Supreme court judgment sweet, bitter, but victory for democracy, says Marafa
Justice Has Prevailed In Zamfara, As It Should Everywhere In Nigeria, Says Atiku
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC, Zamfara) has described yesterday’s judgment of the Supreme Court on Zamfara APC candidates tussle as a sweet, bitter, but a huge victory for democracy, Zamfara State and the country as a whole.
In a statement released in Abuja, yesterday, Marafa said the judgment, which declared that the All Progressives Congress (APC) had no candidates in this year’s general elections, is a pointer to the fact that no matter how long, truth would always prevail over falsehood.“Today’s judgment is a victory for democracy, triumph of truth over falsehood and redeemer of the integrity of the judiciary.
“As we all know, the APC was unable to conduct primaries in Zamfara State, following Yari’s thuggery and violent machinations. With this, lesson has been served that only strict adherence to the rule of law and due process will take the country to the next level, as being advocated by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
While commending Buhari for not interfering in the matter, Marafa noted: “This judgment has shown that the President is religiously sincere with his non-interference stance on the functions of other arms of government. He has further endeared himself to Nigerians and the world for resisting all efforts by Yari to force him to interfere on the judgment.”
Marafa urged his “adversaries” to take the judgment as the will of Allah and a lesson that only Allah, the Almighty, can crown a king.He also commended the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, for leading the Justices aright, saying the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man.
“The acting CJN and the Justices that delivered the judgment have, with this judgment, laid the foundation for the redemption of the battered image of the judiciary.“I would like to thank the judiciary, especially the Justice Tom Yakubu team at the Appeal Court and now the Acting CJN team in the Supreme Court, the courageous position of INEC, the unflinching support of the people of Zamfara State and my family for their wonderful support and prayers, my well wishers and admirers in Nigeria and the Diaspora for their overwhelming support.
“Judiciary remains the last hope of the common man, therefore, all hands must be on deck to strengthen it,” Marafa declared.
Presidential candidate of the PDP in this year’s general elections and a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, lauded the judgment, adding: “Nothing is as pleasing to the ears of believers, as justice being served in the holy month of Ramadan.”
In a statement by his media aide, Paul Ibe, Abubakar commended the Justices for putting aside the interests of the powerful and upholding the interests of Nigeria and Nigerians, noting: “God first, Nigeria second, must be our priority as trustees of the people.
“When justice prevails, the people rejoice, chains are broken, freedom is multiplied and society is enriched.”Abubakar expressed hope that the Supreme Court and the Justices would let justice have full reign in other petitions that would come before them and that good conscience, fear of God and the rule of law would prevail, saying: “In so doing, they will write their names for good on the sands of time and avoid the infamy that oppressors wish to thrust on them as their legacy.”
The former vice president congratulated Matawalle and the people of Zamfara State, who he said would finally have a government that would address the issues that have made life an ordeal in that state. The storm is over and peace and calm are coming to Zamfara.”
Also yesterday, governors elected on the platform of the PDP congratulated the main beneficiary of the judgment and its governorship candidate in the March 16 election, Dr. Bello Mohammed Matawalle. A statement by the Chairman of PDP Governors Forum and Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, commended the leaders of the party and its teeming supporters in Zamfara State for their dedication, commitment and resilience, which culminated in the party’s victory at the courts.
Dickson, who is also Chairman of the South- South Governors Forum, lauded the judiciary for standing up to the expectations of all well- meaning Nigerians as an impartial arbiter of justice, saying it was rather reassuring and commendable for it to display such a high level of courage and professionalism, especially given the unusual times.
“I hereby congratulate Matawalle on his victory and commend the leaders and teeming supporters of the party in Zamfara for their dedication and resilience.
“This landmark judgment is a victory for justice and indeed democracy in action,” he said.The governor commended the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, for his exemplary display of leadership, which has resulted in several victories for the PDP even during the prevailing circumstances.
On his part, Counsel to Marafa’s faction of the APC, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), described the judgment as a step towards deepening democracy.In a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, Ozekhome said what the apex court has done is “to deepen, widen and strengthen democracy and our democratic precepts,” saying the judgment “shows that parties must maintain internal democracy and cannot whimsically, capriciously and arbitrarily operate outside their constitution, guidelines, the Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution.
“The Supreme Court has redefined our jurisprudence, showing that when a party damages its primaries, it can never reap the proceeds of its illegalities. That is why and how the PDP that came second has today produced the governor, all senators, all House of Representatives and House of Assembly members in one fell swoop.”
A group of political parties, under the aegis of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), described the judgment as “historic, courageous and victory for democracy.” A statement signed by its spokesman, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, and made available to The Guardian, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Certificates of Return to the winners.
It congratulated all the PDP winners and urged the elections petition tribunal sitting in the state to discontinue. “The opposition coalition is excited about the verdict. We view this landmark judgment as historic, courageous and victory for democracy, especially coming at a time when the present administration at the centre is doing all it can to annex other arms of government, including the judiciary.
“We celebrate this judgment, as it raises hope for Nigeria and its people. We are grateful that there are still people in the judiciary willing to do the right thing and defend the will of Nigerians.“Finally, we call on the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, to resign his position for leading the impunity that caused his party this huge loss. His unscrupulous behaviour and unnecessary interferences is what caused the mess that befell the APC and should resign and save himself and the party from further embarrassment.”
Chairman, Democratic Practice and Election Petition Litigation Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), said the judgment is nothing short of a political earthquake or, better still, a political tsunami. “The storm has been gathering since we started our walk on the democratic highway. Today, the heavens have opened once more and it is raining hard on politicians who do not seem to understand that just as you cannot make omelette without breaking eggs, you cannot practice democracy without playing by the rules.
“The courts have consistently tried to impress this on politicians, but they have stubbornly turned a deaf ear,” he stated.Orbih explained that the hammer fell on the APC first in Rivers State and now in Zamfara State, adding that the import of the judgments is that to participate in a general election, a political party must hold primaries in accordance with its rules and the constitution. He noted: “It is hoped that the judgments of the Supreme Court on the APC primaries in both Rivers and Zamfara states will bring to a stop, the reign of impunity in our political parties in Nigeria.
“Those who have ears, let them hear and draw lessons from these landmark judgments.”Also, President of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Mr. Malachy Ugwummadu, stressed that democracy can only be dispensed and practised by democrats and participatory democracy can only be measured by the inclusiveness of the process through adult suffrage.
“Thus, representative government through a multi-party system must be membership-driven. Any outcome outside of a people-led process defeats clearly the very purpose of democracy which is people-centred,” he said. Ugwummadu described the judgment as profound, adding: “It must have been difficult to reach, in view of its wide implications on both the parties and candidates.
“The lesson, however, is that any party that toys with its constitutional processes and procedures does that at its own peril.”
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