S‘Court judgement: Leave parties alone, focus on elections, NNPP tells INEC

The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow political parties run their affairs while it concentrates on electoral management.

Reacting to the Supreme Court judgement asking the commission to accept Senator Rufai Hanga as the senatorial candidate for Kano Central in place of former Kano Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, National Publicity Secretary of the said INEC should not involve itself in who become the candidate of the parties.

The Informant247 gathered that INEC refused to accept Senator Hanga as the candidate, declaring Senator Shekarau on the platform of the NNPP as the winner of the election even when he had left the party.

However, in a judgement on Friday, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of both the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal and directed the Commission to accept Hanga as the candidate for the election

Major said: “Our victory at the Supreme Court was not unexpected because it is not INEC’s responsibility to determine political party candidates. Their responsibility is to engage in election management and not to decide who the candidate ot a political party.

“The truth is that from the beginning, we have never been afraid of that case all along right from the High Court to the Appeal Court and now, the Supreme Court. We have defeated them roundly in these three courts.

“We knew all along that we would win because INEC is not a member of our political party and cannot be telling us who should be our candidate and who should not.

“Remember, the history is that Shekarau participated in the first primary and got the ticket. Shortly after that, for reasons best known to him, he decided to leave the party.

“He wrote to the party withdrawing his membership as well as his candidacy and copied INEC and so, it was like a done deal. We conducted primary that produced Senator Rufai Hanga to replace him and INEC said no. We don’t know why they refused to replace Shekarau with Hanga.

“We felt that there were some political undertone and decided not to let them have their way. We approached the Federal High Court to compel them to accept our candidate.

“We got judgement asking them to accept Senator Hanga as our candidate, but they refused and went to the Appeal court. We followed them there and the Appeal Court also gave judgement in our favour and they went to the Supreme Court abd the apex court has finally put the matter to rest.

“The lesson from it for our people is that INEC should allow the parties run their affairs the way they like. It would have been a different issue if we did not conduct another primary to replace Shekarau. But that was not the case.

“So, it was not unexpected and the Courts have done what they need to do and has asked them to accept Senator Hanga as our candidate. So, they should concentrate on what they need to do as election monitoring body.”

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