The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) has denied reports in social media that he had asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the elections in Zamfara State.
In a statement by his spokesman, Othman Isah, the AGF said the aim of the social media reports is to confuse the electorate and Nigerians at large and/or to portray the ruling government as insensitive to the electoral process
He explained that he received a letter from a counsel in the matter M.A Mahmud informing his office of the subsisting Court of Appeal decision in CA/S/22/2019 “which effectively upheld the APC primaries in Zamfara State.”
“It is pertinent to note that the constraining circumstances that led to the delay in fielding a candidate were caused by INEC’s refusal to comply with the Zamfara State High Court Judgment which upheld the said APC primaries. INEC had relied on a Federal High Court Decision which nullified the primaries. However, the Court of Appeal decision in reference has now effectively overturned this decision and upheld the said APC primaries,” he said.
“It is also relevant to reiterate the provisions of sections 38 and 39 of the Electoral Act, 2010, which allows INEC the latitude and discretion to extend the time within which a political party may duly field a candidate for an election where unforeseen circumstances constrained such a party from doing so within the stipulated time frame.
“It is therefore our position that shutting a candidate out of the elections despite a subsisting Court of Appeal decision mandating otherwise would lead to a miscarriage of justice and certainly not in the interest of giving all parties in Zamfara state a level playing field. Our letter to INEC is therefore in line with the subsisting Court of Appeal decision as well as Sections 38 and 39 of the Electoral Act, 2010.
“It is at this point mandatory to reiterate that the issue for contention by the parties before the trial and appellate court were in no way and by no stretch of imagination extend to the presidential election which at any rate was not an issue contemplated for determination by the trial and appellate court.