Mohammed Munirat Nasir, Gusau
Less than five hours to 12 midnight deadline for completion of party primaries by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Abdul’aziz Yari Zamfara State, on Sunday, ordered his loyalists in the All Progressives Congress (APC) chapter of the state to vote in legislative primaries; to avoid disqualification of aspirants.
INEC’s deadline for completion of party primaries into elective offices for the 2019 general election ended, on Sunday, October 7.
Thereafter, Finance Commissioner, Mukhtar Idris, was announced as winner of the primary which held at the APC secretariat in Gusau, the state capital.
Idris is Governor Yari’s preferred candidate for the governorship election.
All the APC primaries conducted in the state for the 2019 elections ended on rancorous notes.
This made the leadership of the ruling party to dissolve the state executive committee and set up a new panel to conduct fresh primaries.
After raising the panel, the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) expressed confidence that the APC in the state would meet the October 7 deadline.
As at Sunday, Zamfara APC did not have governorship, state and National Assembly candidates for 2019 as the APC NWC panel could not conduct any election in the state.
While dissolving the state exco, the NWC warned Governor Yari not to interfere in the primaries but the governor dismissed the NWC’s action, and accused the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, of working against the interest of the state.
He also asked the NWC panel not to visit Zamfara for another election, saying he and his followers would resist them.
Despite Governor Yari’s threat, the panel visited the state, on Sunday, but supporters of the governor and Sen. Kabir Garba Mafara, a governorship aspirant, clashed and this prevented elections from holding.
Meanwhile, governorship aspirant in the state, Sen. Kabir Garba Mafara, described the governor’s directive, on Sunday evening, as an invitation to anarchy.
In his reaction, Sen. Marafa said asking party members to conduct the primaries, without moderators from the national secretariat, could have led to anarchy.
“It is unfortunate that the governor, after deliberately frustrating the conduct of the exercise, will ask the people to conduct the exercise themselves.
“This is an invitation to anarchy and we will never be part of any illegality, aimed at pushing the state into anarchy.
He said Governor Yari’s action of conducting illegal primaries and announcing such results without the approval of the National Working Committee (NWC) is not only act of gross irresponsibility but a treasonable offence.
According to Sen. Marafa, “The NWC should declare his actions as such, expel him and all the people so announced from the party.
“This will serve as a deterrent to others that may contemplate taking similar steps in the future”, he said.
The senator added that, by Governor Yari’s action, he has deprived the party the opportunity to field candidates in the upcoming general election.
Marafa, who is also chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), urged party members to stay calm and wait further directives from the party headquarters
At a press briefing, on Monday, Gana Mohammed, chairman of the NWC panel, said materials that were supposed to be used for the elections were still intact.
Mohammed said his committee was preparing to file its report to the leadership of the party.