Reacting to the Commission’s decision to bar it from nominating candidate in Zamfara State, the party said it would go ahead to submit list of candidates
Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would not field any candidate for elective offices in Zamfara State in the 2019 general elections.
This disclosure was made by the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the electoral body in Abuja.
Speaking on the sideline of the ongoing three-day validation workshop on the study on the cost of election in the ECOWAS region, on Monday, the INEC boss insisted that nothing has changed from its earlier decision.
“On Zamfara, nothing has changed. We have said it and we have earlier issued a statement on the position of things and that still remains our position.”
INEC had earlier written, notifying the ruling party of its inability to conduct primaries for the 2019 polls in accordance with the Commission’s approved timeline of October 7, nothing that the party had denied itself the opportunity to be part of the elections in the state.
However, the APC in its reply to the Commission, noted that it could not conduct primary election in Zamfara because the party settled for a consensus candidate.
Reacting yesterday to the insistence by the INEC’s chairman that the Commission stands by its decision to bar it from nominating any candidate in Zamfara State, the party said it would go ahead to submit list of candidates.
National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu told newsmen that the party would meet all requirements for the submission of candidates in Zamfara State.
“INEC cannot say that we don’t have candidates for election until the deadline has expired.
“We have options of consensus, direct and indirect primaries and we are going to apply like we have done in other states, our energies, time and concerns to pick our candidates.
“I can assure you that before the October 18 deadline, we are going to meet all INEC requirements and we are going to submit names of all the candidates for not only Zamfara State but also for all the 36 states and the FCT,” he insisted.
The party spokesman also dismissed the suggestion that APC might sue INEC.
“It is not yet something for the party to take legal action, nothing calls for that. We would not be reacting to what INEC said in the public.”
He explained that after the party got a letter from the INEC, it replied it but was yet to receive a reply.
“We are on the side of the law, we had a primary in Zamfara State. We are operating within the guidelines of INEC and the constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria. We believe that INEC does not have the correct information on what happened in Zamfara and this we have stated in our letter to the Commission.
“They haven’t replied our letter so we take it that the matter remained as it is. We also ask INEC that if they need more information from us, that we will be ready to offer it,” he noted.
He maintained that APC regards INEC as an umpire, adding that it is only other parties in coming elections that needed to complain about how its candidates emerged.
“As an umpire you don’t give the result of a game that is ongoing. We still have up till October 18 to submit list of candidates for the election,” he said.
The APC had been at loggerheads with INEC since last week following directive that the ruling party would not field any candidates for the governorship, national and state Assemblies in Zamfara State in the 2019 general elections.
In a leaked correspondent to the ruling party, INEC had hinged its decision to bar the APC from fielding candidates for any of the positions following the inability of the state chapter of the party to conduct primary elections before the deadline.
In the letter titled: “Failure to conduct party primaries in Zamfara State within the stipulated time frame” which was signed by the acting Secretary to the Commission, Okechukwu Ndeche, INEC insisted that it acted in line with the provisions of Section 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), empowering it to take such decision.
However, the APC in a reply, titled “Re-failure to conduct party primaries in Zamfara State within the stipulated time-frame”, insisted that it settled for a consensus governorship candidate.
The Zamfara chapter of the APC has been embroiled in crisis over claimed by a faction led by Senator Kabir Marafa that the incumbent Governor Abdul’Aziz Yari was planning to impose candidates on the party.