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Court ruling on Zamfara, Rivers APC shows tragedy in judiciary – Sagay

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Former presidential adviser on National Assembly matters Itse Sagay said court rulings that barred the ruling All Progressives Congress from contesting offices in the 2019 general election in Rivers and Zamfara State is a show of the tragedy in the Nigeria legal system.

“The Zamfara and Rivers State judgments are a national tragedy. We should not allow our legal system to throw up such unimaginable injustice,” Sagay said in a statement.

The Supreme Court Friday upheld the ruling of an appellate court that there were no valid election primaries in Zamafara State prior to the 2019 general elections.

The ruling effectively ended the hope of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of leading the northwestern state for the next four years.

The ruling also affects all candidates of the APC that contested and won the Zamfara State House of Assembly elections.

Also in River State, the APC did not contest in the elections.

Justice Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal high court in Port Harcourt directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to exclude APC from the election and declared the APC congresses and primaries void.

Justice Omotosho had also ordered the commission to remove all APC candidates from ballot papers and other electoral materials.

While opposition parties have hailed the court rulings as a show of trust in the judiciary, Sagay believes the verdicts “are a travesty of justice”.

“This major judicial disenfranchisement of the Zamfara and Rivers electorate should be reversed. I advise the APC legal team to apply for a review of the two judgments.

“The prefix ‘Justice’ preceding the names of Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judges is significant, for it prescribes what they stand for and what they represent: justice!”

Sagay argued that in the governorship election in Zamfara, the APC candidate scored well over 500,000 votes while the PDP candidate scored just over 100,000 votes.

He noted that the APC won all three Senate seats in the state, seven House of Representative seats and 24 State House of Assembly seats and should not be denied their rights to occupy political offices they contested.

“Should the judiciary replace the electorate’s decision and install losers in office?,” Sagay said.

“Could the judiciary not have drawn on the deep recesses of its intellectual capacity, authority and its inexorable commitment to justice, to prevent this undemocratic calamity?”

Sagay opined that the judgments would have been described as ‘shocking the conscience of humanity’ if such was an international one, saying “it shocks the conscience of Nigerian humanity.”

“Now, has justice been served in Rivers and Zamfara states? No! In one case, innocent electorate in their hundreds of thousands were prevented from voting for their party by judicial order,” Sagay said.


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