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
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.
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
Deputy Governor of Imo Eze Madumere
Senator Kabiru Marafa
Alhaji Dauda Lawal
Governor Rochas Okorocha
Governor Muhammadu Jibrilla
Governor Abdulaziz Yari