By Temitope Owotoki
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued certificates of return to Bello Matawalle of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governor-elect of Zamfara State.
Matawalle was presented the certificates of return at the Electoral Institute in Abuja on Monday.
Also presented with their certificates of return were Mahdi Gusau, Deputy Governor-elect, the three senators-elect and seven members-elect of the House of Representatives from Zamfara — also of the PDP.
The Supreme Court had on Friday voided votes of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates in the state in the last elections. It ruled the party did not hold valid primaries.
Professor Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, at the event, reiterated the importance of party primaries ahead of elections.
He said there were over 800 cases in court challenging outcome of various primaries.
“I want to reiterate the importance of conducting proper primaries before elections in order to reduce the spate of litigation associated with them,” he said.
“At the moment, there are 809 pre-election cases pending in various courts across the country challenging the conduct of primaries by political parties for the 2019 general election.
“This is clearly more than the total number of petitions currently before the various election petition tribunals nationwide challenging the outcome of the main elections.
“In our last update, the commission reported that 25 certificates of return had been withdrawn and issued to persons declared winners by courts of law. Since then, three more certificates have been withdrawn by court order. With the Zamfara case, the figure has now risen to 64.
“In addition, the commission is studying nine more judgements we were served in the last one week in which primary elections conducted by different political parties were upturned by the courts.”