APC Can’t Field Candidates for Zamfara, INEC Insists

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INEC Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Mr. Osaze Uzzi
  • Moves Zakari from operations to healthcare

Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that there is no going back on its decision to bar the All Progressives Congress (APC) from fielding candidates for the 2019 general elections in Zamfara State.

INEC’s stand came just as the ruling party which appeared ruffled by the likely fate that may befall it in the 2019 elections in Zamfara State is making frantic effort to sort out things.

The commission through its Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Mr. Osaze Uzzi, said it had not changed its position despite the protestation by the APC.

Speaking to THISDAY on telephone yesterday, Uzzi, who was on his way back to Abuja from a trip, said he could not confirm if the APC’s letter had been received or not.

When asked if the commission has changed its position based on the letter from APC, Uzzi said, “I don’t know whether it has been received or not but either, we still stand by our earlier position.”

INEC had on Monday declared APC ineligible to field candidates for all elective positions in Zamfara State in the 2019 election on the basis that it did not hold primaries in the state before the expiration of the stipulated deadline.

The position of INEC was contained in a leaked letter to the APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, on Tuesday.

However, the party on Wednesday, replied INEC, claiming that primary elections actually took place in Zamfara State.

In the letter dated October 10th and signed by Oshiomhole, the party said INEC did not capture the true situation of the APC primaries in Zamfara State.

In the INEC’s letter titled, “Failure to conduct party primaries in Zamfara State within the stipulated time-frame,” the commission said APC failed to conduct its primary elections in Zamfara within the stipulated time-frame”.

In its submissions to INEC, APC said, “The contents of your 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”.

Meanwhile, APC has intensified efforts to get INEC to reverse its position on the Zamfara State primary elections.

THISDAY gathered that apart from its letter to the commission, the party is also hoping to go ahead to submit names of candidates for the state.

A party source told THISDAY yesterday that the party is picking holes on the letter, which it said did not emanate from the Chairman’s office or that of Secretary to the commission.

It said that the party is insisting that as a political party it reserves the sole right to decide who its candidates for an election will be.

INEC Moves Zakari from Operations to Healthcare, Welfare

Meanwhile, INEC yesterday succumbed to pressure by re-organising the chairmanship of five out of its 15 standing committees.

This sudden change saw Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari moved from her position as the Commission’s Chairman on Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee to Health and Welfare Committee.

The commission disclosed this in a statement by its National Commissioner, Mallam Muhammed Haruna, where he also revealed that none of the 89 registered political parties has submitted the list of its sponsored candidate.

He said, “INEC held Its usual weekly meeting today, 11th October, 2018 and noted that none of the 89 registered political parties that notified the Commission of their intention to conduct their primaries has submitted the list of its sponsored candidates [Form CFOOZ) and personal particulars (Form 001] to the centre designated by the Commission for the collection of the said documents.”

The electoral body insisted that the deadlines for the submission of Forms CF001 and CFOO2 for the 2019 general elections remain; 18th October for Presidential and National Assembly, while the Governorship and State Assemblies remains 2nd November, 2018.

It added, “Meanwhile, the Chairmanship of five [5) out of its fifteen (15) Standing Committees has been re-organised as follows:

“Barrister Festus Okoye, Information and Voter Education Committee; Prince Solomon Adedeji Soyebi, Board of the Electoral, Institute; Dr Mohammed Mustafa Lecky, Planning, Monitoring and Strategy Committee; Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari, Health and Welfare Committee; and Prof. Okechukwu lbeanu, Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee.”