The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday said the All Progressives Congress (APC) is not eligible to field candidates for governorship, National Assembly and state Assembly positions in Zamfara State for 2019 elections.
A letter signed by Okechukwu Ndeche, the commission’s acting Secretary reads: ‘Failure to Conduct Primaries in Zamfara State within the Stipulated Time-Frame’.
“Please refer to the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 general elections released by the commission on January 9, 2018.
“You would note that from the timetable the conduct of primaries is scheduled to take place between August 18 and October 7, 2018.
“However, report received from our office in Zamfara State shows that no primaries were conducted by your party in Zamfara, notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilised and deployed.
“Consequently, based on the provision of Section 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, the commission does not expect that your party will submit names of any candidate from Zamfara State.
“For clarity, our position, therefore, is that the APC will not be fielding candidates for the governorship, National Assembly and state Assembly elections in Zamfara for the 2019 general elections”.
The APC National Working Committee (NWC) had on October 5 dissolved the party executives at all levels in Zamfara, after contentious primaries said to have been conducted on Wednesday, October 3 and October 4.
Yekini Nabena, the APC acting National Publicity, had said that by the decision, all party executives, at all levels in Zamfara were dissolved.
The dissolved party executives had claimed they conducted primaries on October 3 which picked a Yari anointed candidate, Alhaji Mukhtar Shehu Idris, as winner of the governorship primary election, and Yari himself as winner of Zamfara West senatorial ticket, in a primary conducted October 4. The NWC invalidated the results.
The NWC inaugurated a new committee which attempted to conduct the governorship and legislative primaries in the state between Saturday October 6 and Sunday, October 7.
The panel failed to conduct the elections because of the threats by Governor Abdulaziz Yari to call out supporters in protest.
We Conducted Primary In Zamfara, APC Writes INEC
Reacting, the APC on Wednesday stated emphatically that it will present candidates to vie for various positions in Zamfara in the 2019 general elections.
In a letter to the commission, APC claimed that INEC was hasty in drawing conclusion about what transpired in Zamfara and that it was not also given opportunity to state its side.
The letter personally signed by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the party, suggested that the party settled for consensus candidates, having admitted that no actual voting took place on October 7, day of the primary election.
The letter reads, “The contents of your said letter seem to conclude that no primaries were conducted by the APC in Zamfara State. We wish to state emphatically that nothing can be farther from the actual situation in Zamfara State.
Kindly find attached a comprehensive report from the Zamfara Electoral Committee of the All Progressives Congress and signed by all the members on the conduct of primary elections for Zamfara State held between October 6 and 7, 2018.
“The summary of the report, as you will find, is that following the high level of friction, disagreements and threatened violence by various political camps before the primaries, all the aspirants met at City King Hotel, Gusau, to find a truce.
“After hours of intense horse-trading, a consensus was reached within the spirit and context of the Electoral Act and the constitution of our party on the basis of which a list was produced which was confirmed/affirmed by all delegates present. This was done in strict compliance with section 87 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
“Therefore, the claim in your letter under reference that ‘no primaries were conducted by your party in the state, notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilised and deployed’ could only be referring to their observation that actual voting did not take place, which is not the only mode prescribed for producing candidates in the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). We, therefore, affirm that indeed primaries took place in Zamfara State.
“Please also refer to the lNEC’s timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 general elections released by the commission on the 9th January, 2018. By that timetable, all political parties are expected to submit a list of their candidates on or before 18th of October, 2018, after exhausting all internal procedures for appeals arising out of the congresses.
“As a party, we are in the process of exhausting those internal procedures before forwarding the names of our candidates to you. We are perplexed that you did not wait for us to submit the names of our candidates in Zamfara State (considering that the time within which such submission should take place has not elapsed) before raising your observation in your letter under reference.
“This is more so when we received no correspondence from the commission at least to inquire from our party the true state of affairs in Zamfara State, in the spirit of fair hearing, before making haste to write your letter. We, however, note that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not also hold primaries in Kano, but no such similar letter was written to the PDP in relation to Kano State.
“It is our contention, in the circumstance, that your letter is not only preemptive, but your position seem to negate the spirit of any fair hearing and is devoid of legal basis.”
APC insisted that it will in compliance with relevant law submit names of its candidates for various elective positions in Zamfara before October 18 deadline for submission of list of candidates.
“Be informed that in the spirit of due compliance with the law, we affirm that we shall indeed be presenting candidates for governorship, National Assembly and state Assembly elections in Zamfara State for the 2019 general elections before the deadline for submission of such names which has been fixed by your commission on the 18th of October, 2018 and in line with section 87 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
“If you raise further observations after you receive our list of candidates, we shall be glad to clarify them.”
PDP Warns INEC Not To Be Subdued By APC, Presidency
Meanwhile, following the revelation by INEC that APC would not be fielding candidates in 2019 elections, the PDP on Wednesday warned the commission not to allow itself to be subdued by the ruling party and the presidency.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said that allowing APC and the presidency to have their way is a recipe for anarchy in Zamfara State.
Ologbondiyan said, “We warn that INEC must not allow itself to be subdued by the All Progressives Congress (APC). For once, they must not allow any form of collusion with the APC. Because since Zamfara State APC did not meet the October 7 deadline, then it means that they have no candidate for 2019 general elections.
“Our party is aware that INEC has notified the APC that it has no candidate in 2019 election.
“Our appeal to INEC is that it must not allow itself to be subdued by the APC and its leadership, whether in the government or in the party. To do that, it will be a recipe for anarchy in Zamfara State.”
The PDP spokesman further said that the party is aware that APC summoned INEC chairman and the governor of Zamfara, Abdul’aziz Yari, over the issue surrounding the state primaries.