Federal lawmaker representing Zamfara Central senatorial district at the National Assembly, Senator Kabiru Marafa is an astute politician who, without mincing words, speaks truth to power when it matters most.
In this no-hold- barred interview with Sundiata Post’s Assistant News Editor, Chibuike Nwabuko, Senator Marafa bares his mind on the cause of the crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state and the actors and actions behind the killing of some citizens in the state.
Senator Kabiru Marafa representing Zamfara Central senatorial district.
QSTN: Sir how do you describe this conundrum with APC in Zamfara state.
There is no conundrum in Zamfara, there was no election and there was no election simple. There were serious problems that culminated into the party’s inability to conduct elections. So now, we are waiting to hear from the party and legal luminaries across the country that may be, the party may consult because it an issue that is unusual. So there is no haste to it to me. As pressmen, I think first thing is for you to confirm the authenticity of the letter first of all.
QSTN: If I may add something here sir, the party secretariat has acknowledged the receipt of this letter.
Cuts in: Did they tell you?
QSTN: We are on the know
Cuts In: You are not; you just saw stamp “received” nothing more. I can make a stamp like that, write a letter and say it from you. So what is difficult about calling INEC to this? Have you done so? If they say yes, then you continue from there. You should help the society from some of these things. You see press releases sometimes, when the chips are down, you hear it’s a lie or it’s not true. So what is difficult with going to INEC first to confirm so that whoever you are interviewing, you will speak authoritatively that yes, the letter is from INEC I want to hear your view.
Like me now I am just coming from the chambers, I saw the breaking news when I was entering the chamber. Now letter on when I checked the letter, my first observation was that it was not on letter head. I have never received any letter from INEC so I don’t know who normally signs there letter. This one is signed by the Acting Secretary, where the secretary is but most importantly where is it not on letter head. See, even small me I have letter headed paper how much more an institution as INEC. There is no way senate as institution will write a letter on a plain paper.
QSTN: Since the beginning of this present democracy in 1999 till date there has never been this kind of scenario that is playing out in Zamfara, how do you see the actions of the governor of Zamfara State?
Now, that is a very serious issue for a governor to now say that election should continue when a valid panel constituted to carry out the election cancelled the election, that is number one.
Two, the governor went ahead to collate result by himself or his men in total disregard of the committee decision that elections are cancelled. Now that action fuelled the violence that led to loss of lives – about six (6) people were killed and more than one hundred people injured most of them women. Now, who is responsible for this act of violence?
For a governor to insist that election should continue when it is cancelled. Next, the same governor directed that the national assembly elections be carried out by the same men not the committee sent by the party to conduct the election. Again, he went ahead and collated result of state and national assembly elections. He was on air declaring result by the chairman of his faction whom the party categorically said he should not take part in that election. Who a competent court asked not to take part in anything that would render useless the subject matter of litigation to the court.
Now, where are we heading to? If you take the action this governor and situate it at national level, these are the kind of people that can cause war in a country. Now supposing President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2015 decided to do what this governor is doing now during the 2019 election that was so hot and keenly contested by the parties, now if President Jonathan at that time decided to invite his party chairman and invite all the media houses and declare result and say that it is him and the senators and members of his House of Representatives that won election, do you think that there will be Nigeria now and even if there is Nigeria what will it look like?
So this is a very serious crime that all reasonable people in this country are supposed to look at, digest and advice on what should be done to avert this kind of things. This is a crime that should not be left unpunished because it is a very bad precedent that has been set. Today it is Zamfara state we are lucky that very little happened, but if it is allowed and another governor tomorrow decides to do the same thing, the consequences will be far-reaching and may be unacceptable. Then if this kind of politicians that are leaving government houses now found their way into national politics, and decides to do this kind of irresponsible behavior, then people need to look at it and see. If Abiola then decided to come, even though he tried, now look at what happened to him, he was instantly arrested. So though he has immunity now, I think all the people that participated in that criminal act are supposed to be brought to book and I think all Nigerians need to lend their voices on this issue until justice is meted out otherwise we will be laying a very dangerous precedence that will put the lives of so many people on the line and wanton destruction of properties of the people.
Distinguished, I know that such election does not take place without the participation of official participation of INEC, were they involved in this that we are talking about in Zamfara State?
INEC is a responsible organization and let me put it this way, this is a party affair but as party affair the party was given this right by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and by extension the party’s constitution also. So INEC are there as observers and monitor and I am sure that INEC will not participate in a process from the time the legally constituted committee mentioned that elections are cancelled. No agency of government will participate in that thing because they know it is criminal but I am not sure but you can find out this is part of your job, he said.
But for all I know, is that the commissioner of Police was not there, but initially when the main exercise was taking place in the police headquarters for protection, that is where the committee met as their collation centre. So from the moment they cancelled the election, they left the state and the police cleared everything and there was nobody in the police headquarters. So where ever the governor took the collation centre to, police were not there, I know that the DSS were not there, I know the commandant of Civil Defense and other security agencies were not there. Because all of them were at the collation centre to provide security for the committee because the committee was on a legal assignment in the state. Any political party that constituted a committee that has wide followership and ask for protection for security agencies will be obliged. But from the very moment they said elections are cancelled, that is the end of it. So from that point whoever attends the other processes is also culpable. But I can tell you authoritatively because I was in Gusau that all these agencies were not there and NTA was not there to cover this thing. Even the day he was declaring results, NTA did not attend his own, NTA attended that of the committee sent from Abuja where the committee told the world that there was no election in Zamfara.
In attendance also at the venue where the media briefing was done, the commissioner of police, Director of DSS, the committee was there and all the contestants except the ones declared by the governor were also there. So this is a very serious issue that needs to be looked at critically.
QSTN: At this point Sir, what is your own message to the All Progressives Congress (APC)?
My message to them is that they must descent heavily and quickly on the action of the governor because they have a duty to protect the party and the process. If this kind of attitude is allowed to go unpunished, then it is setting a bad precedent for others to follow and only God knows who is going to copy it, where and what the consequences will be.