Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa (APC, Zamfara) has said the ruling by the Court of Appeal nullifying the primaries of the Zamfara All Progressives Congress (APC) earlier upheld by the Tribunal, has restored hope in the judiciary.
While hailing the Court of Appeal ruling, Marafa insisted that no APC primary election was conducted in his state.
According to him, neither state governors nor state party leaders are empowered by the law to conduct primaries in their states.
Speaking to State House Correspondents at the weekend, the senator refuted claims that he was a spoiler of APC chances in the state, insisting that outgoing governor Abdulaziz Yari should be blamed for bringing shame to the party and to the state.
“The truth is there was no primaries in Zamfara, the world knows, Allah knows, the angel knows, everybody knows,” Marafa said.
“So, even if somebody tries to paint it somehow, somebody will come, a good man will come and restore back the original paint. And the original paint is white. The white is the truth, the truth is that there was no primaries and the Court of Appeal has just done justice to that.
“And I want to use this opportunity to thank the President of the Court of Appeal for an excellent job she did. You know, we were quite apprehensive from the beginning, fearing that we might not get justice.
“But they have done justice to that case and they have made the judiciary proud and the people of Nigeria proud. If that has not been done, I was afraid where we were heading to.”
Continuing he said: “I read their judgement and I was really very proud of the way it was written. That is how judgements are written, not the way the Zamfara judgement was written.
“Unfortunately, he has put all of us, people from Zamfara to shame. Because people are mocking us, asking ‘Is this the Sharia you people are professing?’
“And that is the most unfortunate thing, we claim to be ahead, and you know if you are ahead, you must endure responsibility and leadership. And what he did was, to say the least, quite disgraceful, quite shameful, whatever his reasons are.
“But, I pray, may God forgive him for what he has done, because to us, God has paid us immensely,” he stated.
Asked how the judgement will benefit the parties involved in the crisis, the lawmaker said, “Is politics all about personal benefits? Is it about me? The answer is no. Is it about Yari? The answer is no. It is about the people of Zamfara State. If Zamfara people stands to benefit from that ruling, glory be to God. If Zamfara people are going to lose from that ruling, may God reverse it.”
On the way forward, Marafa said: “Well, there is still one last option left. It depends on what our opponents feel. There is the Supreme Court option. If they are desirous of exploiting that, they are constitutionally, legally allowed to do so. If they are not, so be it. Before, they were dragging us, but we are now dragging them. We are not pleading with them not to go to the Supreme Court. The most important thing that Nigerians need to know is that we are not the aggressors as far as these problems are concerned. We are defending ourselves, defending the people of Zamfara State. So, if there was never a day the aggressors called us for a meeting or anything that we said ‘no’.
“So, the issue like I said, is not about Marafa. If it is about Marafa, maybe I would have been a senator-elect by now. The issue is about Zamfara State, it is about the lives and properties being lost day in, day out. The issue is about the comfort of the ordinary man, who doesn’t depend on the government for anything. All he needs is for him to sleep well, go to farm in the morning and come back home to meet his family.”
On allegations that he was playing the role of a spoiler rather than allow things be since the national leadership of the APC endorsed it, Marafa said, “Is the national leadership of the APC equal to Nigeria? The answer is ‘no’. We are talking about the laws of Nigeria and not talking about personalities. No matter how big you are, you cannot circumvent the law. You cannot break the law by your right hand and then use your left hand to say you want to amend it. You cannot commit a criminality then you will approach the court and say ‘court legalise it for me’. You cannot commit criminality and then hide under the umbrella of party and now say that ‘because the party is going to lose’. Who is party? The people has the party. It is not the Prince in Zamfara, it is not the stones, it is not the land, it is not the roads, it is not the wells or anything in Zamfara State, it is the people of Zamfara State that have the party. So, if the people are disenfranchised, if the people are cheated, we all have a duty to rise up above party lines.
“Afterall, I came to this Senate as an ANPP member, today I’m APC. Most of the people you see today talking as APC, they were something else before. So, it’s not about APC for God sake, the National Chairman of this party, was seen condemning and saying that primaries are not supposed to be conducted by state governors, or by state party chairmen. You can’t just change overnight. I am trying to speak the truth, even against myself. And that is exactly what I did when it happened.”
Asked if he was sure the Supreme Court will uphold the Appeal Court ruling, he said: “Well, there is this thing I always say, some people who didn’t understand faulted me, I’m a Muslim and in my Quran, Allah said Himself that He forbids injustice to Himself. Then He said He forbids injustice amongst us, His creations.
“So, it is a promise that God will never help injustice against justice. So, I have always believe that this God we serve will definitely at the end of the day, because God peace at the end not the beginning. I’m sure most of you here are being paid at the end of the month, not at the beginning of the month.
So at the end of the whole of this thing, truth will prevail, undoubtedly. No fear about that.”