More trouble for Zamfara APC as Marafa backs INEC to retain ban on primaries

More trouble for Zamfara APC as Marafa backs INEC to retain ban on primaries

- The issue of the APC primaries in Zamfara has continued to brew controversies between the national leadership of the party and INEC

- Whereas, INEC has maintained that the state chapter of the party has lost its right to conduct primaries, its leadership is insisting that candidates in the state emerged through consensus

- Moreover, a governorship aspirant in Zamfara, Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa, has backed INEC in saying that there was no primaries in the state

Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa, a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara state, has said that, contrary to claims, the party did not conduct any primary election or agreed on consensus candidates for the various elective offices.

The senator's position was in contrast to that of Governor Abdulaziz Yari of the state who claimed primaries were held, Daily Trust reports.

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However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on Tuesday, October 9, in a letter to the party's national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, stated that the party had been banned from conducting primaries due to its failure to meet its deadline for the polls (Sunday, October 7).

Yet, responding to INEC, Oshiomhole said that the party’s candidates in the state emerged through consensus.

On his part, Marafa on Thursday, October 11, backed INEC at a press conference at the National Assembly (NASS).

The senator said: “I want to believe the chairman (Oshiomhole) was being misled by the APC electoral committee that went to Zamfara.

“But as a stakeholder who was present and witnessed the whole process that happened, there was no election in Zamfara on Saturday October 7, 2018.

“Also, there was no consensus from anybody or by anybody. So, the election committee reported in the contrary.”

But according to the revelation by sources in Abuja and Zamfara, the consensus arrangement had wanted Marafa, who is a top aspirant for the governorship seat, to forfeit the race and return to the Senate instead.

The idea also required that Mukhtar Idris, who is the preferred choice of Governor Yari, also shelves the ambition and that a former governor, Mahmud Shinkafi or Dauda Lawan Dare emerge as consensus candidate.

But an informant close to Deputy Governor Ibrahim Wakkala, who is also in the race, said they heard of the development but were not comfortable with it. The source said:“We also heard that Governor Yari would simply go to the Senate but we feel there are so many issues that must be addressed for the various offices.”

Marafa informed newsmen on Thursday that he was still a member of the APC, but that if the party did anything wrong, he would not hesitate to point it out.

He said: “If the party has any way within the law to fill in any candidate, I will be happy, but not when the issues are based on a wrong foundation. So, let us address the issues the way they are,” he said.

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“So, by and large, the only thing I saw wrong in the letter is the assertion that there was a consensus. There was no consensus. We are gubernatorial aspirants but some people stepped down.

“For the remaining five aspirants, there was no consensus till the end of the exercise. The truth of the matter is that the APC electoral committee tried to achieve a consensus among the aspirants for the governorship and senatorial aspirants, but the two factions of the party could not agree.”

Earlier, reported that not less than four hours to the deadline given by INEC to end primary elections, Yari had given a directive to commence the polls in a bid to avoid punishment by the body.

The governor maintained that he would not afford to lose candidates of various position in the state, Nigerian Tribune reports.

Earlier, there was unrest as aspirants of the APC had hindered effort to produce 2019 governorship and National Assembly candidates as a result of crisis within the party in the state.

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