12th October, 2018
Sen. Kabir Marafa (APC/Zamfara Central), has said that there was neither election nor consensus in the botched All Progressives Congress (APC), primaries in Zamfara.
Marafa was responding to claims by the APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, that the party arrived at a consensus in Zamfara before the Oct. 7 deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
INEC had written to the APC conveying its decision to bar the party from fielding candidates in Zamfara in the 2019 general elections, citing its failure to meet the deadline for the conduct of primaries.
Responding through a letter dated Oct. 10, Oshiomhole had told the commission that although party members bickered over the conduct of the primaries, they arrived at a consensus.
But Marafa, who was a governorship aspirant in the primaries, disagreed with the APC chairman, saying that Oshiomhole might have been misled by the committee sent to conduct the exercise.
“The only thing I saw wrong in the letter is the assertion that there was consensus among the aspirants during the primaries.
“The governorship ticket had nine aspirants. I recall that four withdrew, but there was no consensus among the five left, until the close of primaries by 7 p.m.
“The primary election committee really tried to bring about consensus, but the two factions of the state chapter of the APC could not agree.
“What I am saying is that if you force any consensus or say there was one, there is going to be revolt.
“An aspirant forced out of the race on the ground of consensus has the right to go to court and contest that claim. I don’t want to see that happen.”
Marafa said that if APC had the legal backing to field a candidate in Zamfara without election or consensus, it should go ahead, otherwise the party should explore other options.
He said that INEC, in its letter to the party, cited relevant provisions of the Electoral Act as the basis of its decision to bar the APC in the state.
He pointed out that any argument over the commission’s decision should be based on what the law says regarding the situation in Zamfara.
“So, if APC has the right to field candidates without these two issues, so be it; we should be allowed to field candidates.
“But, if we cannot, because of these two issues, then that means we cannot.
“Any attempt to make it look otherwise will only put the party in a more precarious situation, which I think is avoidable.
“So, if we are not allowed to do it, then we will look at other options. Those that don’t have other options can stay around for another four years,” he added.
Marafa, however, refused to disclose the “other options” available to him.
“I will keep the options close to my chest until the right time,” he said.