By Emmanuel Mogbede
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has insisted it held primaries in Zamfara contrary to the stance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
This is contained in a letter signed by the party’s National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, and served on INEC on Tuesday in Abuja.
INEC had held that the party was not eligible to field candidates for Governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly elections in Zamfara in 2019.
The commission had said that the party failed to conduct primaries in the state in line with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
The commission in a letter signed by its Acting Secretary, Mr Okechukwu Ndeche, had accused the party of not conducting the primaries within the stipulated time-frame specified by the Electoral Act.
The letter reads in part: “please refer to the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 general elections released by the commission on Jan. 9 2018.
“You would note that from the timetable the conduct of primaries is scheduled to take place between Aug.18 and Oct. 7.
“However, report received from our office in Zamfara state shows that no primaries were conducted by your party in Zamfara, notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilised and deployed.
“Consequently, based on the provision of Section 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, the commission does not expect that your party will submit names of any candidate from Zamfara state’’.
Oshiomhole in a response, said: “We wish to state emphatically that nothing can be farther from the actual situation in Zamfara State’’.
He said the party had sent a comprehensive report to INEC from the Zamfara Electoral Committee of the APC.
According to Oshiomhole, the report is signed by APC members on the conduct of the primary elections in Zamfara held between Oct.6 and Oct.7
Oshiomhole however said all the aspirants met at City King Hotel, Gusau, to find a truce following the high level of friction, disagreements and threatened violence by various political camps before the primaries.
“After hours of intense horse-trading, a consensus was reached within the spirit and context of the Electoral Act and the Constitution of our party,’’ he said.
He further explained that it was on the basis of the above that a list of successful candidates was produced which was later confirmed and affirmed by the delegates.
He said the process was carried out in strict compliance with Section 87 (6) of the 2010 amended Electoral Act.
Oshiomhole, therefore, added that INEC`s claim that no primaries were conducted by the party in Zamfara could only be referring to their observation that actual voting did not take place.
He said primary election was not the only mode prescribed for producing party candidates for elections in the 2010 amended Electoral Act.
The APC national chairman, however, referred lNEC to its timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 general elections.
He noted that the timetable stated that all political parties were expected to submit a list of their candidates on or before Oct. 18 after exhausting all internal procedures for appeals arising from congresses.
“As a party, we are in the process of exhausting those internal procedures before forwarding the names of our candidates to you.
“We are perplexed that you did not wait for us to submit the names of our candidates in Zamfara State, considering that the time within which such submission should take place has not elapsed.
“This is more so, when we received no correspondence from the commission at least to inquire from our party the true state of affairs in Zamfara, in the spirit of fair hearing,’’ Oshiomhole said.
He however, noted that the Peoples Democratic Party did not also hold primaries in Kano, adding that no such letter was written to the party by the commission.
“It is our contention, in the circumstance, that your letter is not only pre-emptive, but your position seems to negate the spirit of any fair hearing,’’ he said.
According to him, INEC’s stance has no backing of the law.
He, therefore, said the party would be presenting candidates for Governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly elections in Zamfara for the 2019 general elections having complied with the rules.
He said the party was on the verge of submitting its candidates before Oct.18 deadline set by the commission in line with Section 87 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.