As Sub­mis­sion of Party Can­di­dates Ends To­day: Zam­fara, Adamawa, Imo APC Gu­ber Pri­maries in Fresh Crises

Ribadu, Modi call for can­cel­la­tion Imo APC Restora­tion Coali­tion boy­cott ex­er­cise

Sunday Trust - - FRONT PAGE -

By Fidelis Mac-Leva (Abuja), Shehu Umar, Gusau, Kabiru R. Auwar, Yola & Jude Aguguo Owua­manam, Ow­erri

As the dead­line for the sub­mis­sion of can­di­dates to the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC) by po­lit­i­cal par­ties for next year’s gen­eral elec­tions ends to­day, signs of fresh cri­sis per­vade in the rul­ing All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) as pri­maries in four states are yet to be suc­cess­fully con­cluded.

Ahead of the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions, the INEC had, in Jan­uary this year, re­leased guide­lines and sched­ule of ac­tiv­i­ties, and later in Au­gust, pub­lished no­tice of ac­tiv­i­ties. The timetable had in­di­cated the con­duct of party pri­maries, in­clud­ing res­o­lu­tion of dis­putes aris­ing from them for na­tional and state elec­tions slated be­tween Au­gust 18 and October 7, 2018.

Although the rul­ing APC had con­ducted pri­maries to choose its gov­er­nor­ship can­di­dates in 27 states on Sun­day, Septem­ber 30, the ex­er­cise was marred by re­ported cases ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties, lead­ing to ei­ther can­cel­la­tion or the reschedul­ing of the pri­maries in some states.

By week­end, the party re­leased the list of cleared can­di­dates in 24 states, but there were in­di­ca­tions of cri­sis in three states, namely; Zam­fara, Adamawa, Imo, where the gov­er­nor­ship pri­maries were yet to be suc­cess­fully con­cluded.

In Zam­fara State, the Prof. Abubakar Faki-led Gov­er­nor­ship Pri­maries Com­mit­tee had an­nounced the can­cel­la­tion of the ex­er­cise ear­lier held in the state due to al­leged elec­tion mal­prac­tices.

A press state­ment by Yekini Nabena, the act­ing na­tional pub­lic­ity sec­re­tary of the APC, noted that the can­cel­la­tion was as a re­sult of elec­tion mal­prac­tices. The state­ment read: “The Prof. Abubakar Faki-led All Pro­gres­sives Congress Zam­fara State Gov­er­nor­ship Pri­maries Com­mit­tee has an­nounced the can­cel­la­tion of the pri­maries held in the state due to elec­tion mal­prac­tices, in­clud­ing snatch­ing of elec­tion ma­te­ri­als and re­sult sheets by the state gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, which were taken to the Gov­ern­ment House, Gusau.’’

How­ever, the All Pro­gres­sive Congress in the state had re­jected the can­cel­la­tion and vowed to con­clude the ex­er­cise in the places it was ear­lier sus­pended. The elec­tion was post­poned sev­eral times over dis­agree­ments be­tween the com­mit­tee sent by the na­tional head­quar­ters of the party, Gover­nor Ab­du­laziz Yari and nine other as­pi­rants known as Group 8, on the other hand.

The dis­pute stemmed from the party guide­lines as Gover­nor Yari had ac­cused the elec­tion panel of jet­ti­son­ing the party guide­lines. The bat­tle for the APC gov­er­nor­ship ticket for Zam­fara State had been drawn be­tween the state gov­ern­ment-backed com­mis­sioner for fi­nance, Al­haji Mukhtar Shehu Idris and eight oth­ers, known as Group 8, com­pris­ing Sen­a­tor Kabiru Marafa, the state deputy gover­nor, Al­haji Ibrahim Wakkala Muham­mad, the de­fence chief, Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Mansur Dan Ali (retd), Al­haji Sa­gir Hamidu Gusau.

Last Fri­day, Gover­nor Yari sounded an­other warn­ing against re­send­ing the Abubakar Fari-led com­mit­tee that ear­lier con­ducted the botched Wed­nes­day’s gov­er­nor­ship pri­mary elec­tion in the state. The na­tional sec­re­tariat of the party had resched­uled the APC gov­er­nor­ship pri­mary elec­tion in the state to October 6. But by press time, there were still sig­nals that the pri­mary may not hold as ma­te­rial and of­fi­cials were yet to ar­rive at the polling cen­ters for the ex­er­cise.

There was a new twist to the cri­sis in Zam­fara State over the dis­so­lu­tion of the state party ex­ec­u­tive. While the na­tional chair­man of the party, Com­rade Adams Osh­iom­hole an­nounced the dis­so­lu­tion, the deputy na­tional chair­man, North, Sen­a­tor Lawal Shuaibu, coun­tered, say­ing the news go­ing round that the Zam­fara State APC ex­ec­u­tive had been dis­solved was un­true.

Sen. Shuaibu, who said this in a state­ment is­sued yes­ter­day in Abuja, said the chair­man of the panel can­celled the process with­out ver­i­fy­ing the authen­tic­ity of the skir­mishes that hap­pened in some wards, aris­ing from ac­tiv­i­ties of some thugs. He said the panel chair­man did not show re­spon­si­bil­ity by nul­li­fy­ing the ex­er­cise with­out re­triev­ing

The dis­pute stemmed from the party guide­lines as Gover­nor Yari had ac­cused the elec­tion panel of jet­ti­son­ing the party guide­lines. The bat­tle for the APC gov­er­nor­ship ticket for Zam­fara State had been drawn be­tween the state gov­ern­ment-backed com­mis­sioner for fi­nance, Al­haji Mukhtar Shehu Idris and eight oth­ers, known as Group 8, com­pris­ing Sen­a­tor Kabiru Marafa, the state deputy gover­nor, Al­haji Ibrahim Wakkala Muham­mad, the de­fence chief, Bri­gadierGen­eral Mansur Dan Ali (retd), Al­haji Sa­gir Hamidu Gusau

the ma­te­ri­als as at the time of can­cel­la­tion.

The Na­tional Work­ing Com­mit­tee (NWC) of the rul­ing All Pro­gres­sives Congress had an­nounced the ex­pul­sion of the party ex­ec­u­tives in Zam­fara State at all lev­els on Fri­day.

The act­ing na­tional pub­lic­ity sec­re­tary of the party, Mr Yekini Nabena, in a state­ment, said all sup­posed party fac­tions in the state stood dis­solved by the de­ci­sion.

Nabena said the NWCin­au­gu­rated com­mit­tee for Zam­fara State would con­duct the gov­er­nor­ship and leg­isla­tive pri­maries in the state resched­uled to hold from Satur­day, October 6 to Sun­day, October 7, 2018.

In an­other fresh state­ment few hours later, the APC NWC said it had dis­qual­i­fied and barred party ex­ec­u­tives at all lev­els in Zam­fara State from par­tic­i­pat­ing in the resched­uled APC pri­maries in the state.

The APC act­ing na­tional pub­lic­ity sec­re­tary, in a re­lease, had said that the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion was an up­date to the ear­lier state­ment in which the NWC an­nounced the ex­pul­sion of the party ex­ec­u­tives in Zam­fara State at all lev­els.

Nabena, who said the new de­ci­sion was in com­pli­ance with an or­der of the court to that ef­fect, added that all af­fected of­fi­cers should not play any role in the resched­uled pri­maries.

The state­ment warned gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials not to in­ter­fere in the process as the gov­er­nor­ship pri­maries were

resched­uled for yes­ter­day, October 6, 2018, while the leg­isla­tive pri­maries were fixed for Sun­day, October 7, 2018.

Af­ter a meet­ing be­tween the gover­nors and the na­tional chair­man of the APC, Com­rade Adams Osh­iom­hole, at his Aso Drive Of­fice on Thurs­day, it was agreed that new panel would con­duct the ex­er­cise in Zam­fara.

Osh­iom­hole said the gov­er­nor­ship pri­mary elec­tion was botched in Zam­fara be­cause the process was hi­jacked, ma­te­ri­als were snatched and re­sult sheets taken to unau­tho­rized places. He said the panel led by As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Abubakar Faki re­fused to com­pro­mise in the face of in­tim­i­da­tion.

The vi­o­lence that fol­lowed the botched pri­maries led to the death of five per­sons in the state.

Eight of the gov­er­nor­ship as­pi­rants in Zam­fara State are al­ready work­ing against Mukhtar Shehu Idris, who is the anointed can­di­date of Gover­nor Ab­du­laziz Yari.

Those cleared to con­test the pri­mary in Zam­fara State were Dauda Lawal, Mukhtar Idris Shehu; Brig. Gen. Mansur Ali, Us­taz Ibrahim Mo­hammed Wakala, Sen. Kabiru Marafa, Mah­muda Aliyu Shinkafi, Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji, Engr. Abubakar Ma­gaji and Mo­hammed Sa­gir Hamidu.

How­ever, an aide of one of the gov­er­nor­ship as­pi­rants in Zam­fara told Daily Trust on Sun­day yes­ter­day that all the nine as­pi­rants in the state met last night with the panel sent from Abuja to agree on date for new pri­mary in the state.

In Adamawa State, two of the three gov­er­nor­ship as­pi­rants seek­ing for the All Pro­gres­sives Congress ticket in Adamawa State have re­jected the con­duct of the resched­uled pri­mary as fraud­u­lent.

Speak­ing at a press brief­ing in Yola yes­ter­day, the former chair­man of the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, called for the can­cel­la­tion of the elec­tion re­sults and dis­so­lu­tion of lo­cal gov­ern­ment and ward level party ex­ec­u­tives.

He said the party of­fi­cials who su­per­in­tended the elec­tion at the lower level con­nived with gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials work­ing for Gover­nor Muham­madu Jib­rilla to ma­nip­u­late the elec­tion in his favour.

The as­pi­rants noted that he had ear­lier ex­pressed fears about us­ing party of­fi­cials to con­duct the elec­tion when he rec­om­mended neu­tral per­sons, es­pe­cially mem­bers of the Nige­ria Union of Teach­ers (NUT) or party of­fi­cials from neigh­bour­ing states to con­duct the pri­maries.

“To our shock and amaze­ment, our worst fears were con­firmed as the elec­toral process was com­pletely hi­jacked across the state,” Ribadu stated, adding: “The elec­toral ma­te­ri­als dis­trib­uted at lo­cal gov­ern­ment head­quar­ters were hi­jacked by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and party lead­ers, who went on to fill out funny fig­ures and re­turn them to the re­turn­ing of­fi­cers as re­sults from the ward. In­ter­est­ingly, there is no me­dia cov­er­age of the so-called con­duct of the ex­er­cise any­where in the state,” he said.

Ribadu said he per­son­ally vis­ited some of the wards in Yola me­trop­o­lis on Fri­day, where he met vot­ers anx­iously wait­ing for the elec­toral of­fi­cers, who never showed up. He said that in some parts of the state, vot­ers were kept up to 3am.

Sim­i­larly, Pres­i­dent Buhari’s brother-in-law, Mahmud Halilu (Modi), said the elec­tion did not take place. He al­leged that vot­ing did not take place in most of the vot­ing cen­ters as of­fi­cials ar­rived late night and filled out fic­ti­tious re­sults, which they sent to col­la­tion cen­ters.

“As far as I am con­cerned, the gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion has not been con­ducted in Adamawa State. What we ex­pe­ri­enced in yes­ter­day’s elec­tion was un­pa­tri­otic. Some peo­ple just sat down and de­clared fake re­sults,’’ he said.

How­ever, the Pri­mary Elec­tions Com­mit­tee, led by Ma­jor-Gen­eral Ah­mad Ti­j­jani Jib­rin (retd) had com­menced col­la­tion of the re­sults be­ing con­tested by the as­pi­rants.

It was re­ported that late ar­rival of elec­tion ma­te­ri­als to the wards marred the elec­tion as many vot­ers dis­persed when elec­toral of­fi­cers failed to show up at dusk, but ma­te­ri­als ar­rived some of the wards later at night.

Mean­while, sup­port­ers of Halilu be­sieged the APC state sec­re­tariat in Yola to protest al­leged elec­toral fraud, call­ing on the na­tional head­quar­ters to can­cel the ex­er­cise. The pro­test­ers were later dis­persed by the po­lice.

In Imo State, mem­bers of the APC Restora­tion Coali­tion, yes­ter­day boy­cotted the resched­uled gov­er­nor­ship pri­mary elec­tion, leav­ing Ug­wumba Uche Nwosu as the only as­pi­rant for the elec­tion. The pri­mary elec­tion had ear­lier been post­poned fol­low­ing the claims of vic­tory by both the coali­tion and Gover­nor Rochas Oko­rocha in the botched October 2 ex­er­cise. The Na­tional Work­ing Com­mit­tee had can­celled the elec­tion as a re­sult of a di­vi­sion among mem­bers of the Ahmed Gu­lak­led elec­toral panel and clan­des­tine an­nounce­ment of the re­sults by both par­ties.

While Gu­lak, as chair­man of the com­mit­tee, had re­turned Sen­a­tor Hope Uzod­inma as the win­ner, eight mem­bers of the panel, led by the sec­re­tary, Hon­estly Henry Ida­hag­bon, had an­nounced Nwosu as the win­ner. The con­fu­sion led to the can­cel­la­tion of the two re­sults and the ap­point­ment of Ibrahim Ag­babi­aka as the new chair­man.

How­ever, the coali­tion said they were not part of the ex­er­cise. This was af­ter six of the nine as­pi­rants led by Deputy Gover­nor Eze Mad­umere, had said that they stood by the re­sults an­nounced by Gu­lak with Uzod­inma as the win­ner.

Ad­vanc­ing rea­sons for their boy­cott, the deputy gover­nor said: “This unan­i­mous re­sis­tance not to be part of the cha­rade de­spite the pres­sure mounted on them is a clear in­di­ca­tion that the peo­ple have re­jected im­po­si­tion of un­pop­u­lar can­di­date on mem­bers of our great party (APC) and the state at large.

“It will in­ter­est you to know that six gov­er­nor­ship as­pi­rants out of the nine that par­tic­i­pated in the October 1, 2018 gov­er­nor­ship pri­mary in Imo State came to­gether to af­firm the dec­la­ra­tion of Sen­a­tor Hope Uzod­inma by the elec­tion com­mit­tee chair­man, Al­haji Almed Gu­lak as the au­then­tic win­ner of the said pri­mary elec­tion.

“Fol­low­ing this de­vel­op­ment, the Joint Coali­tion of APC Gov­er­nor­ship As­pi­rants (JCAPCGA) in Imo State wishes to in­form mem­bers of the party and the good peo­ple of our state in gen­eral that ev­ery issue of gov­er­nor­ship pri­mary elec­tion has been con­cluded as the name of the gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date of the party for Imo State has since been for­warded for recog­ni­tion,” the state­ment read.

But de­spite the boy­cott, the elec­tion went on as the Ag­babi­aka-led com­mit­tee con­ducted not only the gov­er­nor­ship pri­mary, but also that of Na­tional Assem­bly and State House of Assem­bly.

Photo:

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari (Mid­dle), Vice Pres­i­dent, Yemi Os­in­bajo (Left) and APC Na­tional Chair­man, Adams Osh­iomole dur­ing APC Na­tional Con­ven­tion in Abuja yes­ter­day. APC

Com­rade Adams Osh­iom­hole

Deputy Gover­nor of Zam­fara Ibrahim Wakkalla Muham­mad

Nuhu Ribadu

Deputy Gover­nor of Imo Eze Mad­umere

Sen­a­tor Kabiru Marafa

Al­haji Dauda Lawal

Gover­nor Rochas Oko­rocha

Gover­nor Muham­madu Jib­rilla

Gover­nor Ab­du­laziz Yari

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