Zamfara Judgment: Why APC Should Appeal To Supreme Court Rather Than PDP

On Thursday, November 16, 2023, a three-member panel of justices in the Appeal Court, Abuja, mandated a rerun of the election in three local government areas of Zamfara state. The decision stemmed from an APC case seeking confirmation of votes in Maradun local government. Initially dismissed by the tribunal, which affirmed Dauda Lawal as a legitimate governor of Zamfara state, the APC, dissatisfied with the ruling, sought recourse in the appeal court.

The prospect of rerunning elections in Maradun, Bukkuyum, and Birnin Magani poses a significant challenge for the All Progressive Congress (APC), particularly if a gubernatorial rerun becomes a necessity. The prevailing indications strongly suggest that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is poised to secure a landslide victory in any re-run election within Zamfara.

Analyzing the political landscape, The Spectacles conducted a calculation revealing that Governor Lawal had a substantial lead of over 65,000 votes against his APC counterpart, former governor Bello Matawalle, in the March 18 exercise.

However, the total votes to be contested in the three affected local government areas, where the rerun is scheduled, do not surpass 112,000 votes. Prior to the court’s decision, Governor Dauda Lawal had 377,726 votes, while Bello Matawalle had 311,976 votes, resulting in a gap of 65,774 votes. Following the court’s decision, Lawal’s votes reduced to 365,065, and Matawalle’s to 287,121.

This calculation reveals that Dauda has now given Matawalle a margin of 77,944 votes, considering the votes nullified by the appeal court.

The critical question arises: in these affected areas, where the election will be held, can Matawalle bridge the substantial gap of 77,944 votes? This situation does not bring joy to APC members, as the appeal court’s decision has not favored them, signaling an uphill battle in the impending rerun.

If the election proceeds, the PDP only needs to secure 23,000 votes out of the 112,000 votes at stake. Even if the APC captures the remaining 87,000 votes, Dauda Lawal would still emerge victorious. Despite any strategies the APC may deploy, attaining 50,000 votes out of the 112,000 seems to be very possible for PDP.

In light of this, the APC should promptly appeal to the supreme court, seeking confirmation regarding the inclusion of the annulled voters in Maradun. This inclusion is the only potential avenue for Matawalle to secure a direct victory rather than a rerun election.

Considering Matawalle’s potential participation in the election, leaving his ministerial position raises questions about the certainty of victory. Engaging in this political gamble may lead to unfavorable outcomes, risking electoral defeat, loss of ministerial appointment, and potential reliance on federal government goodwill for a new appointment.

APC should as a matter of urgency reconsider their stance, avoiding complacency. They ought to contemplate appealing to the Supreme Court to secure confirmation with the votes of Maradun before the conclusion of the vote count tonight.