As Zamfara residents anxiously wait in anxiety over the possibility or otherwise of having the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) fielding candidates for all elective positions in the 2019 general elections, many in the economic sector have expressed fears of losses as campaigns nears. UMAR MOHAMMED (Gusau) and ANKELI EMMANUEL (Sokoto) reports.
It is not yet uhuru for the Zamfara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the expected legal action to redeem their chance of presenting candidates for the 2019 general elections might be a long wait after all.
Naturally, it is expected that Zamfara chapter of APC will want to do everything humanly possible to submit names of their candidate for now rather than casting aspersions.
However, it seems the cloud is still dark as legal processes are often not speedy as expected.
The journey towards 2019 got blurred after series of hidden but manifestly displayed battle of wit between political gladiators in the state APC took a twist for the worst.
Not a few in the state view the situation as pure battle of ego among the top echelon of the political hierarchy of Zamfara. All the over eight aspirants were by every standard qualified to handle whatever political position in the state. They were equally all matured politically to reach a genuine truce if sincerity of purpose is involved.
That however, was never to be as nobody was ready to tow the path of peace, negotiation and consensus prior to the primaries. This development therefore made it a near impossibility to conduct primary elections as all attempt were marred by violence.
Irked by the development, and in a bit to save its integrity, the nation’s electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) instantly wrote to the APC stressing why Zamfara APC cannot field candidates for any elective position come 2019.
In the said letter as signed by the commission’s acting secretary, Okechukwu Ndeche, Zamfara State chapter of APC was unable to meet up with INEC’s dateline on the conduct of party primaries.
The letter, written on the 8th of October titled, “Failure To Conduct Party Primaries In Zamfara State Within The Stipulated Time Frame” and sent to APC’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomole emphatically explained itself on the subject matter.
“You will note from the timetable that the conduct of party primaries is scheduled to take place between 18th August and 7th October, 2018. Kindly also referred 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 October 2018. However, reports refined from our Zamfara office shows that no primaries were conducted by your party in the state. Notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilised and deployed.”
Providing justifications for their position, INEC said the action was in conformity with the provision of section 31 and 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
It therefore emphatically reaffirmed that, “The commission does not expect that your party submit names of any candidates from Zamfara State.”
Succinctly put, INEC’s position in this narrative is that APC, as the ruling party, both at the national and state levels is therefore not expected to present candidates for any elective position come 2019: Governorship, National and State Assembly inclusive.
As expected, APC replied INEC saying primaries were duly conducted in Zamfara State hence, they will therefore file candidates for all elective offices come 2019.
Said Oshiomole to INEC, “We wish to state emphatically that nothing can be farther from the actual situation in Zamfara State.
Backing his position on the matter, Oshiomole said the report from APC Zamfara Electoral Committee proved that primaries were actually held between October 6th and 7th at Gusau City, King Hotel and candidates emerged via consensus.
Oshiomole further berated INEC for not waiting until the set dates of final submission before punching the bile.
While pundits continue to await what becomes the fate of the state APC in 2019, a strong contender for the state number one seat, Senator Kabiru Marafa, said Oshiomole’s claim was far from the truth as no such consensus ever happened in Zamfara.
With the stake getting high, the people of Zamfara State, who have been over the years weighed down with challenges of insecurity orchestrated by the activities of armed bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers, continue to pray for a peaceful resolution of the matter, hence for them, the matter at hand portents yet another grave danger for the ordinary citizen.
Without delay, aggrieved APC members rushed to the Federal High Court and State High Court seeking for action against the National Working Committee of the party and to declare INEC position an exercise in nullity.
At the federal high Court, Lawali M Liman was the plaintiff while at the State High Court, Sanusi Dan Alhaji, an aspirant of the Gusau State, constituency filed the suit.
Both courts heard the matter on Tuesday 16th October 2018.
At the State High Court, the suit was filed by Mahmud Magaji (SAN) on behalf of the plaintiff while Sani Katu stood in for the plaintiff, APC card carrying members and SANUSI Danalhaji.
Having carefully observed the motion on notice case, the presiding judge, Justice Mukhtar Yushau, issued an interim order asking all parties in the matter to maintain status quo pending the determination of the main suit.
He said, “The court is hereby directing all parties involved in the matter to maintain status quo and desist from taking any action.”
Earlier, counsel to the plaintiff, Sani Katu said the motion was asking the court to recognise the primary election conducted between 3rd and 7th October 2018 as indicated in their response to INEC.
The plaintiff was also seeking the court intervention to stop the National Working Committee from taking action contrary to the primary election already conducted in the state.
Counsel to the APC NWC, P M Lasco, expressed confidence with the outcome of the court, stressing that, asking parties to stay action pending the determination of the main suit was in the right direction.
While the legal tussle might tarry, the people of the state are already expressing mixed feelings over the whole debacle.
For some, it’s a matter of constitutional consideration. Others however, wondered why key players in the state APC have allowed themselves to be swallowed by ego to a point that, everybody is now a victim.
Much as they continue to scrutinise the scenario from varied dimensions, a good number of the locals are expressing fears over how it would affect the state negatively.
For some, it’s not about fielding candidates in 2019 general elections, but the state of affairs in the state ahead of that time.
Those that share this mindset are of the opinion that the development would naturally affect their economic, political and social life.
For the opposition parties in Zamfara State, happenings in the ruling APC is not unexpected. According to them, it goes to prove how incoherent those seeking elective positions in the party could be.
Some members of the opposition who spoke to LEADERSHIP Friday on conditions of anonymity vowed to take up legal action against INEC should it allow Zamfara APC feature candidate for any elective position come 2019 general election.
Zamfara To Lose Over N3bn If APC Is Not In 2019 General Elections-Expert
An economist from the Federal University, Gusau, Zamfara State has raised concern over what he described as likely economic trauma on the state should APC not participate in the forthcoming general elections.
Speaking on the unpalatable but inevitable outcome of excluding the ruling party (APC) from an election in the state, the university don, who preferred not be mentioned said, all local businesses would suffer untold hardship.
According to him, it is an established norm globally that, brisk businesses often spring up especially during electioneering period.
Giving insight into how the loss might be, he said, those in printing and stationery business would be losing a great deal.
“These guys would be missing over N1bn cumulatively as all candidates will print posters, handbills, banners, billboards. Some of them will also print fliers, note books among others.
“In the real estate sector, agents, landlords as well as those involved in interior decoration will be missing over N500 million because most of the edifice that should be rented out as party secretariats and campaign offices would be laying waste.
“Those in the hospitability, entertainment and transport business, will be missing over N1bn as well. This is because most of the hotels that should ordinarily be busy with guests within the electioneering period would miss patronage.
“The praise singers are naturally parts of the winning strategies in the politics of this zone. But as it stands, they will not be having patronage too.”
He also affirmed that thugs who are used as agents of threat in the name of ‘Areaboyism’ would be missing over N500 million from all parties, as the demand for their hooliganism job will be minimal.
“Generally put, in the absence of the ruling party (APC) participating in the elections, other parties might not want to spend because the APC is considered to be the ideal party to bring out more money, hence they are in power in the state and would not want to be defeated. Therefore, businesses and other sundry activities stand to miss over 3billion naira cumulatively, he said.
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