A senator and governorship aspirant in Zamfara State, Kabiru Marafa, has declared his support for the cancellation of Wednesday’s governorship primary in the state by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, had in a statement 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.”
He said the process was also marred by violence.
While stating that a new date will be announced for the primary, he promised free, fair and transparent primaries across the country.
In a separate statement, Mr Marafa blamed the state governor, Abdul’aziz Yari, for the violence that erupted in some parts of the state during the exercise.
Mr Marafa who claimed he was ahead in all the wards where elections were conducted, said the call for the continuation of the poll despite the “violence orchestrated by Yari and his co- travellers” was the height of insensitivity and lawlessness.
“Yari set the state on fire just to perfect his plot to upturn the people’s will and impose on them stooges with the sole aim of continuing with his misrule through proxies after May 29, 2019,” he said.
The lawmaker explained that shortly after the distribution of election materials, some agents raised alarm that the available ballot papers were not up to 10 per cent of the registered party members in their wards – a development which forced the committee chairman to summon an emergency meeting in the office of the commissioner of police to address the issue.
He said during the meeting which was attended by all the aspirants and heads of all security agencies in the state, the state chairman called the the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who spoke individually with all the aspirants. And thereafter, the aspirants agreed that the ballot papers should be set aside and direct method of people queuing behind the candidate of their choice be adopted.
PREMIUM TIMES could, however, not confirm this as Mr Nabena did not respond to calls made to him at the time.
Mr Marafa stressed that the election started peacefully until violence suddenly erupted in major towns – a development which forced the chairman of the election committee to quickly cancel the election to halt the crisis.
“It is pertinent to mention here that Gov candidate lost in all the wards where elections held. I was leading in all the wards,” the senator claimed.
Mr Marafa also confirmed reports that at least one person died in the ensuing political violence.
“Two persons had been shot in Bungudu local government area and one boy shot dead at Birnin Ruwa primary school Gusau. Abubakar Sadiq, a journalist covering the exercise was attacked, his camera destroyed, his friend has been seriously wounded,” a cleric and PREMIUM TIMES columnist, Murtadha Gusau, who is in Zamfara, said late Wednesday night.
The police or state authorities are yet to confirm the casualty.
“Hours after the cancellation desperate Gov Yari went on air to announce that election will continue today (Thursday) without even condoling and sympathising with the families of the deceased and the injured persons,” Mr Marafa said.
He urged his supporters and residents of the state to remain calm, and abide by the decision of the national committee and await further announcement on the matter.
This is the third time the state primary will be postponed. The state chapter of the APC announced the first postponement on Sunday “due to non arrival of the election committee from the National Headquarters in Abuja.”
The governor, again shifted the primary because he was against arrangements made to conduct direct primary to select the party’s governorship candidate.
The election was scheduled to hold on Tuesday but Mr Yari on Monday night said he would not allow the exercise to hold in his capacity as the chief security officer of the state.
Mr Marafa has been a major critic of the governor especially over his handling of the security situation in the state.
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