•APC congresses held to frustrate president’s re-election bid
Senator Kabiru Marafa represents Zamfara Central senatorial district of Zamfara State. In the Senate, he heads the committee on petroleum (Upstream). Marafa who is gunning to succeed his state governor, Abdulaziz Yari is currently at loggerheads with him.
In this interview, the lawmaker alleged that there is a grand plan to stop President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. He also claimed that some elements in APC want to take over power from Buhari through the backdoor. He spoke with FRED ITUA on this and other issues.
You had a nasty experience in Zamfara during the just-concluded APC congresses. What happened?
There was an incident in my Local Government. The police I believe under the instruction of the state government mobilised heavily to prevent an innocent citizen from carrying out his civic responsibility and that is me here.
On Saturday, 12th of May, the date fixed by the APC for Local Government Congresses, and as a party man and politician, I drove to my local government headquarters where the event was supposed to take place. On reaching there, I met massive security build up comprising of mobile policemen, Civil Defence. Before I left, I learnt the police area commander was there. So I moved and asked one of the policemen where the area commander was.
I was directed to a place. Before I could turn around, there was an APC vehicle. This time, not APC as a political party, but armored personnel carrier. I asked where the area commander was, they said they could not see him. Before I knew it, one of my mobile policemen was manhandled. So I moved forward to ask what was the problem, before I knew it, they threw tear gas just right in front of me.
In a nutshell, the mobile policeman was manhandled, harassed and disarmed. My orderly was equally disarmed. So I tried to ask what the problem is. They were just busy throwing tear gas. But I thank God that did not deter me. I went ahead to carryout what I was there for.
The whole thing is just to stop me organising or conducting my own local government congress. But the beauty of it is that, the world has seen that the state government lacks the confidence of the people. That is why there was that massive police or security buildup. If you are popular and in politics, you don’t need any security agent to help you organise your own.
The inspector is still held in Gusau. The commissioner of police and the mobile commander effected the arrest. I learnt that it was the mobile commander in charge of that. I’m not a policeman, but I’m still asking questions to find out what the implication of what they had done.
For them to disarm the mobile policeman and the orderly that were attached to me, I think, it is criminal. This is because the intent was to expose me to harm. If not because the gathering that was there is for Marafa, only God knows what would have happened. This inspector did nothing criminal. He was on his lawful duty. He was assigned to me by the IGP in view of the problems in Zamfara and the position I have taken. I applied to the IGP and he was legally given to me. For somebody to just come and disarm him in the middle of a programme, it speaks volumes especially from officers that have failed to carryout their constitutional responsibilities.
What do you think was their intention?
I would not know their intention because I’m not God, but my deductions are that, first, the state government has lost popularity and touch with the people. So they are afraid of elections. What I simply asked was that let these congresses be conducted as and how it is being dictated. Let us follow our guidelines.
That was what I asked for. What does the guideline say? This is how the ward congresses should hold. This is how the local government should go. This is how the state should go. Why the massive buildup of security? If you had done the right thing, just allow it, people will see, people will be the judges too. So why are you building this massive security around the place? The whole essence I don’t know. It was aimed at either embarrassing me or intimidating me and that is not possible because that cannot stop me from defending my right. Possibly, maybe they wanted me harmed, but God protected me and that is the most important thing. It is not the police around me that protect me. It is just a precaution.
What happened in your constituency was not an isolated case. It was replicated in other places. What does this mean for APC?
For me, this is my own personal opinion. After looking at the whole congresses, the way it started, you know what the party did and everything. To me, there is a massive conspiracy against the party and against the leader of the party. That is the president of the country. Because here we are, a party that is organising a congress. If you look at the first scenario, some people just came up with the idea of one year extension for the members of national working committee. The president was advised that that extension was illegal and it will portend a serious problem to the success of the party.
The president put his feet down and said we should go for elective congresses or consensus where possible. The party came up with guidelines on how these congresses should be conducted, but the same party that produced these guidelines, they were the first people that broke the rules. In one of the clauses in the guidelines, they said forms should be filled and returned within 24 hours. But the working committee of APC, didn’t even meet the committees until Thursday evening. The committees started going to their stations on Friday. They said, if you are desirous of contesting, pay your monies into an account. They gave seven accounts. People were asked to pay, collect forms and return it 12 hours before elections.
Now, two things they did. They didn’t give the committees the forms to go to the state with. There was no clear 24 hours to collect the form, fill it and return it. The whole thing, it was a kind of sabotage. They knew that this thing will be rancorous. They knew that there will be parallel congresses, and a set of executives will be established for each state. The whole thing comes to just one thing- another sabotage.
Like in Zamfara now, we had parallel congresses. We now have two sets of executives, one by the state government and one by me. I have followed due process from the beginning until where we are now. Now, the state government didn’t. But because they have security apparatus at their disposal, they used it to show the world they are this, they are that. That is not the issue. Now the NWC like I said when I appeared before the appeal committee, I have submitted to the appeal committee full documentation of everything now they will rule.
The final arbiter is the working committee of the party. They are also not too confident. They will look at these things because as far as I’m concerned, there are some people among them that are desirous of scuttling these processes thereby endangering the electoral success of APC.
They may rule against me for instance. One thing I’m sure of is that the court will rule in my favour. So, take this scenario and put it in several states. If these states, maybe more than half of the total delegates that will vote in any convention, maybe the presidential candidate will be determined. After the primary election there are going to be pre-election cases in different courts and the courts will definitely do the needful because when you look at the massive evidence against everything, there is just nothing.
The governors didn’t even comply with this provision of the guideline to pay monies into the accounts. They were simply allocated forms. I paid. My people paid. I have my receipts. I have everything. To me, this is my own opinion. There are people out there who had long concluded that they cannot beat the president in normal elections. What they are looking for is a technical knockout. They want to plan something that could be challenged in court. That will nullify any election, God forbid. Unless the party does what is right, unless the leaders at the top look at these things eyeball to eyeball, there is going to be a problem.
Did INEC supervise the elections of your faction?
INEC is an umpire. They just look at everybody and they have the guidelines. That is what INEC does. Who complied with the guideline. What did you do in your own place? There is what they call ward and local government congress committees that are sent by the party. Now, this committee was dead on arrival. My candidates emerged unopposed because they were the only candidates that fully satisfied the provision of the APC guidelines and that is the foundation.
You cannot build on the stand. Anything put on top of that will collapse. These things are likely going to be challenged in court and the courts are going to rule in favour of those that followed due process. I intend to protest what happened in my place to the highest authority in the country. This is a state that is suffering from incessant security challenges. This is quite unfortunate and I am going to challenge or write petitions against the commissioner of police of Zamfara and the mobile commander for disarming my personnel who was lawfully on duty.
The police was approved for me. I will make sure that this inspector that is detained is set free. He is still being detained in
Gusau for doing nothing. People move around in the state freely with automatic rifles. They have not arrested anybody, but an innocent colleague of theirs was molested in my presence. This is quite unfortunate. Nigeria is not a banana republic. We have laws in this country and must be respected. People that have failed in their primary responsibility of protecting the people should be questioned. The people are disarmed while the bandits are being armed daily and nobody is doing anything.