The Deputy National Chairman (North), of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), Lawal Shuaibu, has faulted the decision of the National Working Committee of the party to dissolve the entire party executive in Zamfara State.
The NWC is led by the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, with Mr Shuaibu among the members.
The APC in two separate statements signed by its spokesperson, Yekini Nabena, announced the dissolution of the Zamfara State executive and all executive committees across the state.
However, Mr Shuaibu, who is from Zamfara State, issued a counter statement to say “the news going round that the APC Executive have been dissolved is not true.”
Mr Shuaibu said the NWC cannot dissolve the party executives in the state because of the existence a subsisting court order.
He said the order had asked the disagreeing parties in a petition challenging the legality of the process through which the state executives emerged to maintain the status quo and “should not take any step that would render nugatory the subject of the litigation which is the position of the party before 5th of June 2018.”
The deputy chairman said the NWC and the party in the state were both served the court order.
He said the National Headquarters of the party “can therefore not take any action except to ensure members of the executives do comply.”
In his statement earlier, APC spokesperson, Yekini Nabena, also said the NWC-inaugurated committee for Zamfara State is to conduct the governorship and legislative primaries in the state.
He said the state governor, Abdul’aziz Yari, and the dissolved executives in the state “should not interfere in the primary elections in the state.”
He said the governorship and legislative primaries will hold from Saturday to Sunday.
Allegation Of Bias
Mr Lawal also accused the committee sent by Mr Oshiomhole to conduct the primary in the state of bias.
He said that when the election committee headed by Abubakar Faki went to Zamfara State to conduct the primary, they took the sensitive materials along with them and deposited with the commissioner of police in the state.
“They called for a stakeholders meeting in which all aspirants were present as well as heads of security agencies in the state.
“An agreement was arrived at by all aspirants to the effect that teachers be recruited to conduct the primaries in each ward.
“Afterwards, the process had begun in earnest and suddenly when there were skirmishes in some wards arising from activities of some thugs, some aspirants started to send spurious allegations to the committee chairman seated at the state capital, who, without waiting to verify the truth in such allegations, decided to announce cancelation of the process when already more than 10 local governments were collating results,“ he said.
He said Mr Faki immediately left the state with his team.
“To every right thinking person, he didn’t show responsibility when he abandoned the exercise without retrieving the materials as at the time of cancellation.
“But the big problem some members discovered, including some of the aspirants, is that the same chairman of the primaries committee is a blood relation to one of the aspirants for which reason he could have been disqualified as he is an interested party. This is shocking and unacceptable,” he said.
Mr Shuaibu also said a meeting of the NWC which held Thursday decided that another committee should be constituted and sent back to Zamfara.
He said that remains the position of the NWC, and not sending the same committee back.
“To send the same committee led by the same chairman cannot be said to be the NWC decision,” he said.
He also faulted the decision of the NWC to ask some aspirants to submit lists of election officials.
He said committees are usually given free hand to liaise with key members at local level to handle the process.
The NWC, he said, cannot dabble into local arrangements for conduct of any election but should ensure that guidelines are strictly adhered to by the committee.
“The NWC is not expected to change the rules in the middle of an election process, rather, the committee always uses the guidelines as their yardstick for judging the fairness of any election, especially in direct system of primaries.
“Our Membership Register is the book through which you identify members of the party in every ward and it is clearly stated in the guidelines.
“It serves as our Voters Register and anything short of it makes the process susceptible to hijack by non party members. That is what we know and that is what the NWC stands for,” he said.
Loss Of Confidence
Meanwhile, Governor Yari has said that he has lost confidence in the committee sent to the state to conduct the primary election.
Speaking with journalists at the Government House, Gusau, shortly after the NWC decision was announced, Mr Yari also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call Mr Oshiomhole to order.
He also said the national chairman should be held responsible if anything untoward happens in the state.
Mr Yari said he cannot guarantee the safety of the election panel.
Mr Yari, who leaves office next, year is eager to ensure his favoured candidate emerges APC governorship candidate. He, however, faces stiff opposition from other aspirants especially a serving senator, Kabiru Marafa.
Irrespective of how it solves its problems, the ruling party must submit the names of its governorship and senatorial candidates to the electoral commission, INEC, before the October 7 deadline.