The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State, and between the government there and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party is about to cost it the State as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has told the ruling party it cannot field candidates for elective positions there in the 2019 elections.
The commission’s acting secretary, Okechukwe Ndeche in a letter to the APC said the party is barred from fielding candidates for governorship, national assembly and state assembly elections, as it failed to comply with Sections 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act of 2010.
But the party has fired back in a letter by its National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, that the position of INEC is untenable because primaries were conducted there and consensus candidates emerged.
Acting secretary of INEC, Okechukwu Ndeche wrote: “You would note that from the timetable the conduct of primaries is scheduled to take place between August 18 to Oct 7 2018.
“However, report received from our office in Zamfara state shows that no primaries were conducted by your party in Zamfara, notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilised and deployed.
“Consequently, based on the provision of Section 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, the commission does not expect that your party will submit names of any candidate from Zamfara state.
“For clarity, our position therefore, is that the APC will not be fielding candidates for the Governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly elections in Zamfara for the 2019 general elections”.
In his response Oshiomole’s said:
The contents of your said letter seem to conclude that no primaries were conducted by the APC in Zamfara State. We wish to state emphatically that nothing can be farther from the actual situation in Zamfara State,” he wrote.
“Kindly find a comprehensive report from the Zamfara Electoral Committee of the All Progressives Congress and signed by all the members on the conduct of primary elections for the Zamfara State held between 6th & 7th October, 2018. The summary of the report, as you will find, is that following the high level of friction, disagreements and threatened violence by various political camps before the primaries, all the aspirants met at City King Hotel, Gusau, to find a truce.
“After hours of intense horse-trading, a consensus was reached within the spirit and context of the Electoral Act and the constitution of our party on the basis of which a list was produced which was confirmed/affirmed by all delegates present. This was done in strict compliance with section 87 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as Amended).
“Therefore, the claim in your letter under reference that ‘no primaries were conducted by your party in the state, notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilized and deployed’ could only be referring to their observation that actual voting did not take place, which is not the only mode prescribed for producing candidates in the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). We, therefore, affirm that indeed primaries took place in Zamfara
Please also refer to the INEC’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections released by the Commission on the 9’” January, 2018. By that timetable all political parties are expected to submit a list of their candidates on or before 18th of October, 2018, after exhausting all internal procedures for Appeals arising out of the congresses…
“As a party, we are in the process of exhausting those internal procedures before forwarding the names of our candidates to you. We are perplexed that you did not wait for us to submit the names of our candidates in Zamfara State (considering that the time within which such submission should take place has not elapsed) before raising your observation in your letter under reference.
“This is more so when we received no correspondence from the Commission at least to inquire from our party the true state of affairs in Zamfara State, in the spirit of fair hearing, before making haste to write your letter. We, however note that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not also hold primaries in Kano, but no such similar letter was written to the PDP in relation to Kano State.
“It is our contention, in the circumstance, that your letter is not only preemptive, but your position seem to negate the spirit of any fair hearing and is devoid of legal basis.
“BE INFORMED, that in the spirit of due compliance with the law, we affirm that we shall indeed be presenting candidates for Governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly Elections in Zamfara State for the 2019 General elections before the deadline for submission of such names which has been fixed by your Commission on the 18th of October, 2018.
“If you raise further observations AFTER you receive our list of candidates, we shall be glad to clarify them.”