Fred Itua, Abuja and Mohammed Munirat Nasir, Gusau
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa (APC, Zamfara), has faulted the protest in Zamfara State, calling for the sack of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole.
A number of protesters stormed Gusau, the Zamfara state capital, yesterday, calling for the removal of Oshiomhole over his alleged lack of respect for the rule of law.
Marafa, in a statement he issued in Abuja, yesterday, claimed the protesters were mobilised by the State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, following his alleged inability to bend the rules to impose his cronies as candidates of the party in the state.
The senator said Yari should be the one to be sacked and not Oshiomhole, who he described as a law abiding leader.
“Yari and his co-travelers are wrong and Comrade Oshiomhole is right as far as the issues in the party are concerned,” he said.
Recalling the genesis of the party crisis in Zamfara, he insisted that primaries were not conducted in the state and that there was no consensus either!
“There was a court order that says all parties should not take any step that would render useless the litigation before it. The party, under the able leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, respected the order and said all parties in the crisis should hands off. The party and its leadership should be commended for respecting the law, a foundation upon which APC was built.
“Two, when the committee of the NWC came to conduct the primary in Zamfara, violence, orchestrated by Yari’s people, erupted and the committee was forced to cancel the election. This is also a valid thing. The position taken by the governor, that primaries should be conducted by the executives in his camp, was irresponsible, contemptuous and the height of lawlessness.
“The crux of the matter is that there was no election, and there was no consensus in Zamfara. So, we are commending Comrade Oshiomhole and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for respecting the court order,” he said.
Marafa said the millions of naira spent by Yari to organise the protest should have been channelled towards securing the release of 17 persons, including two young girls kidnapped in Dauran, Jangebe, Magami and other locations in the state.
“The money spent on the protest should have been used to assist the security agencies in the state to rescue the abducted persons. The governor has stopped assisting security agencies with fund in the state in the last five months,” he said.
Marafa assured that majority of APC members in Zamfara are solidly behind Oshiomhole and the leadership of the party.
Meanwhile, the current crisis rocking the APC got messier yesterday as the Governor Yari-led faction embarked on a protest, demanding the sack of Oshiomhole.
The party supporters drawn from the 14 local government areas converged at the APC state secretariat, Gusau, displaying placards with different inscriptions demanding the immediate sack of Oshiomole as they marched round major streets in the state capital.
Addressing the mammoth party supporters, the Chairman of APC in Gusau Local Government Area, Alhaji Babangida Abdullahi, said Oshiomole had turned the party into his personal estate and doing what he felt like without consulting with the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
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Abdullahi, who is also the Secretary of Forum of APC chairmen in Zamfara state said the leadership of Oshiomole has only brought disunity, instead of unity, among members.
“We distrust him because he is not honest, and we pass vote of no confidence in him (Oshiomhole),” he said.
Also speaking after receiving the protest letter for onward delivery to President Muhammadu Buhari, the state APC chairman, Alhaji Lawal Muhammad Liman, represented by the secretary, Alhaji Sani Musa, assured the protesting supporters that the letter would be channelled to the appropriate body for necessary action.
The feud between governor Yari and Oshiomhole began with the insistence of the APC NWC for the state to adopt direct primary as against the indirect mode which the Yari led APC in the state had wanted to use for the selection of the anointed governorship aspirant, Alhaji Mukthar Shehu Idris, the State Commissioner of Finance.
Another bone of contention is the refusal of NWC to accept the list of candidates presented by the state, insisting that no primaries took place in the state, despite the claim by Governor Yari that the party held primaries before the October 7 deadline set by INEC for the conduct and submission of names of party candidates.