ABDULAZIZ Yari, the Governor of Zamfara State says it was the wish of Allah that the APC lost Zamfara State.
Yari said this while addressing some APC supporters who had come to the Government House to show solidarity with him on Saturday, according to his spokesperson, Ibrahim Dosara.
We would have loved “to provide more dividends of democracy to the people of the state, but as Allah wanted it, the supreme court judgement went the way it happened”, Dosara quoted Yari as saying.
The Governor added that they (the APC) did everything possible to ensure that the state did not slip from their fingers.
Timeline of events
However, chronological analysis of the events that eventually culminated in APC losing Zamfara State suggests that Yari was, in fact, the main architect of the party’s misfortune in the state.
It was his quest to foist his desired candidate, Mukhtar Shehu, his current commissioner for finance, as the APC governorship candidate, that tore the party into two factions, with the other group loyal to Kabiru Marafa, a serving Senator who also wanted the governorship slot.
Yari refused to cooperate with the members of the APC National Working Committee that were sent to the state to conduct the governorship primary election. He accused the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, of bias, saying that the NWC members he sent to conduct the primary election were on an assignment to rig the process.
The governor threatened outright violence against the NWC members should they dare to set foot in Zamfara State.
His exact words: “I am warning members of that committee that they should never come to Zamfara, they should never put their legs in this state, and anything that happens to them, Adams Oshiomhole should be held responsible.”
On several occasions where a date and venue were agreed for the governorship primary election to hold, the exercise ended in a fight between the two factions. (Even at the Supreme Court premises on Friday, members of both factions also exchanged blows.) On one occasion, however, both factions held parallel primary elections, none of which was recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Attempts to foist on INEC the candidates that emerged from the Yari-faction failed initially as INEC would have none of it. However, following a judgement of a state high court, the electoral commission had no option than to readmit the APC into the ballot, and the party went on to record a resounding victory in the governorship, state assembly and federal legislative elections.
The Marafa-faction took the matter to the Court of Appeal, where the judgement of the lower court was overturned and the matter was decided in favour of the appellant, which means that INEC was right to have barred the APC from the election in the first place.
The judgement of the Court of Appeal was upheld on Friday by a five-man panel of judges, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed, and the sum of N10 million awarded against the appellant, which, in this case, was the Yari-faction.
INEC has already declared the Peoples Democratic Party the winner of the 2019 elections in Zamfara State. This means that Bello Matawalle, the governorship candidate of the PDP in the election, is now the governor-elect and would be sworn into office on May 29.
Asides Matawalle, 34 other PDP candidates in the election are having the last laugh at the moment as they have all been returned elected.
Only one of the State Assembly position, that of Maru south state constituency, will be held by Kabiru Hassan of the National Rescue Movement (NRM).
Announcing the decision, INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, stressed the importance of political parties adhering to the rules of election practice in the country.
“I wish to seize this opportunity to draw the attention of all stakeholders, but particularly the political parties, to the implications of the supreme court judgment on the Zamfara matter,” he said.
“It is clear that properly conducted party primaries are cardinal to the proper internal functioning of political parties, the electoral process and our democratic system at large.
“Therefore, political parties must take very seriously the conduct of primaries according to all extant rules, including the monitoring of the processes by INEC to avoid a repeat of the Zamfara experience.”