A faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State has faulted the claims by the former governor of the state, Abdulaziz Yari, that chieftains of the party are being persecuted in the state.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has also described as untrue, the allegations made by the ex-governor.
Mr Yari, on Tuesday, led a faction of the APC in the state to submit a petition to the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, in Abuja.
He accused the PDP-led government in the state of forcing its members, especially elected local government chairpersons and councillors to join the PDP.
He also accused the state government of intimidation and harassment and trying to “break their fighting spirit by forcing its members to decamp, while threatening those who refused to do so.”
He blamed the people who he said do not mean well for the party, for its present situation.
“We have been used to the intimidation and harassment in Zamfara State since 2010 when the state government was PDP, same with the federal government and the entire National Assembly.
“But we are more organised now have the leader of the party and the government at the centre. What we are looking for is support from here. I can say that let them put out ballot boxes tomorrow in Zamfara and see how APC will be declared because the state has never been under PDP since 1999,” he said.
APC faction reacts
In a statement, another APC faction loyal to a former senator, Kabir Marafa, said there is no iota of truth in all the claims made by the former governor.
It said Mr Yari is only jealous of the successes recorded by the state government in the area of security.
The chairman of the faction, Surajo Maikatako, said “while all political parties should be allowed to function without any hindrance, harassment and intimidation as guaranteed by the Constitution, the creation of a parallel government by some disgruntled politicians, abusing and casting aspersions on our respected judicial officers and the judgement of the Supreme Court should not be supported by any democrat.”
It said the monthly meeting of Mr Yari’s faction was solely aimed at “distracting the state government from governance, making unguarded utterances that threatens the fragile peace achieved in the state, calling on people to revolt against the government, is counterproductive and causing more harm than good and must be discouraged by all.”
While urging Mr Yari to have fear of God and allow the new government in the state to “do what he failed to do”, the faction said he must allow peace to reign in the interest of the people of the state.
For genuine reconciliation, the faction urged the National Reconciliation Committee of the party under the leadership of Bisi Akande to ignore Mr Yari’s claims that all is well in the party in the state. This is even as it said APC remains divided in Zamfara.
“Equally untrue is the assertion that APC in Zamfara is now one under one leadership and can win elections in the state anytime. This is far from the truth!
“The fact is, APC remains divided. Our faction is back to court, challenging the outcome of the party congresses conducted in 2018 and Yari’s faction cannot win election in Zamfara state today,” the statement read.
The rift that split the APC into the Yari and Marafa factions handed Zamfara to the PDP as APC candidates who won all the elective positions last year were sacked by the Supreme Court which agreed that the party did not conduct valid primaries to nominate the candidates.
It is not true, Zailani Baffa the governor’s spokesperson, told PREMIUM TIMES.
He said the state governor, Bello Matawalle, has worked with people of the opposition party for about nine months and has in no way, intimidated or harassed them.
He explained that three members of the APC, who were arrested, were arraigned on charges based on security.
“They were remanded in prison by the court, not by the government. It has nothing to do with state government or politics. If it is intimidation, nobody will take you to court because you know you are going to lose. I think this is just political. This is what they have been doing,” he said.
Responding to the allegation of forcing chairpersons to defect, the explained that when the governor came in, he was the only PDP leader and decided to work with the APC leaders.
“All the 14 local government chairmen were APC with their councillors. There was pressure on him to remove them but he insisted he will work with them. If he wanted to remove them, he would have done so long time ago, but today, he has worked with them for nine months.
“Its after then, they realised he is a better ruler and so nine decided to move to PDP. Even as I speak with you, six local government chairmen are in APC and the governor has not intimidated any of them.”
Mr Baffa said it is very unfortunate that the APC is faulting the deeds of the APC.
“They are losing and have to use sentiments. So, all what they are saying is not true,” he said.