INEC declares PDP winner of Gov, Senatorial, House of Reps elections

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• To present Gov-elect, deputy, federal lawmakers-elect certificates of return tomorrow
• Others to follow on Friday

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday declared the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winners of the 2019 National Assembly, Governorship and State legislative elections in Zamfara State.

The party won all the three senatorial seats, seven House of Representatives slots and 23 State Assembly seats.

The National Rescue Mission candidate was proclaimed winner of the remaining seat in the State assembly.

Chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu told reporters in Abuja that the decision was in compliance with Friday’s ruling  of the Supreme Court that voided  the votes of all candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara in the elections.

Yakubu said that following the court ruling, the Commission had met in two emergency sessions and taken briefings from its lawyers and staff on the implementation of the judgment.

He said that the legislative elections were straight forward to deal with because “they entail first-past-the-post or simple majority of votes.”

The INEC Chairman, however, said that “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.

“In compliance with the Supreme Court judgment, the Commission has now determined the winners of the elections in Zamfara State as follows:

He declared that the governorship election was won by Dr. Bello Matawalle of the PDP and Mahdi Gusau as his deputy.

He also declared PDP candidates as winners of three Senatorial Districts in the state which included Alhaji Ya’u Sahabi for Zamfara North, Mohammed Hassan, for Zamfara Central and Lawali Anka winner of Zamfara West Senatorial District.

PDP candidates declared as winners of House of Representatives election in the state were Umar Dan-Galadima for Kaura Namoda/Birnin Magaji Federal Constituency, Bello Shinkafi(Shinkafi/Zurmi) and Kabiru Amadu (Gusau/Tsafe).

Also declared winners of the House of Representatives election were Shehu Ahmed for Bungudu/Maru federal constituency; Kabiru Yahaya-Anka/Talata Mafara; Ahmed Bakura -Bakura/Maradun; and Sulaiman Gumi for Gummi/Bukkuyum federal constituency.

Yakubu also declared PDP candidates winners of all the State House of Assembly 24 seats, except for Maru South won by Kabiru Hashimu of the National Rescue Movement (NRM).

Yakubu said that the Commission would issue Certificates of Return to the Governor-elect and Deputy Governor-elect; Senators-elect and Members of the House of Representatives-elect tomorrow  at the Commission’s Electoral Institute in Abuja at 2pm.

“Members of the State House of Assembly-elect will receive their certificates from the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Zamfara State at the INEC State Office in Gusau on Friday, May 31 at 10am,” he said.

Recalling the events that led to the new development, Yakubu said: “You may all recall that the Commission issued the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 general elections on 9thJanuary 2018, over one year in advance.

“Among other activities, the conduct of party primaries was scheduled to take place between 18th August and 7thOctober 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 24thMay 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 coming 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 29thAugust 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.”

He said it was clear that properly conducted party primaries were cardinal to the proper internal functioning of political parties, the electoral process and the country’s democratic system at large.

“Therefore, political parties must take very seriously the conduct of primaries according to all extant rules, including the monitoring of the processes by INEC to avoid a repeat of the Zamfara experience.

“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.

The Supreme Court on Friday invalidated the participation of the APC in the last Governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly elections in Zamfara.

Justice Paul Galinji, delivering the lead judgment in Abuja, held that the APC and all its candidates that participated in the elections gate-crashed, having not conducted lawful primaries.

He said that INEC was right not have recognised the participation of APC in those elections.

Galinji, therefore, ordered that all the political parties whose candidates scored the second highest votes in the elections and the required spread should be declared winners forthwith

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