By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
The senator representing Zamfara Central on All Progressive Congress (APC) platform, Kabiru Marafa, has hinted that the faction of the party loyal to him in the state will hold a parallel presidential rally for President Muhammadu Buhari despite the rally being organized by the faction loyal to Governor Abdulazeez Yari.
Recall that the political standoff between the senator and Governor Yari over party primaries, has resulted in not only factionalising APC in the state, but also inability of the party to hold primary election before the INEC deadline, hence APC will not field candidates for election in the state.
Briefing journalists yesterday in Abuja, Marafa, who is having a running political battle with the Governor of the state over party primary elections to elect candidates of the party for the governorship, National Assembly and state legislative seats, said in the parallel rally which would be telecast live by television stations, Nigerians will be able to tell who is with the people and who are the pretenders.
The Zamfara Central senator also said he will write a letter which he will submit personally to the President to urge him to postpone the presidential campaign rally because of the issues on ground in the state.
He noted that even if the President insists on visiting the state, the parallel rally will still go on even without the presence of the President, saying their aim is to mobilize support base for the President and not an ‘eye service’ like most governors.
At this juncture, he reiterated that Governor Yari is clearly aware that he cannot win elections without clinging to the popularity of President Buhari, adding that even the President is not happy with what is going on in the Zamfara state chapter of APC.
He also emphasized that there will be no retreat no surrender in the operation retire Governor Abdullazeez Yari from and others from politics which he is championing in the state, noting that he (Marafa) does not need Yari’s support to win election in Zamfara.
Marafa, who is the Chairman of Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for maintaining its earlier position on the rejection of Zamfara APC candidates.
Recall that two judgements were delivered on Friday on the matter of whether APC conducted primary election according to INEC guideline or not, and if the party can field candidate in the election.
A Federal High Court presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu held that INEC acted within its powers by refusing to accept list of candidates from a faction of APC in Zamfara State.
The second judgement was delivered by Justice Muhammad Bello Shinkafi of the High Court in Gusau, Zamfara State. Shinkafi affirmed that primaries were conducted and requested INEC to accept the candidates produced from the primaries.
However, INEC on Wednesday, after studying the two judgments, decided to maintain its earlier position on the matter.
Specifically, the commission in a statement by its National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Barrister Festus Okoye said, “the commission has decided to maintain its original position that the party in question did not conduct primaries, therefore, in line with Section 87 of the Electoral Act of 2010 ( as amended), not eligible to field candidates.
Reacting to the development, Marafa, one of the APC governorship aspirant in the dispute, said the commission has done the right thing by maintaining its position on the matter.
“This shows that the commission is not doing the bidding of any of the parties involved in our intra-party squabble. From the beginning, the commission took a weighty but truthful position on the Zamfara APC primaries logjam, despite the fact that our party is the ruling political party.