*We will campaign for you, Marafa tells Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has postponed his campaign rally earlier scheduled for Zamfara State on Sunday.
The postponement of the rally is linked to the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State.


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had also released the final list of candidates for the March 2 Governorship and State House of Assembly election without any name for APC Governorship candidate for Zamfara State.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina confirmed the postponement.


Speaking with State House correspondents on the latest development, Senator kabiru Marafa, said “I am not aware of the cancellation of the APC Zamfara rally; honestly because I was not told. As I said, I just submitted a proposal which I think will serve the interest of our party, the president and our people.


“We don’t have candidates for now because of the political impasse that characterised Zamfara State in the last few months and the president is billed to be in Zamfara on Sunday, Feb. 3


“Because of the rumple between disagreeing parties, we felt it is better Mr President suspends his visit to Zamfara. After all, we are there; we can campaign for him; he knows us; he knows our individual capacities; there is no point bringing all the factions under one umbrella, because once the president is there, if you like the president and you are with him, you will like to show your face.


“However, we feel it is avoidable; but you cannot come to the president with just one single suggestion. So. I just put my opinion across; that if it is a must; maybe the party has fixed Feb. 3 for the visit, then we want to be excused because there is no way President Muhammad Buhari will go to Zamfara and my face is not seen and people will not ask questions and I think it is not fair just to be absent like that.


“We are not doing what we are doing to impress anybody; we have already gotten all the necessary trust and belief from Mr President even if he is not there, we will do the right thing.


“But if the party or the Presidential Campaign Council feel they must be in Zamfara on Sunday, we and our supporters want to be excused and we will conduct our own rally for the president on a different date and we will televise it live on NTA so that everybody can see; so let everybody show his support in Zamfara not to come together and then everybody will be claiming victory that I pulled this crowd; let everybody stand on his own.


“The most important thing is that we all believe in Mr President and we all like him and we will support him and we want him to win; so let us work individually, and Feb. 16, we will all converge on the box and show what we can do but let the people of Nigeria see us individually.” he added


On way forward, he said “The way forward like we proposed before the State High Court in Zamfara that heard complaints from the governor and his side. The governor went to court and said he conducted primary elections, we joined the case and said no, you didn’t conduct elections because you don’t have the right; the constitutional powers to do so; it is not the size of your office that determines what you can do; it is the constitutions that specifies your functions and responsibilities.

“State governors cannot conduct elections, state party chapters cannot conduct elections, so nobody except the National Working Committee of the political party especially our own–that is specifically mentioned in the constitution.


“So, only the political party can conduct primary elections. So, we felt that APC needed to be represented; the people of Zamfara State needed to be given choice and they say variety is the spice of life; the more the variety, the better for the people.


“However, that variety should not just come because a political party feels they must be there, no. Justice must prevail; you cannot exclude some people and claim that APC should not be included, no.


“We asked the court that APC could not conduct primaries in Zamfara not because they cannot or they failed to do so. The issue was that there was a subsisting court order; this crisis started from the congresses that were conducted in April last year; two factions emerged—Yari had his own party executives, I have my own party executives.


“However, the NWC then cleared the governor’s side and recognised it and we went to court that the process was flawed; that we were disenfranchised and we will not agree.


“The court looked at the complaints because primary elections were approaching that time; it gave an order that both Marafa and the other faction should stay away from anything that has to do with party executives at the local level; so what that means is–the NWC only sends a panel of maybe 7, 10, 14 people but we require 441 local staff to conduct the primaries across the 147 wards of the state.


“The first attempt on Oct. 3, we agreed that since these factions will not participate, how do we get staff? So, we said let’s use the Nigerian Union of Teachers(NUT). So, NUT provided the staff but however as the process began and the government saw it was losing, they unleashed mayhem; there was violence.


“The chairman cancelled the elections. On the 7th when they came back, the NUT compromised somehow; they were put under pressure because they are under the state government.


“So, we could not agree on the local organising committee that is the local staff. This is actually what stopped APC from conducting primaries. We now asked the court, the reason why we could not do was because there was no local staff; now that primary elections are over in all the states of the federation, APC can bring in staff from anywhere to conduct the primary election; so we asked the court, mandate APC to conduct fresh primaries and ask INEC to collect the result.


“This is what we did, but the governor and his side did not want that because they cannot face the people in any election.

They know if there are primaries, they will lose; so they now prayed to the court that prayer should not be granted. And the judge in his own wisdom granted their own prayers and rejected that part of the prayer.


“So, we are now before the appeal court to say that Appeal Court should reconsider the judgement and give APC new lease of life; allow APC to conduct primaries; just one day is okay. We conduct primaries and submit the result to INEC.” he said

Mariam Olaitan

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