Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State has said that he believes the two judgments by a state High Court in Gusau and a Federal High Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are not in conflict.
Speaking with State House correspondents in a short interview Friday, Mr Yari said while the Zamfara judgment confirms that the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has conducted primaries, the verdict in Abuja simply says it is not possible for APC national headquarters to insist on a consensus candidate for the state without following “due process”.
Below is a transcript of the interview in full:
Q: How would you react to today’s court judgment?
Yari: Let me start by giving thanks to Almighty God for answering our prayers of seeking justice. You remember sometimes in October we have been struggling whether there were primaries or not in Zamfara State with INEC, even though we believed that we have undergone all the processes and today God did it once again for us by giving us victory. The court accepted that Zamfara APC conducted its primaries and based on the witness presented in court, so we Zamfara people are happy with the outcome and we thank the department of justice and the judges who stood on their ground to ensure that justice is granted.
Q: Isn’t the judgment coming rather late?
Yari: It is not too late. Some of us that were given the opportunity or encouraged by the president to go and seek justice, some of them are still in court. So this victory for today is not late. I can tell you that in the whole country, Zamfara is one of the states that the APC is sure of 90 per cent votes. If I decide today not to go back to Zamfara, you will see what will happen on the 16th of February because people are waiting.
How can a system which has been running since 1999 and just overnight you want to scrap them aside in order for them not to participate in the election? That is unfair.
But let me also thank INEC because there are two conflicting statements, one national and one state. The state INEC went round and conducted the supervision as allowed by law. Unfortunately the INEC at the national did not wait to receive the report of the Zamfara State INEC represented by the REC and they went ahead to give the pronouncement. Anyway, INEC came to court to say they witnessed the APC primary and we secured certified true copies from INEC and presented to the court. That I think is the document that supported the court in their processes to pass the judgment. So we thank God for giving us this victory and we attribute this to justice.
Some people have been saying that the reign of Governor Abdulaziz Yari is over but I believe the Almighty God can give power to whosoever he desires to give it to and he will sustain the power for whomsoever he desires to have it.
Q: But we are aware of a judgment delivered today that is contrary to what you are saying?
Yari: There are two judgments, one is that party has gone to court here in Abuja seeking that they should be given the right to write names and submit to INEC and the judge said what madness, what is the use of INEC, the court judges and the Act? Section 87 of the Electoral Act is very clear. What the party said they were looking for is that they have done primaries in consensus. Which consensus? Let me ask the media people here: when the president, being the number citizen, was given consensus by the APC, they followed due process. In all the respective states, towns, up to ward level, people queued and adopted the president; then finally we came to Abuja at Eagle Square to adopt him. How can you then say you did consensus without following the due process? That is what the court said: how can you approach the court to give you leave, to give you the power to sit down in your office and put down names?.
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