National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, on Wednesday, told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it does not have legal basis to bar the party from fielding governorship, National Assembly and House of Assembly candidates in Zamfara State for the 2019 general elections.
Oshiomhole was reacting to a letter from INEC to the party that since it did not conduct primaries in the North-West state, the commission will not recognise any candidate on the platform of the party.
To Oshiomhole, it would be illegal for INEC to do that.
Oshiomhole insisted, in a letter to INEC, that the party’s primaries were not conducted the way the commission expected.
According to him, what the party did was consensus rather than direct primaries as earlier scheduled.
“It is our contention, in the circumstance, that your letter is not only preemptive, but your position seems to negate the spirit of any fair hearing and is devoid of legal basis.
“Be informed, that in the spirit of due compliance with the law, we affirm that we shall indeed be presenting candidates for Governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly Elections in Zamfara State for the 2019 General elections before the deadline for submission of such names which has been fixed by your Commission on the 18th of October, 2018 and in line with section 87 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
“If you raise further observations after you receive our list of candidates, we shall be glad to clarify them”, he said.
Oshiomhole declared that a similar situation happened in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano State but the Commission did not write the opposition party to say it cannot field a candidate.
Oshiomhole said: “We refer to your letter on the above subject matter (Ref: lNEC/SEC/654/1/330) dated 9th October, 2018 and addressed to our National Chairman.
“The contents of your said letter seem to conclude that no primaries were conducted by the APC in Zamfara State.
“We wish to state emphatically that nothing can be farther from the actual situation in Zamfara State.
“Kindly find attached a comprehensive report from the Zamfara Electoral Committee of the All Progressives Congress and signed by all the members on the conduct of primary elections for the Zamfara State held between 6th & 7‘h October, 2018. The summary of the report, as you will find, is that following the high level of friction, disagreements and threatened violence by various political camps before the primaries, all the aspirants met at City King Hotel, Gusau, to find a truce. 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 on the basis of which a list was produced which was confirmed/affirmed by all delegates present. This was done in strict compliance with section 87 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as Amended).
“Therefore, the claim in your letter under reference that ”no primaries were concluded by your party in the state, notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilized and deployed” could only be referring to their observation that actual voting did not take place, which is not the only mode prescribed for producing candidates in the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). We, therefore, affirm that indeed primaries took place in Zamfara State.
“Please also refer to the lNEC’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections released by the Commission on the 9th January, 2018.
“By that timetable all political parties are expected to submit a list of their candidates on or before 18th of October, 2018, after exhausting all internal procedures for Appeals arising out of the 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) before raising your observation in your letter under reference. 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 State, in the spirit of fair hearing, before making haste to write your letter. We, however note that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not also hold primaries in Kano, but no such similar letter was written to the PDP in relation to Kano State.”