By Emmanuel Mogbede
The All Progressives Congress (APC) says it will do everything within the Law to ensure that it fields candidates for governorship and legislative elections in Zamfara.
Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the APC National Publicity Secretary, gave the assurance at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had insisted that APC would not field candidates for elective positions in Zamfara for failing to conduct its primaries within the stipulated period.
Issa-Onilu said: “INEC is relying on the fact that courts of equal jurisdiction have given conflicting judgements, we can understand that.
“It is not over, and we will continue to take steps, we are very certain that we did the right thing.
“The primaries held, INEC was not satisfied with that, but it is our right to field candidates and we will follow up all the legal means to ensure that our candidates stand for elections in this 2019 general elections in Zamfara, same situation for Rivers,” he said.
He, however, said that INEC’s stance on the development, showed that it was free from any interference from the APC and was not working for it as the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) claimed.
“May I remind all of us, that we had primaries in Zamfara which was affected by conflicts but the process allows for three different options.
“You could go for indirect primaries which is an electoral college, you could go for direct that allows every card member of the party to vote for their chosen candidates and then thirdly, you could go by consensus.
“We have the right under the Constitution to exhaust these options and we did so,” Issa-Onilu stressed.
He recalled that in Kano State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not conduct primaries and did not take any of the above options and INEC had not said anything about it.
According to Issa-Onilu, INEC accepted the names of all the candidates submitted by the PDP in Kano state.
He added that this was a fact that could not be denied, saying that the APC would, however, not raise dust over the issue with INEC, because it is a very critical institution to the success of the elections.
He said the party would continue to trust and work with all institutions, following due process to ensure they did the right thing, because it believed that strong institutions were critical to the country’s development.
On the APC’s reaction to the allegation by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) that President Muhammadu Buhari was not fit to re-contest the presidency, Issa-Onilu said the president was as fit as a fiddle.
“I will not honour the so-called CUPP with any response because they don’t exist,” he said.
According to him, the members of the CUPP are looking for space to team up with Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, as he has promised, so that when he gets to power, they will continue where they stopped.
The APC spokesman maintained that the coming elections would be a disaster for the PDP.
He, however, added that all efforts of the PDP to scuttle and blackmail INEC, the institution responsible for the conduct of elections and smear the image of President Muhammadu Buhari, had failed.
“The president is hale and hearty, they started by saying the president will pass on his responsibility to campaign to the leader of the party Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, that he was not fit enough to go round the country to talk to the people.
“But we have been doing well, more than their so called healthy presidential candidate, the President is still going round the country, as I am speaking, he is in Kano before a massive crowd never seen before.
“He has gone to lands where ordinarily you never expected anybody to come out, he got massive welcome, so we can understand where this is coming from,” he said.
He said the President had insisted that he would visit the 36 states of the federation because he was strong enough.
Issa-Onilu added that if this was a miracle to the CUPP, they should understand that when God is involved, things worked differently.