Gubernatorial aspirant kicks against indirect primaries in APC

Aanya Igomu, Abuja


A gubernatorial aspirant from Zamfara State, Senator Kabir Marafa has kicked against indirect primaries in the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Speaking with Journalists after purchasing his Expression of interest and Nomination form from the APC National Secretariat in Abuja, Marafa said members of the party canvassing for indirect primaries do not have the interest of the Nigerian President at heart.

He also noted the possibility of his state holding a parallel congress to elect their gubernatorial candidate and candidates for other political offices for the 2019 General Election in Nigeria.

This would be as a result of the decision from the National Executive Committee meeting of the APC, where the NEC decided to hold direct primary for the presidency and states but resolved that any state that wants to hold indirect primary should adopt it with a simple majority of the state executives and to also inform the National Secretariat with a letter.

Following this decision, over ten states like Zamfara, Kaduna, Ondo, Adamawa, Plateau, FCT amongst others have adopted the process of indirect primary to elect its flag bearers for different offices.

But not every member of APC in some of these states is in agreement with the decision to conduct indirect primary.

Some state chapters of Nigeria’s governing party, the All Progressives Congress, APC may end up holding parallel congresses which would lead to them producing more than one gubernatorial candidate for the 2019 General Election in the country.

Senator Marafa said the APC may experience a repeat of what happened during the build up to its National Convention when 22 APC states held parallel congresses.

He is of the opinion that those canvassing for indirect primary are employing the strategy to be able to question the president’s candidacy if he emerges winner through indirect primary.

The senator however commended the APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole for his foresight in deciding that the presidential primaries be conducted through direct primary election.

“Let me first of all say this, I don’t think there is any doubt, I have once said it after the conclusion of the congresses, that time, I made a very clear call that I see the activities of fifth columnists in the APC that know very well they cannot defeat President in the general election. So, the common fear is the fear of second term of President Muhammadu Buhari. Then, if you cannot beat directly, how do you beat him indirectly? So, that was why the congresses were done, deliberately in such a way that they cannot withstand legal scrutiny.

“The guidelines said that the party constitution provides for consensus, one! But in the absence of consensus, there should be election. Most of these states, people made payments into APC account, obtained their tellers but the governors feel they were demi-gods that feel they must be worshipped, that feel they are the ones that can determine the attitude of every human being in Nigeria and we said that look, you cannot do that.

“There are some of us that are radically inclined, you can’t threaten us, that is exactly what happened. Now, glory be to God, under the present leadership of the APC today, they swore that these people don’t mean well for this party, so, let us insulate ourselves our president, that is why the APC said, Presidential election is by direct primaries.

“This is an admissions of failure of the congresses in the States, so, I am very happy that the APC has protected the President because their intentions (the fifth columnists), people that refused to leave, people that are friends of President in the day time and worst of President in the night, that is what they wanted to use after the primaries, that maybe after general elections, people would go and re-“contest that the President was voted during the primary by illegal delegates and the chairman is a very wise person, highly experienced, and he has the leader of the party, Chief Asiwaju, who can see through machinations and do the right thing. 

“So, we opted for direct primaries and the reason is simple. We don’t want to be like them, we don’t want to be selfish, we want APC to win Zamfara, they don’t want APC to win Zamfara, they don’t want APC to win Nigeria. There are some of the technicalities on those things but it doesn’t matter. If the APC headquarters wakes up tomorrow and say that, like I said, we have written, they have written also, they said they want indirect, we said we want direct, it is for the APC headquarters to determine what manner of primary.

“If APC says go for indirect, I will do my direct with my own direct with my own set of executive, they will do their indirect with their own set of executive. So, when the time comes for the court to rule, if they say Marafa is right, I am going home and retire. Thank God I have done business before I came to Senate” he said.

On what he intends to offer Zamfara state people, he said responsible leadership.

“I understand when the Federal ministry of agriculture distributed grains, Zamfara state was missing! I was emotional at the floor of the Senate to make case for Zamfara State! This is the duty we have. As Nigerians, we all have responsibilities! As journalists, you have responsibilities and you need to serve it. You don’t need to be sentimental about issues! People talk about Taraba and Benue because largely they are Christians! What happened in Zamfara happens in some other places! We all have responsibilities and we need to do the needful” Senator Marafa said.

And from the eastern part of Nigeria, Imo state is one state that has been having lingering issues within the APC state chapter since the state congresses and National convention.

State Zoning
A governorship aspirant from the state Chima Anozie who picked his Expression of Interest and Nomination form described the disagreement in the state as a family matter that could be resolved.

He attributed the cause of problems in APC Imo state chapter to Zoning.

“The issue of zoning is what is causing the problem; I am not going to be the governor of Owerri but of Imo State. Orlu zone has ruled for sixteen years and they want to rule for another eight yearsto make it twenty four years and you have three zones in Imo state, that’s the crux of the whole matter, that is what is causing the whole problem in Imo state” he said.

Another issue is that the incumbent governor of Imo state Rochas Okorocha who is ending his last term in office has endorsed his son in-law for the office of the governor of the state but Mr. Anozie said that the governor is free to support whomever he wants.

Mr. Anozie added that if elected, he would focus on developing Agriculture, free education, youth empowerment and complete abandoned projects.

“First of all make the youths to be useful, if they are useful then I can now empower them.

“Another problem is abandoned projects, I will not start any new projects until I finish the viable projects that were abandoned because government is a continuous process”.