▪︎Vows to challenge legality of caretaker committee in court
▪︎You’re a sinking politician, Yobe governor replies senator
The crisis rocking Zamfara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is not abating anytime soon, as Senator Kabiru Marafa, yesterday, said the reason the chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, was breaking even known laws was his lack of basic primary or secondary education.
Marafa, who claimed to have looked up the governor’s profile and could not find evidence of his primary or secondary education, vowed to challenge the legality of his chairmanship in court.
The senator, who alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari was unaware of the illegalities being committed by Buni, said he and others in the party’s state chapter had tried to accommodate their new visitor in the person of the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, but Buni’s highhandedness had made it impossible.
But in a swift response, Buni dismissed the threats by Marafa and described him as a sinking politician.
However, Marafa stated, “APC is in material breach of key laws of this country. That is the constitution of Nigeria and the constitution of the party itself. What they are doing in Zamfara now and what they are still going to do in the name of these congresses is an exercise in futility. It is dead on arrival.
“One of the key elements in this thing is notice, it is very key. Section 85 of the Electoral Act made it mandatory. It says INEC must be given a notice of 21 days. This is the provision of the Electoral Act. The law supersedes the APC guidelines. The Electoral Act comes second to the Nigerian constitution.
“I don’t know where Mai Mala got this thing, but I’m not surprised, because he didn’t go to school. I goggled everywhere; I didn’t see the primary or secondary school he went to. So, I am not surprised. They are operating the party as if they are operating an ‘Omolanke’ (local tow truck).”
Marafa lamented that the Buni-led committee was only wasting the party’s resources and the peoples’ time, adding, “This cannot hold anywhere in the world. But we only join them to show them that look, ‘you don’t have the monopoly of madness.’ This 24 hours notice cannot stand in any court of law.”
Marafa noted that his faction participated in the congresses just to tell everyone that madness was not an exclusive preserve of some people. But he expressed confidence in the capacity of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to do the right thing concerning the just concluded Ward congresses in Zamfara State, like the electoral body did in 2018 prior to the 2019 elections
The party chieftain said he wanted to tell Buni that Zamfara was not Yobe , stressing, in an interview he granted Arise Television, that he sent a direct warning to him that he should let the sleeping dog lie. But he didn’t heed that warning.
Marafa stated, “The essence of this briefing is to tell Nigerians why there is a faction again in Zamfara. Let everyone know that this faction came about because of the way and manner APC national is trying to suppress us in Zamfara State.
“Now APC looked for our trouble, we did not look for APC’s trouble. We did everything possible to accommodate our new visitor (Matawalle) but APC at all the points frustrated us.
“It appears APC national headquarters is at loggerheads with rules and procedures. They want to prove at every point that they are lawbreakers and uneducated. We have participated in the congresses, after this I am heading straight to court.”
According to Marafa, “I told him (Buni) don’t press us to the wall. He has pushed us into the wall. We are going to fight back. Whatever the consequences are and I want the president to know this because I am sure he’s not aware, the illegality Mai Mala is committing.”
Marafa alleged that the APC caretaker committee headed by Buni was illegal.
“It is an illegal committee, it cannot conduct anything. Whatever it does is a nullity and it cannot stand in this country and I am going to challenge him in that and I am going to challenge that in court and I don’t care what anybody wants to say. Mai Mala looked for my trouble and I will give him ten times the trouble he gave me,” Marafa alleged.
He said the constitution of Nigeria as well as APC’s stated that you could not hold an executive position and hold the party position at the same time.
Marafa stated, “Section 17(4) of APC constitution says no officer in any organ of the party shall hold an executive position in government concurrently with the party position. He is an executive governor; he cannot be the party chairman of APC. And if he can, let the court tell us. I’m going to court and I am going to challenge that. Whatever he did from the time he was appointed to this time is null and void.”
Marafa, who vowed to convene a meeting of aggrieved members of APC across the country in order to force Buni to resign.
Marafa’s decision to approach the court may not be unconnected with the role played by the national leadership of the party in the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party.
The APC suspended congresses in Zamfara State due to the leadership crisis especially, following the defection of Governor Bello Matawalle of the state.
Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, Marafa said on October 27, the party wrote a letter to him informing him of the constitution of the Ward Congresses committee with Alhaji Kabir Masari as Chairman, but on November 5, 2020, APC wrote another letter to Masari, directing the immediate suspension of the ward congresses.
Marafa said the party cited the need for further consultations to engender seamless exercise for the suspension of the congresses, which he believed was a good decision.
However, on November 10, he said the party wrote to INEC, informing the electoral body that it had rescheduled its congress in Zamfara State to November 13, 2020.
He said, “This confirms to us that the Mai Mala-led APC, as it is today, is on a mission to destroy the APC, but we don’t care. They have the right to destroy APC everywhere. But in Zamfara, we are interested parties, it is our state and we are not ready to destroy our own house that we built. And anybody desirous of doing so, I think we have a duty to say no, you can’t do that.”
It was against this background that he said his faction and Abdulaziz Yari faction summoned an emergency meeting to decide the next line of action.
Marafa said while his faction decided to conduct a parallel congress, the Yari faction didn’t, saying since they are already in court challenging the dissolution of the Exco in Zamfara, they decided not to participate.
On the possibility of the party imploding ahead of the 2023 election, Marafa said that was not his own making, because he has always been a party man.
He said, “I have the responsibility to be a good son, which I have been in the APC, but when the father or the mother wants to snuff life out of me, I have a right to defend myself. If there is going to be an implosion that will tear APC apart, they have already torn us apart, so goodluck. It is their own cup of tea.”
Meanwhile, Buni, in a statement by his Director General of Press and Media Affairs, Mr. Mamman Mohammed, said Marafa complained about the congresses held in Zamfara last Saturday because his camp lost out.
The statement said, “Sen. Kabiru Marafa’s vituperations on the Zamfara congress and leadership of APC are nothing but an empty ranting of an ant. He described the Zamfara congress as an illegality, if it is so, why did he participate and if he is in doubt of the party’s leadership, why did he adhere to every directive it issued? He is only complaining now because his camp failed the congress and lost out.”
According to him, “Marafa is a sinking politician, who lost out and holding everyone responsible for his self-inflicted political misfortune. As a responsible politician, he should just approach the court and stop being the complainant and juror.”
▪︎ By THISDAY