NIGERIA- Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Yakubu Mahmood, has issued Certificate of Return to Zamfara State Governor-elect, Bello Matawalle; his deputy, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau; and members of the National Assembly-elect, following the Supreme Court judgment which declared candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party winners of the elections held in Zamfara State.
At the event which took place at the Electoral Institute and attended by over 500 political allies, Matawalle commended President Muhammadu Buhari for refusing to interfere in the legal issues of the All Progressives Congress which culminated in the PDP victory.
On his own, INEC chairman Yakubu said, “I want to reiterate the importance of conducting proper primaries before elections in order to reduce the spate of litigation associated with them.
“At the moment, there are 809 pre-election cases pending in various courts across the country, challenging the conduct of primaries by political parties for the 2019 general elections.
“This is clearly more than the total number of petitions currently before the various election petition tribunals nationwide challenging the outcome of the main elections.
“In our last update, the Commission reported that 25 certificates of return had been withdrawn and issued to persons declared winners by courts of law.
“Since then, three more certificates have been withdrawn by court order. With the Zamfara case, the figure has now risen to 64.
“In addition, the Commission is studying nine more judgements we were served in the last one week in which primary elections conducted by different political parties were upturned by the courts.”
The INEC chairman said the Zamfara example was not the first pre-election case determined by the Supreme Court arising from the recent party primaries.
He said, “Earlier, the apex court had determined the case of Lere Federal Constituency in Kaduna State, which the Commission had already complied with and issued the Certificate of Return to the winner.
“It is therefore important to continue to emphasise to our political parties their obligation to conduct credible primaries for the nomination of candidates.”