There were indications yesterday that the All Progressives Congress (APC) may be rehashing the wrangling and infighting in Zamfara State that led to the party’s disqualification in 2019, as the two factions of the party led by Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle and Senator Kabiru Marafa held parallel state congresses.
This is even as the camp of former governor of the state, Abdulazeez Yari, boycotted the exercises held by the factions, giving further indication that the APC in Zamfara has been polarized into three camps following the fresh crisis that hit the Yari camp.
Yari’s camp had in February this year fused into the Marafa faction after the national leadership of the party intervened in a protracted leadership crisis of the party in the state.
LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that the infighting within APC had culminated in the disqualification of all its candidates in the 2019 general elections.
Although the party won the elections in the state, the Supreme Court had faulted the process that led to the emergence of their candidates.
Like a phoenix, the crisis in Zamfara APC got a fresh life of its when Governor Mattawalle defected to the APC from the PDP.
Since then, Senator Marafa, in league with former fovernor of the state, Yari, had been at loggerheads with the governor.
The fresh crisis began at the defection ceremony of the governor when the chairman of the APC caretaker committee and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, announced the dissolution of the executive council of the party in Zamfara and declared Governor Matawalle as the new leader of the party in the state.
The battle came to a head yesterday as Matawalle and Marafa camps held parallel state congresses, further deepening the crisis within the party in the state.
The national leadership of the APC had temporarily suspended the congress in Zamfara on grounds that it received intelligence reports on the exercise.
The congress by the governor’s camp held in Gusau the state capital.
Speaking shortly after the election of the APC officials in the state, Matawalle said there was substantive progress recorded in the fight against banditry.
He also, revealed that, weekly markets would also be re-opened to allow business men and women actively engage in various trades.
He charged people in the state to make best use of the opportunity in order to improve their lawful businesses in the state.
Matawalle stressed that closure of telecoms and weekly markets was done in good faith in order to effectively fight bandits.
“Our main target was to crush all forms of criminality being it banditry or whatever, so we have adopt severe measures to succeed”, he added.
On the other hand, the Marafa faction of the party conducted its congress at Tsafe, the headquarters of Tsafe local government area; it was however said to be hitch-free as delegates turned out en mass from the 14 local government areas of the state.
The congress held by his loyalists produced Alhaji Surajo Garba Maikatako as the chairman. Other members of the State Working Committee (SWC) are: Dan Malam Mai Yadi (Vice Chairman), Nasiru Muhammad Gummi (Secretary), Auwalu Garba Alhazzai (Treasurer), Babangida and Abubakar Gusau (Legal Adviser).
Also elected are Mamuda Gaba (Financial Secretary), Bello Bakyasuwa (Publicity Secretary), Kabiru Rabiu (Auditor), Lauwali Bello Viara (Youth Leader), Hussaini Dan Isha (Welfare Secretary), Nafisa Ahmad (Women Leader) and Abubakar Usman Gora (Organising Secretary).
Meanwhile, Marafa has denied reports that he and former Governor Yari have dumped APC.
Reports on social media had suggested that Yari and Marafa defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following the intervention of a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Refuting the claim, Marafa said, “We are senior engineers and architects in the project team that designed, built and maintained APC from inception to date.
“This is the wishful thinking of the minions parading themselves as the new owners of APC today. We are senior engineers and architects in the project team that designed, built and maintained APC from the beginning to date.
“We are not going to leave the complex in the hands of those who were laborers, masons, plumbers and carpenters in the design and construction days, NO WAY! We are not going anywhere. Emir no de go transfer.”
Addressing the crowd after his emergence as the chairman, Maikatako, thanked the members of the party for the confidence reposed in him, pledging to work hard to take the party to greater heights.
“With the peaceful conduct of the exercise, we are on the right path of consolidating our hold in Zamfara State, North West and the entire country. While wishing you safe trips back to your respective homes, I assure you that I will not let you down in this journey to rescue our state,” he said.
He commended security agencies for the support given to them during the exercise.
Also, the spokesman of Marafa’s camp, Hon. Bello Bakyasuwa, said the faction held successful congresses at all levels in the state.
He noted that the state congress had 32 delegates from each ward while there were 30 delegates from each of the local government areas of the state.
According to him, the state congress returned Alhaji Sirajio Maikatako as chairman, while Alhaji Abubakar Yargaida emerges as the state secretary of the party.
“Let me reiterate that this new leadership of Senator Marafa’s faction of APC in Zamfara State is very much aware of what’s happening within the party in the state,” he added.
He noted that though the party’s constitution provides that every Congress should be conducted in the state capital, because of security of the delegates, it was conducted in Tsafe town, Tsafe Local Government area of the state.
“Since Governor Matawalle’s camp was conducting its own congress in Gusau, there was no reason why the two factions would all converge on Gusau, the state capital for, the state congress for peace”, he added.
The infighting between Marafa and former Governor Yari had led to the party’s loss at the 2019 governorship election in the state PDP, which had the incumbent governor, Matawalle as its flag bearer.
There was calm in the state chapter APC until Governor Matawalle defected to the party from the opposition PDP in June this year.
The governor’s defection plunged the APC into a deeper crisis, with old members and new members of the party failing to come up an acceptable formula for sharing of party positions among themselves.
When it seemed efforts by state leadership to reconcile the warring camps had failed ahead of fresh congress to elect new party executives, the APC national leadership wrote the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), informing it that it has rescheduled its congress in Zamfara State.
A letter entitled, “Re-Notice for the Conduct of State Congress” signed by the secretary of the Buni-committee, Senator John James AkpanUdoedehe, stated that the congress earlier scheduled for November 20, will now hold on November 13.
An emergency meeting held in Gusau to discuss to iron differences preparatory to the congress did not yield fruitful result.
Yari’s camp was split into two, with one group insisting on pursuing pending litigation on the dissolution of party executives while the second group backed today’s congress.