The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) winner in the last general elections in Zamfara state.
The commission declared PDP winner in all the elections save for one seat in the State Assembly.
According to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the decision was based on ruling of the Supreme Court.
He consequently declared PDP winner of the three senatorial seats and seven House of Representatives seats.
The commission also declared PDP winners in 23 of the 24 seats of the Assembly with the remaining one seat going to the candidate of the National Rescue Mission (NRM).
Yakubu announced these on Saturday at the end of the second marathon meeting of INEC management team.
INEC had plans to make public its decision on the Supreme Court ruling on Monday but changed its mind at the end of Saturday’s meeting.
Yakubu noted the commission considered other factors apart from just simple majority to declare Bello Mohammed Marawalle of and Mahdi Aliyu Gusau of the PDP governor and deputy governor- elect respectively.
The Commission, he said, will issue Certificates of Return to the new winners on Monday 27th May 2019 for the governor and deputy governor elect, Senators-elect and House of Representatives –elect.
In Abuja while the 24 State Assembly members -elect will receive their certificate of returns on Friday 31st May 2019 in Gusau.
In his update on the matter, Yakubu said: “Following the judgment of the Supreme Court, the Commission has met in two emergency sessions and taken briefings from our lawyers and staff on the implementation of the Supreme Court judgment. While the legislative elections (Senatorial, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly elections) are straight forward to deal with because they entail first-past-the-post or simple majority of votes, the Governorship election is determined not just by majority votes but also spread in accordance with Section 179 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“This means that we had to first discount the votes cast for the APC at the elections and then carefully rework the spread by Local Government Areas based on the new valid votes.”
He further added: ” It is important to provide a background to the legal process that culminated in the Supreme Court decision on 24th May 2019.
“You may all recall the Commission issued the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 general elections on 9th January 2018, over one year in advance.
‘’Among other activities, the conduct of party primaries was scheduled to take place between 18th August and 7th October 2018.
‘’Unfortunately, the APC did not conduct its primaries in Zamfara State within this stipulated time and the Commission duly informed the party that it would not be in a position to present candidates for elections in the State.
‘’Subsequently, various interested parties, including the APC itself, approached the court over the decision of the Commission. Just before the election, the subsisting court judgment at the time ordered the Commission to include the APC on the ballot for the Governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly elections, which the Commission complied with.
“However, since the elections were completed, a Court of Appeal judgment and now a Supreme Court judgment have determined that the APC did not conduct valid primaries for the elections in question.
‘’In its judgment delivered on 24th May 2019, the Supreme Court, having determined that the APC did not conduct valid primaries, said that the votes cast for the party in all the elections in question were “wasted” and ordered the Commission to recognize the runners-up as the winners.
‘’This judgment affects the positions of Governor and Deputy-Governor, three Senatorial, seven Federal and twenty-four State Assembly Constituencies.
Yakubu also used the opportunity to appeal to political parties to learn from the Zamfara APC and ensure proper primaries in the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa governorship polls.
He said: “For the 2019 Bayelsa and Kogi Governorship elections by which party primaries are scheduled to hold between the 2nd and 29th August 2019.
“I appeal to political parties intending to field candidates in the elections to adhere strictly to this and other timelines in the Timetable and Schedule of activities.”