*TEXT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATOR, CENTRE FOR THE PROTECTION OF RIGHTS OF THE CITIZENS (CPRC), AMB. MUHAMMAD IBN AHMAD IN ABUJA ON WEDNESDAY, 25 MARCH, 2020 ON THE NEED FOR THE SUPREME COURT TO RECONSIDER ITS EARLIER JUDGEMENT WHICH NULLIFIED THE ELECTION OF ALL THE CANDIDATES OF THE ALL PROGRESSIVE CONGRESS, APC, IN THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS IN ZAMFARA STATE*
1. Thank you, gentlemen, for once again honouring our invitation. We have invited you here to stress the need for the Supreme Court to return the mandate of the good people of Zamfara state back to the All Progressives Congress. We hope to make this briefing a regular affair until the mandate of APC is returned to the party in Zamfara state.
2. But first, let me use this opportunity to commend all our first responders, during this press briefing and I will like to urge everyone to maintain a social distance and not succumb to panic due to the outbreak of Covid19, while adhering to NCDC, WHO guidelines to curb the spread of the virus.
3. As a rights group, we are disturbed by the way the incumbent Governor of Zamfara state, Bello Matawalle, go about demolishing the homes of perceived political enemies and innocent citizens in the state due to political divide.
We believe this barbaric act must stop and for this we are giving Zamfara State Government two weeks ultimatum to release all detained opposition members in the state or risk legal action.
4. Accordingly, we like to renew our appealing to the Justices of Supreme Court to review its earlier stand and restore the wishes of the people of the state in its earlier judgement which nullified the election of all the candidates of the All Progressive Congress, APC, in the 2019 general elections in Zamfara State.
5. We wish to emphatically stress that having legally been on the ballot during the polls, the court should reconsider its earlier stand and restore the wishes of the Zamfara people.
5. At this point, I will like to state that during the election, APC fielded a candidate, Muktar Idris in the governorship elections who polled 534,541 votes to defeat his closest challenger, Bello Matawalle who polled 189,452 votes, according to the results declared by INEC. If the APC does not field a candidate during the election when does the APC candidate polled the votes from. We are of the view that the Supreme Court should consider the voters who came out en-masse to vote for the APC.
6. I will like to categorically state that ruling against the wishes of the masses is uncalled and will be perceived as a politically motivated judgement and also be termed by the people as (Supreme Court INEC) if the votes they cast for APC in the governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly elections in Zamfara State does not count.
7. We are deeply concerned by the wishes of the people of Zamfara state who voted for APC in all the elections in the state as they are crying for the return of their mandate. Also, the ruling of the Sokoto Appeal was defective because the court erred in granting reliefs which were prayed consequence upon the jurisdiction of the state High Court on election matters.
8. We believe that since the Appeal Court ruled that the State High Court does have such jurisdiction on such judgement, it should not have gone ahead to void the order of the said court.
9. We pray the Lordships to review the rulings and being a court of records, set it aside and give justice to the teeming masses who came out to vote for the APC candidates in the said election.
10. We also appeal to Marafa’s faction of the party to join hands with former Governor Abdulaziz Yari to restore the pride of the APC in Zamfara State.
11. Without prejudice, we like to remind the whole world that the Zamfara governorship tussles were purely an intra-party matter of which PDP was not a party to the litigation and because it was a case involving Governorship primary election only, we are hopeful that the consequential order earlier issued in favour of the PDP would be set aside in the interest of justice.
12. Meanwhile, we also advise the Justices of the Supreme Court not to be deterred on its commitment to dispense justice to all without fear or favour for the greater good for humanity. We want to state that the Supreme Court has the power to review its earlier decision based on the submission of Justice Chukudipu Oputa and other reference clauses of the law.
13. We want to state unequivocally that over the years the Supreme Court has been the highest court of the land and has proven itself beyond a reasonable doubt. Its tenacity to serve as the last hope for a common man and as such deserve more respect from Nigerians and in particular the Peoples Democratic Party.
14. Gentlemen, as a Civil Society group we believe that the Supreme Court will deliver its Judgement base on justice, equity and fairness. Meanwhile, we also advise the Justices of the Supreme Court not to be deterred on its commitment to dispense justice to all without fear or favour for the greater good for humanity and the nation’s nascent democracy.
15. The Centre for the Protection of Rights of the Citizens as a rights-based group perceives the earlier judgment of the Supreme Court as a miscarriage of justice which should be upturned.
16. Thank you for your kind attention. I will now take your questions.
Sign By NATIONAL COORDINATOR, CENTRE FOR THE PROTECTION OF RIGHTS OF THE CITIZENS (CPRC), AMB. MUHAMMAD IBN AHMAD.