Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has written a letter to the All Progressives Congress (APC) notifying the party that it is ineligible to field candidates for all elective positions in Zamfara State in the 2019 general election.
This, according to INEC, is because the party failed to meet the October 7 deadline for conducting primaries to elect candidates for the elections.
Premium Times had reported that INEC had told the National Chairman of APC, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, in a letter signed by the Acting Secretary of the commission, Okechukwu Ndeche, titled: “Failure To Conduct Party Primaries in Zamfara State Within The Stipulated Time Frame”, that it is not expecting any list of candidates from the party from Zamfara State.
The commission referred Oshiomhole to the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 general election released by the commission on January 9, 2018.
It stated: “You would note from the timetable that the conduct of party primaries is scheduled to take place between 18th August and 7th October 2018.
“Kindly also refer to the last schedule communicated by your party to the commission on the dates of party primaries nationwide, including Zamfara vide your letter Ref. APC/NHDQ/ INEC/19/18/51 dated 3rd Oct. 2018.
“However, report received from our office in Zamfara State shows that no primaries were conducted by your party in the state. Notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilized and deployed.”
INEC said based on the provisions 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 candidates from Zamfara State.
“For clarity, our position is that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not be fielding candidates for the governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly Elections in Zamfara State for the 2019 for the general election”.
However, confirming the development, the Chief Press Secretary of the commission, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said that though the letter was leaked to the press but it was authentic.
According to him, “The letter is authentic. But it was a correspondence between the commission and the APC. It leaked, obviously.”
The Zamfara State chapter of the APC had descended into serious crisis as political camps fought bitter and violent battles as they jostled to produce candidates for positions.
The major tussle was between the camps of the state Governor Abdulaziz Yari, and a senator Kabiru Marafa.
Yari wants his preferred aspirant, Mukhtar Idris, the state Commissioner for Finance, to succeed him.
Whereas, Marafa, one of the leading governorship aspirants, challenged what he described as Yari’s high handedness and attempt to foist Idris on the party.
The APC national headquarters dissolved all party structures in the state while also directing Yari, himself a senatorial aspirant, to hands off all matters relating to party primaries in the state.
The NWC’s decision on the removal of the party officials led to a fresh battle between Oshiomhole and his deputy, Lawal Shuaibu.