Labaran Magaji, an aspirant contesting the All Progressive Congress (APC) Nasarawa West Senatorial District Re-run primary election scheduled for November 12, says the party has postponed the election.
Mr Magaji, who confirmed the postponement to journalists in the Keffi Local Government Area of the state on Saturday night, expressed regrets and disappointment.
The initial primary election held on June 4, 2022, which featured Mr Magaji and Shehu Tukur, raised controversies over the delegates list being used.
Mr Tukur had won the election, prompting Mr Magaji to go to court to seek the nullification of the result.
The Federal High Court in Lafia, capital of Nasarawa state, then granted the request of Mr Magaji by nullifying the election over manipulation of the delegates list used for the election.
According to Mr Magaji, it is in pursuant of the judgement that led the party to fix the re-run for Saturday, November 12, but a late appeal by Mr Tukur forced the party to postpone the election.
He, however, rued how the re-run election was postponed, alleging that delegates, supporters and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials sent to monitor the process were not adequately notified of the postponement, leaving them stranded at the venue of the re-run election.
“The party, through a letter to INEC, indicated they were willing to do the election as directed by the court on November 12, and so delegates cutting across Karu, Keffi, Nasarawa, Kokona and Toto LGAs that make up the senatorial district were all here waiting for party officials to conduct the primaries.
“Earlier, we saw INEC officials sent to monitor but shortly after, they left. We then sought to find out what was delaying the process, only for the INEC officials to tell us that they had just received a letter that the party wrote INEC at the close of work notifying it that they received a notice of appeal from my co-contestant.
“So it is on the strength of that notice of appeal that the party will no longer hold the re-run primary election as scheduled, therefore postponing this election without a new date fixed. This is highly disappointing, and the manner by which they postponed the re-run is not encouraging,” he said.
Mr Magaji added that aside from how the party postponed the re-run election, he was perplexed by the party’s action because, from his experience as a lawyer, it takes an order of the court to vacate another order of the court.
“We were happy when we saw that our own party was making an attempt to comply with a court order only for the same party to rely on ordinary notice of appeal, a mere intention, to postpone the re-run. How can that appeal supersede a valid court order?
“The curious part was that no effort was made by the party to apologise to delegates and party loyalists whose time, resources and energy they have put in disarray with the postponement; instead, the party apologised to INEC for any inconvenience caused by the postponement,” he said.
He then urged the party to arrange the re-run before the November 16 deadline set by the court, adding that the hearing of the appeal can go on without stopping the re-run primary election.
Mr Magaji also urged delegates and supporters to remain peaceful and law-abiding. He assured them that steps would be taken in line with the law to address the postponement of the re-run primary election to ensure it is held within the 14 days set by the court.