APC: Uncertainty surrounds primary as court okays statutory delegates

A Federal High Court in Kano State, on Friday, ruled that Section 84 of the Electoral Act did not prevent statutory delegates from voting.

This has led to controversies on the composition of the delegates that will elect the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress on June 6, 2022.

The National Assembly had last month amended Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act to permit automatic or statutory delegates to vote in primaries. This is based on the interpretation that Section 84(8) only permits elected delegates from taking part in primaries. But the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), refused to sign the amendment.

Subsection 8, which is subsisting, reads, “A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall clearly outline in its constitution and rule the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting.”

Statutory delegates, whom the amendment was seeking to include in the Electoral Act, include persons holding executive positions in the party and members of the party elected into public offices.

For the APC, the statutory delegates include the President, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, sitting and former National Assembly members, serving and former governors and their deputies, National Working Committee members, state party chairmen and secretaries, local government chairmen, their deputies, councilors and party chairmen in the 774 local government areas.

But in a suit marked FHC/KN/CS/137/2022 instituted by an ex-lawmaker, Senator Mas’Ud Doguwa; and two others, Habibu Sani and Biliyaminu Shinkafi, the plaintiffs in an originating summons asked the court to determine if Section 84(8) of the Act bars statutory delegates from voting.

Those listed as respondents in the suit are the Senate President, the National Chairman of the APC, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Abdullahi Liman stated, “That Section 84(8) cannot be interpreted to have excluded statutory delegates from voting at the convention, congress or meeting by Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 20(iv)(c) of the All Progressives Congress constitution, which allows statutory delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting.”



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