2023: Again, Zamfara APC in troubled waters

Zamfara APC

2023: Again, Zamfara APC in troubled waters

In this piece, MAIHARAJI ALTINE examines the crisis in the Zamfara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress ahead of the 2023 general election

The Zamfara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has again fallen into troubled waters, appearing not to have learnt any lesson from its experience in 2019 when the party lost all the elective positions that year as a result of internal crisis. Without any doubt, the current skirmish among some members of the party at the state level is one of the indications that it is heading towards a similar direction. Many are of the view that the lingering crisis between two factions, one led by Governor Bello Matawalle, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the APC few months ago, and another faction led by former governor, Abdul’aziz Yari, and Senator Kabiru Marafa, is doing more harm than good to the ruling party, and that if the situation is not quickly addressed, the consequences may be damaging for the party.

Recall that the state chapter of the APC was engulfed in a serious crisis as a result of the 2018 primary elections, where Yari was accused of single-handedly sharing all the positions to favour his loyalists, leaving Marafa and seven other governorship aspirants with no political benefit. Unhappy with Yari’s action, Marafa and the other seven governorship aspirants, who called themselves ‘G8’, went to court to challenge the legality of the primary elections and at the end of the litigation, the Supreme Court nullified the elections of all the APC candidates who were elected in the 2019 general elections and announced the party with the second highest votes as the winner. That was how the then candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Matawalle, became the governor.

Realising their mistakes after the Supreme Court’s decision, Yari, Marafa and other aggrieved APC stalwarts decided to reconcile and face their political opponent (Matawalle), who clinched the position of a governor on a silver platter. Surprisingly, the governor defected to the APC on June 29, 2021, possibly afraid of the inherent dangers ahead of him in the 2023 general elections as a result of the reconciliation between Yari and Marafa.

Matawalle, who has been unable to end the security challenges he inherited from the immediate past governor (Yari), coupled with the seeming non-performance in the execution of people-oriented projects, probably realised that it might be difficult for him to get a second term under the umbrella of the PDP, and as such decided to join the ruling APC so that he could get the support of the Presidency and retain his seat beyond 2023.

The incumbent governor also understood that the opposition APC in the state under Yari’s leadership remained very formidable and could defeat him in future elections. Perhaps, that made him to join the APC and became its leader so that he could actualise his dream of continuing in office beyond 2023. His defection, according to sources, was expertly arranged by the first civilian governor of the state, Alhaji Ahmed Yarima, who also has a presidential ambition that may not be realised if the state is controlled by the PDP.

Yarima and Yari, who had been political allies since 1999, are currently at daggers drawn because of Matawalle’s defection to the APC. Based on this development, Yarima is not comfortable with Yari’s political strength, especially this time around when Yari is vying for the chairmanship position of the APC. The crisis within the APC further deepened when the National Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, visited the state to welcome Matawalle to the party and announced that the governor was automatically the leader of the party in the state. This did not go down well with Yari, Marafa and their supporters who vehemently opposed Buni’s pronouncement.

READ ALSO:  Despite opposition, Lagos APC to go ahead with consensus arrangement

The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the recent ward congresses organised by the party. The national headquarters of the party had sent its delegates under the chairmanship of Alhaji Ibrahim Masari, a chieftain of the APC in Katsina State, to conduct a congress in Zamfara State which was rescheduled on several occasions due to the unending feud between Matawalle and Yari’s supporters.

Before the commencement of the congress, while addressing members of the party at the Government House in Gusau, the state capital, Masari, who was sent from the party’s headquarters in Abuja to supervise the congress, said, “We are in the state to organise the congress based on our party’s constitution. I am calling on all members to respect the party and join the congress.” He further warned that the party would not recognise any parallel congress apart from the one he was sent to supervise.

He added, “I am calling on all members of our great party to participate in the congress if they want to be recognised as bona fide members of the party. Anybody who fails to participate in this congress is not loyal to APC and is not its member.”

Not swayed by Masari’s warning, Yari urged his supporters not to participate in any of the congresses. In a letter signed by the Publicity Secretary of his faction of the APC, Alhaji Ibrahim Magaji, Yari called on his supporters to boycott the congresses because of a pending court case.

“We will not participate in the congress because there is a pending court action which ruled that we should maintain the status quo,” the letter quoted Yari as saying.

Also, Marafa had conducted a parallel congress, where he claimed the new executive members of the party were elected. Marafa’s spokesman, Alhaji Bello Bakyaauwa, said, “Today, the 13th of November, 2021, we have successfully conducted our ward congresses. We have elected and filled 147 ward chairmanship positions across the state. These congresses were conducted in parallel with Governor Matawalle-led faction of the party. I, therefore, wish to clearly state that our ward congress is genuine, legal, constitutional, democratic and in accordance with our dear party’s constitution.

“Permit me to use this opportunity to restate our unyielding support to our party executives, who could not join us today because of the court case. We truly appreciate their concern and commitment to APC Marafa/Yari’s faction of Zamfara State. I also wish to state that the elected executives of Marafa/Yari’s faction are the bona fide members of APC. We will not accept any ward leader of the party arising from the faction of Governor Matawalle because we are fully convinced that no congress was democratically conducted on their part.”

However, Marafa has threatened to take legal action against Buni for conducting what he described as an illegal congress, in the state despite the court order. Marafa expressed disgust over what he described as an attempt by Buni to destabilise the APC in Zamfara. Briefing journalists on the parallel congresses which were held across the state, Marafa described them (congresses) as an exercise in futility, stressing that he was prepared to challenge the legality of all actions taken by the Buni-led CENCPC since inception.

READ ALSO:  Kizz Daniel - Lie- Mp3 Download

He said, “I have the responsibility to be a good son who I have been in the APC, but when the father or the mother wants to snuff life out of me, I will be left with no option but to find ways of defending myself. I have a right to defend myself if there is going to be an implosion that will tear APC apart. They have already torn us apart; so, good luck. It is their cup of tea.”

Marafa maintained that Buni was siding with Matawalle, lamenting that such action was why the party leadership failed to give the requisite notice of the congress to all parties involved. He wondered if Buni had even gone to school, saying he was ignorant of the Electoral Act, which made it mandatory to give a 21-day notice to the Independent National Electoral Commission before holding a congress.

“Section 85 of the Electoral Act made it mandatory to give certain period. It says INEC must be given a notice of 21 days. I don’t know where Mai Mala Buni got this thing, but I’m not surprised. They are operating the party as if they are operating an ‘omalanke’ (local toy truck),” Marafa stated.

But Buni, who spoke through his Director General, Media and Public Affairs, Mamman Mohammed, said, “Marafa’s vituperations are nothing but an empty ranting of an ant. He (Marafa) is embarking on a political suicide mission.’’

A senior member of the party in the state, Dr Sani Shinkafi, berated supporters of the former governor for boycotting the ward congress conducted in the state. Addressing a press conference in Gusau, Shinkafi said the failure of Yari’s supporters to participate in the congress was an indication that the former governor had lost political relevance in the state. He debunked the claim by Yari that there was a court order restraining the conduct of the congress, which was the reason he and his supporters boycotted the congress.

“There was no court injunction that stopped the party from conducting the congress in the state. The former governor was only trying to dodge the congress because he knew what would happen if he and his supporters had attended it,” Shinkafi added.

Reacting to parallel congresses said to have been conducted in the state by the Marafa’s faction, Shinkafi said, “As far as we are concerned,  there was nothing like parallel congresses. There was only one congress that took place and it was conducted and supervised by the national officers of the party, who were sent from the headquarters. Our ward congresses are genuine and constitutional. There was no parallel ward congress in the state, apart from the one organised by the recognised party structure in the state.”

Shinkafi also said that Marafa’s faction, which was said to have conducted a parallel congress, did not exist. “As far as we are concerned, there was reconciliation where we all agreed to bury our differences and work together for the progress of the party. Then how can anybody come out now to tell us that the party is factionalised.”

READ ALSO:  Top technology trends for entrepreneurs in 2022

He wondered why Marafa would bring the issue of parallel congress nine months after the reconciliation. He said, “How manage, just within 24 hours, Kabiru Marafa’s faction resurfaced and conducted a congress? He is playing on the intelligence of their uneducated followers.”

Commenting on the APC crisis in the state, a political analyst, Mansur Kaura-Namoda, said Matawalle’s defection to the APC had created more problems for the party, adding that “the chances of the APC winning any election in Zamfara are uncertain. Zamfara is engulfed in more crises now than ever before as a result of Governor Matawalle’s defection to the party. They are currently in court.” Kaura-Namoda maintained that he was not even sure if Matawalle would get the party ticket to contest the governorship election, not to talk of winning the election for second term.

“I am telling you; by defecting to the APC for whatever reason, the governor did not thank his God who gave him that position. This is because he least expected it. If I were him, I would have remained in the PDP, even if I would not come back for second term,” he added.

Another political commentator, Suleiman Musa, said the former governor (Yari) was supposed to have learnt a lesson since the episode that pushed him and his supporters out of power in 2019. “He should allow Governor Matawalle oversee the affairs of the party since he (Matawalle) is now the leader of the party in the state as announced by the national caretaker committee chairman of the party, Mai Mala Buni. The former governor should remember that he is vying for the national chairmanship position of the party, and I don’t think he can get that position if he is not on good terms with Governor Matawalle,” Musa stated.

Meanwhile, the crisis in the party is said to be taking a toll on governance in the state. It was learnt that activities have been at a standstill in the state since Matawalle joined the APC, while banditry and other related crimes remain on the increase because the governor seemed to have abandoned his primary responsibility and pursuing his second term ambition. It was also gathered that a huge amount of money was being expended on a daily basis by the governor in order to have  total control of the party.

Another serious setback for the governor according to sources, is the refusal of his Deputy, Mahdi Gusau, to join him in the defection to APC. Many are of the belief that if Yari is not satisfied with the arrangement by the national headquarters of the APC, which declared Matawalle the party leader in Zamfara State, he might defect to PDP and join forces with the deputy governor, who is the son of a prominent politician, General Aliyu Gusau (retd.), to fight the governor (Matawalle) in 2023 general elections.

2023: Again, Zamfara APC in troubled waters

News Source


Tech Solutions with THE DGIT:

Build Your Websites and Mobile Apps

%d bloggers like this: