Except the new leadership of the All Progressives Congress led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole eases the crisis rocking the party in Zamfara State, the fortune of the party may dip in the next general election, writes Tobi Soniyi
Despite his promises to reconcile aggrieved party members after the acrimonious congresses and convention held in his party, the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole has either underestimated the enormity of the crisis or wished that the crisis would simply disappear or both.
In virtually all the affected states, nothing has been done to ease the tension and division created by the congresses and the convention.
The party’s crisis in Zamfara State can be used to illustrate the post-convention crisis in the APC.
Whereas the party’s guideline for the ward, local government and state congresses allow for consensus, it states that where there is no consensus, elections must be held.
In Zamfara State, there was no consensus during the state congress. Consequently, a faction led by Senator Kabiru Marafa called for elections by writing a letter to the chairman of Ward and Local Government Congress, Dauda Danladi before the commencement of the exercise on Saturday 5th May 2018, and copied the Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Zamfara, the Police Commissioner as well as State Director the State Security Services.
However, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of the state preferred that affirmation be used to elect the party’s officials even though there was no consensus. The governor insisted that there would be no election and went ahead to affirm his candidates, with the active support of INEC and security agencies in sheer disregard to the position of the group led by Marafa.
In a petition to the leadership of the party, Marafa stated that no congress, either at the ward, local government or state level, held in Zamfara.
“Anybody with contrary opinion should produce the evidence”, he insisted.
As a senator, Marafa claimed he was not even allowed access to Gusau, the state capital.
He said: “On the day of the ward congress Gusau was cordoned from 8am to 1pm – no entry, no exit, just to prevent my supporters from participating in the exercise and on the local government congress day, May 12, I was refused access to the venue in Tsafe Local Govt. My personal security disarmed and arrested and I was tear gassed by an overzealous Mopol commander.”
In order to address the injustice, Marafa said his candidates, being the only persons that satisfied the party’s guidelines should be recognised as the bona fide exco of APC in Zamfara state.
He also called on the Oshiomhole-led Exco ‘to look quickly and very seriously into the infractions in Zamfara.’
He advised the national exco to call all stakeholders of the party in Zamfara to a meeting to correct the infractions, stating that if left unattended, “it can affect the party’s chances in 2019 as affirmation will not be done in general election in the state.”
According to him, the grievances can still be resolved before the 2019 polls in the interest of the party.
He stated that while his faction complied with the party’s guidelines, by paying the prescribed fees for each and every contestant, the Yari faction did not pay for its candidates as required by the law.
“Since there is no consensus, we asked for election. Yari insisted on affirmation, meaning he (Yari) is afraid of election. The question is; why is Yari afraid of election? Any politician that is afraid of elections has no business in politics!”
He alleged that the committee sent to Zamfara State for the state Congress was ill-prepared for the task given to it and explained that the party’s guideline stipulates that forms must be obtained (upon the presentation of bank tellers) filled and returned at least 24 hours before the commencement of elections.
He noted that the election committee arrived Gusau less than 12 hours before the commencement of the election on the 4th of May 2018.
“We were given only 1400 forms only as against 4704 forms we duly paid for,” he added.
The committee, he said, had no register of bonafide party members which the guidelines said they should use to conduct the elections. The guidelines also said they should have a list of ad hoc staff (3 per ward) that should be posted to the wards other than their wards to conduct the elections. The committee had none.
The guidelines also required that the names of contestants be displayed in each ward, where elections would be held, nothing was done in that direction too.
Is History Repeating Itself?
Marafa recalled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lost in Zamfara, because the immediate past governor of Zamfara State, Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi committed the same blunder in 2011, when he denied him (Marafa) his senatorial ticket against the advice of stakeholders that people be allowed to elect the candidates of their choice during the primary elections.
He said: “The governor insisted on imposition of candidates, the result was a massive rejection of the then ruling party (PDP).”
Even when the PDP was in control of the federal government, the state and all the local government areas, Zamfara central (Marafa’s Constuency) gave him 203,0000 votes to defeat the incumbent senator that polled 93,000 votes.”
That massive rejection of the PDP by Marafa’s constituency, he claimed, was what made Yari the governor of Zamfara State.
Marafa is believed to enjoy massive followership in Zamfara Central District, which constitutes 48 per cent of registered voters in the state. His supporters are confident that he would win elections regardless of the political party he chooses. They therefore warned APC not take chances otherwise what happened in 2011, would repeat itself in 2019.
A random check in Zamfara shows that Marafa remains popular and can win the election in any party he chooses to be.
His supporters are, therefore, demanding that election be held to determine who is elected into the state exco in line with the party’s constitution
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