Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State has accused the national leadership of trying to field candidates who did not emerge from the primary election conducted by the state chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC), saying that only the courts can decide who the real candidates are in the 2019 general election.
The governor met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja after Jumaat prayers on Friday along with his Kano and Ogun states counterparts, Umar Ganduje and Ibikunle Amosun, respectively, to seek the President’s intervention in the primaries’ dispute.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Yari insisted that APC conducted a primary election in Zamfara state contrary to the claim by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to him, the state branch of APC suspected that the national leadership of the party was playing some games and therefore decided to seek the protection of the court over the primary chapter conducted.
Hr alleged that chairman of the panel sent by the national leadership of the party to conduct the primaries had refused to accept the outcome.
Yari said: “But, in any way, we were advised when the chairman of the committee came out and said there was no election in Zamfara state, we realised it was going to be a litigation issue. We quickly rushed to court, we filed a case and the case is coming up next week.
“So, I think that is the only saving grace for the party and INEC for a court of competent jurisdiction to give judgement on Zamfara matter that there was an election.”
The governor disclosed that he handed over the result of the Zamfara APC primary to President Buhari, saying: “We conducted elections and we want to see what the result is going to look. But I think for anybody to come under the national secretariat and say he is going to nominate a candidate, I think, it is a very huge joke.”
He wondered why the INEC could claim that there were no primaries in the state when the government agencies including the Resident Electoral Commissioner of the electoral umpire was at hand to monitor the process in the state.
According to him, even though there were some hitches in some places in the state that made the committee to postpone primary elections in the affected areas, the process he said was concluded the next day.
He said: “There were hitches somewhere but we decided to suspend the area there were problems until the following day. So, the following day, we continued and we concluded the election by the people nominated by that committee to conduct election but the committee ran away and refused to collate the results.
“So, what we did was that we filed the results and kept it under the watch of those people and waited to see what was going to happen. The second committee waited 32 hours to the closing, we thought the committee will hasten and come up with modalities for the election.
“But committee wasted about 18 hours discussing how the modalities were going to be. So, when we realised that, we were actually advised by the supervisory agency that is INEC and other agencies there that the best thing to do as the people had voted and since it was 7 am was to start counting.
“When they finished, they released the materials and we adopted the numbers. Already, we had produced our own set of forms for the national Assembly which we have done and then, when we concluded, I didn’t see members of the committee until one and half hours to the time.
“Then, when they came I asked them what they came for, they said they came for reconciliation and I said which reconciliation? People cannot reconcile over a month and you are trying to reconcile in an hour. Then, I realised that there was a game that was being played so that we can run out of time.”
He alleged that the national leadership of APC planned to use other means to produce candidates contrary to section 87 of the Electoral Act that the party must follow a process before producing any candidate.
He stated: “Therefore, the most important is that we conducted an election on the 3rd and 4th of October and all agencies, INEC, Civil Defence, Police, and DSS were there and they signed for us and the report was written by the REC that elections were conducted.
“Unfortunately, for the INEC to say that there was no election, we don’t know where they got their information but we believe they have a report directly from their representative there that election was held in Zamfara state, so, it depends on what they want to do.”