The lawmaker representing Zamfara Central Senatorial District , Senator Kabiru Marafa , speaks to LEKE BAIYEWU about the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress in Zamfara State
T he Independent National Electoral Commission has ruled the All Progressives Congress in Zamfara State out of the 2019 general elections as no primaries were held to field candidates . Is it true that the factions of the APC in the state are now working on consensus candidates ?
I think that matter has been laid to rest a long time ago . I have spoken my mind about it . The INEC has spoken its mind . The electoral umpire has said it will not accept any list ( after the expiration of the deadline ) from Zamfara State and it cited relevant sections in the Electoral Act ( as amended ) . The party equally responded , saying there was a consensus . All I know is that there was never any consensus between anybody as of the close of primaries on Sunday , 7 th of October . I am not a lawyer and I don’ t know what the lawyers are going to argue , but as far as I am concerned, there was neither any primary held in Zamfara State nor was there any consensus list from the state .
I am not against the APC fielding candidates . In fact , that is what I worked for tirelessly . But then , to now put forward any list on the basis of primaries by anybody is not acceptable . I even said , to a reasonable extent , it is criminal . One of the factions claimed that it conducted primaries and I called that a criminal act because nobody has the powers to conduct primaries other than the National Working Committee of the APC , which delegated its powers to the various committees sent to different states to conduct primaries . Only those committees have the powers to conduct , announce the results or cancel primaries . Anybody who does anything in this regard does so in futility because one cannot place something on nothing .
You were once quoted to have said you could form an alliance with another political party if the APC will not participate in the general elections in Zamfara . Have you concluded plans on that move ?
I never said that . Maybe I was quoted out of context . What I said was that people were free ( to form alliances ) . When you say the door of one party is closed , it does not necessarily mean that the doors of other parties are closed . People are free to choose whatever line of action they have . Some might decide to stay in the APC while some can decide to go to other parties and contest if there is room for them .
What are you considering now ?
I have not exhausted this option we have in the APC now . I said I am a loyal party member and I will wait until the party comes up with its final position . If it is based on fairness and justice , and it is within our extant laws , I will abide by it . If it is not , then I will make my position known at that time , whether to accept it or not . I will advance my reasons .
Don ’ t you think that the crisis in Zamfara APC might affect the chances of President Muhammadu Buhari in the state at the presidential poll ?
No , it cannot . My reason is not far -fetched . You could see it from the presidential primary in Zamfara . The first exercise we had was the presidential primary and you did not hear anything from Zamfara . The reason is simple – nobody is opposed to Buhari ’ s candidacy for the APC. There was no rancour . Even though the state government tried to sabotage the process by allocating very small number of votes to the President , you did not hear any opposition because people in all the factions – all of them – are committed to the President . The only complaint we had was that the number of votes were not a reflection of the registered APC members in Zamfara .
Due to the post -primary crises across the states , APC governors are now calling for the removal of the National Chairman , Adams Oshiomhole . Do you think this call is justified ?
I agree totally with the National Chairman , Adams Oshiomhole , that when you say ‘ governors ’ , you are just being unfair . Maybe two governors are against him ; I agree with him entirely . I don’ t know who the other governor is but I know one .
Who is the governor ?
I will not be surprised if that governor goes to any length to pull down the APC . Right from the outset , I have reason to say there are fifth columnists in the APC . There are people who are desirous of pulling down the APC , and they are within the party, and they have been working with the opposition all through to this point to ensure that the APC does not work . This is just an extension of their agenda , because calling for the removal of the national chairman at this point is counterproductive . And anybody who attempts to do that is doing a great disservice to our APC. What Oshiomhole and his NWC did in Zamfara , I am fully convinced , was with a very clean mind and within the limits of what is available to him to work with . That is the rule of law . The APC was founded on respect for the rule of law .
There was a court order that said parties should maintain the status quo and should not take any step that could render the litigation before it worthless . Remember that there was a litigation filed by my faction that we felt disenfranchised in the conduct of congresses conducted in May , in which the state government monopolised everything , using the state apparatus – security apparatus – to disenfranchise us . We went to court to challenge the processes . If any of the factions takes any steps or conducts primaries , then it will render the whole litigation useless because the essence is about the primaries . The court , in its wisdom , said ‘ maintain status quo ’ and nobody should conduct anything . In compliance with the directive, the party did what it was supposed to do . In my candid opinion , they stood on the side of justice , fairness and truth by saying both factions should not take part in this election . The governor , the government, his faction or any other faction should not take part .
I am in total support of what the APC did in Zamfara State. Anybody that is not happy with it is just an opportunist in the corridors of power , using the APC to perpetrate himself in power , and that cannot happen . If you are popular , go and face the people . I don’ t think that the calls for Adam ’ s removal are patriotic; they are selfish and intended to pull down the ruling party and bring about chaos in the party and , maybe, make the party lose the coming national elections . Anybody obscuring that should be dealt with , not only by the party hierarchy or leadership but also by Nigerians . Nigerians are supposed to watch and see . You cannot say you must have your way, you don’ t own the party . Part of the problems some of these people have is that they have never belonged to or operated within a truly national party where all the forces are brought to bear on everybody . They are a product of banana parties where they could bend rules and do whatever they wanted to do. Now they are finding it a lot difficult , very difficult or even impossible to operate in a strong party that is well -grounded , rooted and can take decisions .
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