Barristers & Solicitors
Zamfara: Court sacks PDP governorship candidate

The Federal High Court sitting in Gusau has again nullified the Zamfara State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary that produced Dauda Lawal Dare as the party’s governorship flag bearer.

Justice Aminu Aliyu Bappa held that the PDP has no candidate for the next year’s governorship election in the state.

He held further that, for failing to conduct its primaries in line with the guidelines of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended, the party has lost the opportunity to field a governorship candidate in Zamfara in next year’s polls.

On September 16, the same court nullified the party’s governorship primary conducted in the state on May 25 following alleged irregularities.

However, one week after the judgment, the party conducted a rerun and Dare was again declared the winner of the election.

But two aggrieved governorship aspirants, Dr. Ibrahim Shehu-Bakauye and Hafiz Muhammad, approached the court to seek the nullification of the second primary staged on September 23, citing gross irregularities and contravention of the electoral guidelines.

The plaintiffs, included the PDP; the chairman of the governorship primary election committee, Felix Hyat; State PDP chairman, Ahmed Sani (now late), State PDP governorship candidate, Dauda Lawal and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defendants.

Delivering judgment, Justice Bappa upheld the plaintiffs’ claim and held that the party contravened Section 82 (1) of the Electoral Act following which the court invoked Section 84(13) of the Act and held that the party can no longer field a candidate for the election.

The court also granted an order of injunction restraining the PDP from forwarding the name of the third defendant as its candidate for the 2023 general election on the ground of non-compliance with Section 84 (1) of the Act.

The court restrained INEC from publishing Dare’s name as the governorship candidate on the ground of non-compliance with Section 82(1) of the Act.

The plaintiffs’ counsel, Ibrahim Ali, told reporters after the judgment that under the new electoral guidelines, any party conducting a primary must notify the INEC at least 21 days before the exercise and the PDP didn’t do that.

He said: “In the same vein, any party conducting a primary election must also notify the contestants in that election at least seven days before the commencement of the exercise and the PDP flouted the law. That is why the court ruled that the party has no candidate for the 2023 governorship election.”