The Supreme Court has received the records of proceedings at the lower courts in relation to the appeal filed by Zamfara State’s governor-elect, Mukhtar Idris and 37 others, against the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Sokoto.
The compilation and transmission of records by an appellant and the receipt of such records by the Supreme Court are major requirements for a competent appeal.
The Court of Appeal in Sokoto had, in judgment some weeks ago, faulted the primary elections conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state prior to the last general elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), acting on the Appeal Court’s judgment, has failed to issue a certificate of return to Idris (the governor-elect) and others, who are also members of the APC, elected to the state’s House of Assembly.
Idris and others are, by their appeal, seeking among others, the setting aside of the judgment by the Appeal Court in Sokoto.
It was learnt that, although the records of appeal have been received at the Registry of the Supreme Court, a date it yet to be set for the hearing of the appeal.
It was gathered that parties to the appeal are required to file, serve and exchange their various briefs of argument before a date could be set for the hearing of the appeal.
A senior court official informed The Nation that in view of the urgency involved, the case being election-related, the court could be moved to abridge time.
The official said that the court may abridge the time for parties to file and serve their processes because of the nature of the case and the urgency involved.”
Idris and others had last week, written to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, drawing his attention to the notice of appeal filed at the Supreme Court.
In the letter dated April 2, 2019, authored by their lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), Idris and others argued that the judgement by the Court of Appeal in Sokoto contained no positive or direct order.
Idris and others added that, even if there was an order arising from the judgement, they, under the law, are entitled to 21 days within which to appeal, therefore, putting the judgement in abeyance, until after the expiration of the 21days.
They argued that, as it relates to the current case, their party (APC Zamfara) still has 21days existing along with their constitutional right of appeal.
Part of the letter reads: “It is worthy of note that the purported judgement of the Court of Appeal, has no any positive or direct order.
“But, assuming there is even a court order arising from the said judgement, we still have 21 days within which to appeal, thus, putting into abeyance the said judgement until after the laps of the said 21days.
“In the case at hand, the parties still have 21days existing side by side with their constitutional right of appeal.
“Finally, we urge INEC to abide fully with the provision of Section 143 of the Electoral Act by releasing the certificate of return to Zamfara State governor-elect as well as all the state members-elect.”
They argued that it is the provision of Section 143(1) of the Electoral Act that: “If the election tribunal or the court, as the case may be, determined that a candidate returned and elected was not validly elected, then, if notice of appeal against that decision is given within 21day from the date of the decision, the candidate returned as elected shall, notwithstanding the contrary decision of the election tribunal or the court, remain in office pending the determination of the appeal.”