empower it to bar any party from the election.
National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, in a swift reaction, debunked the claim that the party did not conduct primaries, saying though party members bickered over the conduct of the primaries, they nevertheless agreed on a consensus list before the end of the deadline.
The problems for the APC started when INEC issued a letter to the party, alerting it to the fact that it failed to meet its deadline of holding primaries for elections in Zamfara State.
In the letter signed by the Commission’s acting scribe, Okechukwu Ndeche, INEC said its decision was based on the provisions of Sections 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
Following that development, INEC said the APC will not be fielding candidates for the Governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly elections in Zamfara State for the 2019 General Election.
But, the APC in its reply to INEC and signed by its national chairman, vowed to field candidates, saying the party arrived at a consensus before the deadline.
The APC also accused INEC of looking away from similar issues that affected the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano State.
However, a twist to the APC claim was that while the Oshomhole-led national Executive Council was insisting that it had a consensus arrangement, the party in the state said it had a primary, insisting that it must be the candidates that emerged from its primary that will be fielded in the election, if at all the coast is clear for its candidates.
While the drama was going on, the State chapter of the APC approached the Federal High Court to try to stop INEC from excluding it from the election, but the court presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu on January 25 ruled that INEC was right to have excluded the APC from the elections.
Not satisfied the APC approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja urging it to set aside the judgement of the lower court and the court agreed with the APC and set aside the decision of the Federal High Court which affirmed the exclusion of the APC from the general elections.
It was on the strength of the Appeal Court’s ruling that the APC contested the election and won most of the available seats, from the governorship, National Assembly to State Assembly,
but the INEC appealed the ruling and the position of the Supreme Court on Friday setting aside the ruling of the Appeal Court and upholding the position of the Federal High Court affirming that the INEC was right in excluding the APC from the election has now turned the table against the party, favouring the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).