Lawmaker representing Kaura Namoda/Birnin Magaji federal constituency at the House of Representatives and one of the governorship aspirants of the APC in Zamfara State, Hon Sani Jaji Aminu has assured that there is no cause for alarm as he is assured that Zamfara All Progressives Congress (APC) will field candidates for the forthcoming general election in 2019.
In this interview with Sundiata Post Assistant News Editor, Chibuike Nwabuko, the lawmaker alleged that the insecurity in Zamfara state affected the completion of the process.
QSTN: Honorable, Where are we in Zamfara State with respect to 2019 general election?
We are on the right track as a political party, what other political parties and INEC are saying, I don’t know where they are getting it from and the angle they are coming from. Because going by the electoral act, APC in Zamfara State started the process in accordance with the INEC guidelines. And then we engaged ourselves in two as directed by the party constitution – one is direct primary and the other one is the issue of consensus. So we started and everybody in Nigeria is aware of the current situation in the country with respect to the insecurity in Zamfara State. So you should not expect that the way others conducted their primaries, is the way Zamfara will conduct their own.
Even you (the media), are reporting the issue of insecurity in Zamfara State day in day out. So it is what we should look at and follows it carefully so that whatever we are going to do, we have to make sure we do it in accordance with the law to make sure that the lives and property of our citizens are protected. So we cannot because of our own aspiration do something that go contrary to section 14 of Nigerian constitution. So we started primaries in Zamfara and the only issue that we have is that it was inconclusive.
Just like in general election, you can start today and the electoral officer decides for some reasons and said that the election is inconclusive. Will you say that there is no election in that place? That is the issue and that is exactly what happened in Zamfara State. So in compliance with the INEC guideline, we started our primaries within 6th and 7th of October but we couldn’t complete it to a logical conclusion. But it is a process which was started at the right time and it will take you up to another day or another time even if it’ s is not within the stipulated time but provided you have started within the stipulated time, there is no problem at all and that is how it what happened.
Recall that you can start primary today and finish it the next day or next week but the most important thing is to start the process and we have started the process and we didn’t conclude for security reasons. But it is important to know that on the 7th, the process was up to 80 to 85 percent concluded. But all of a sudden we just saw a letter going round from the Independent National Electoral Ccommission (INEC) that there was no primaries in Zamfara and that they have failed to submit a list to INEC to field a candidate. I was surprised and I asked, Is it that INEC I know which used to be independent is now being manipulated by other small political parties or what? I don’t want to believe that there is a conspiracy from within or something. So I couldn’t believe how INEC rush into that announcement and conclusion.
QSTN: Honourable, who do you think is conspiring with INEC?
You know that there are other small political parties and opposition parties who are not on ground in the state that cannot even produce a counselor. They may decide to do that knowing that in a normal electoral process, they cannot get anything. So they may decide to use this method.
QSTN: Sir these small opposition parties you are talking about, were they the ones that made APC not to conclude the primaries they started?
NO no no! What I am saying is that for INEC to jump into such conclusion is surprising again other political parties including PDP, none did primaries in Zamfara State. Nobody noticed that they were doing anything. So that is why I said that there is conspiracy along the line.
QSTN: Honourable, in black and white Sir, we have about three months and few days to 2019 general election, INEC has insisted that APC has no candidate in Zamfara State, what is your position sir.
My position about it is that actions of INEC and APC are guided by law and it is only court of competent jurisdiction that can interpret that. So it is the court that will give verdict that everyone of us must follow, including the INEC. So let’s wait for the court to make pronouncements.
QSTN: As a governorship aspirant you must be very worried with this situation
For me I am not worried, for me I am not entertaining any fear what I know is that we are going to field our candidate from governorship to the State assembly under the platform of the APC.
QSTN: Sorry sir you started with G8 and later we heard about G5, they said three people out of the G8 withdrew, are you among the three that withdrew?
No, I didn’t withdraw. But you know all these things- the way people see it is different from the way it is. You know, it is a normal aspiration. As a coalition, we came together to fight impunity. But we have our differences and we understand our differences. We came together to see how we can move forward in order to achieve a common goal and to make sure that things are going the way it is supposed to go.
QSTN: Sir, There is this rumour that the party National leadership has hand as to why the primaries in Zamfara was not concluded, is there iota of truth in it?
Honestly I don’t know, for me I even commended their efforts in ensuring that the primaries take place in Zamfara State. They tried in ensuring that a level playing ground was provided for everybody aspiring for any position in the state. You know the time I went to obtain my form, somebody from the state said that they should not give anybody expression of interest and nomination form. So I said after I have paid my money as a bonafide member of the APC and somebody is saying I am not entitles to get my forms? So straight away somebody said they should call the chairman and they called the chairman. And I said even if you don’t want to call the chairman, let us tell the media so that the whole will know that really what people are saying is about to happen. They begged me and said that the chairman said they should give me the form. And I said not only the form, you should ask the chairman to apologise on behalf of the National Working Committee (NWC) about the way they have treated me and people that followed me to obtain the forms which they did. So the governor, Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari said he wanted indirect primaries for whatever reasons, but at the same time the working committee said no, we have to go for direct primaries because of the litigation before the party in the state. So for me, the leadership did what is right. The first time when we started the primary process, some people started snatching the ballot papers and the electoral officers sent to Zamfara State called the chairman who now met with the NWC and they cancelled the election. So for me and honestly, the national working committee really cared and showed concer about all the issues in Zamfara State and they gave their utmost attention to whatever happened and took necessary steps to ensure that all the crises were amicably resolved. Honestly they tried their best and I must commend them. I appreciate them and pray for them to continue in their peaceful disposition. In fact, I was once a party chairman and I know that during party primaries and after primaries, aggrieved parties would say that things did not favour them and all that. If not because of the way the national leadership under the able chairman handled it, honestly the impunity would have been worse than what you saw.
QSTN: Now Senator Kabiru Marafa is in court, the state governor, Abdullaziz Yari and his faction are in court. How do we achieve truce with all these matters in court?
You know that to broker truce is very easy. It is to sit down with the aggrieved parties together in the interest of peace, harmony as well as in the interest of the state, to sit down together to resolve the issue of INEC. So I know the party is working so that it will resolve that one because INEC has no locustandi to stop Zamfara from fielding candidate. It is only the court that will say stop this one or do that one. When that one is resolved, this Marafa and Yari going to court is sentiment-driven and we will know how to resolve it. It is something that will take just between three to five hours to resolve because it is about sentiments and we know how to resolve that one.