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Court will determine my next move in APC – Marafa

Court will determine my next move in APC – Marafa

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The lawmaker representing Zamfara Central Senatorial District, Senator Kabiru Marafa, in this interview with LEKE BAIYEWU talks about the crisis in the All Progressives Congress in Zamfara State and his grouse with Governor Abdulaziz Yari

Members of your APC faction in Zamfara State were at the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the party’s national convention on Saturday but were prevented from entering the arena. What actually happened?

It was largely because the outgoing National Working Committee of the APC had met and considered the reports from each state by the committees sent out to conduct the congresses. Nobody communicated that to me and they gave factions loyal to the state governors a clean bill of health. Those were the factions that were eventually recognised. It is only natural that if your faction was not recognised, definitely, they would not be allowed into the convention venue. That was what happened.

If you were aware that your faction was not recognised, why did you make the attempt to attend the event?

I told you that nobody communicated that to me; so, I didn’t know. When the NWC met and took that decision, it might be either they found us too inconsequential to even communicate to us or they just felt like ‘we can go and do our worst, for all they cared’. Whichever way, I was not told. Naturally, my supporters and the delegates, being ardent supporters of the President (Muhammadu Buhari), they deemed it necessary to be at the convention to support my party, a party that I contributed to its formation from the first day, and as a very loyal party member. At the inception of the 8th Assembly, the party gave out directives and I was one of the senators who complied with the party’s directives to do what the party wanted but, unfortunately, this is what happened. I am not bothered because life is like that; you don’t always reap where you’ve sown.

There are fears that the APC factions, who were not recognised as delegates, will be aggrieved and may dump the party after the convention. What options are you and your followers considering?

No. I cannot speak for anybody but I can speak for myself, that I am part and parcel of the APC. If it were the (defunct) All Nigerians Peoples Party on which platform I contested election in 2011 and won, maybe, I could say some people own it. ANPP was not my party or the party that I contributed to its formation. I was in the Peoples Democratic Party until 2011. When the PDP decided to treat me in ways similar to the ways the APC is treating me today in Zamfara, ANPP came and gave me their platform to contest because they had a vehicle with which they could travel to a destination but they did not have enough fuel in the vehicle. I had fuel in my jerry can but I didn’t have the vehicle with which to travel to the destination. We both met and contributed. They gave me their platform and I gave them fuel – the people – I was with the people. We both drove and reached our destination. The governor won his election as Governor of Zamfara State and I won my election as senator representing Zamfara-Central. So, I cannot claim to have had a very serious stake in the ANPP like I have now in the APC.

Are you going to court?

Of course, yes! Why not? I have to. I have no choice. I am going to challenge the decision because it is satanic. We are all APC members. If there were problems, they should have solved them before the convention. They (Yari’s faction) did not comply with the guidelines but I did. The party stated that anybody, who was desirous of contesting any positions of the party, should go to certain banks – seven banks – and make payments that correspond with the positions they wanted to contest. They were to present the teller and get the nomination forms. They were to fill the forms and return them not later than 24 hours before the commencement of the election (congress). Our people, numbering about 5, 000, made the payments and duly complied with necessary party guidelines.

We met with the chairman of the congress committee; in fact he called us to come and pick our forms. We went to his hotel room, exchanged greetings and he asked for our tellers. We brought out the tellers and he said he did not have the forms. We asked him about the government’s side (faction), if they presented their tellers to him before obtaining the forms. He said he asked them but they did not have the tellers. Apparently, what the headquarters (of the APC) did was to undertake the forms to the governors which is wrong.

Do you see the new NWC of the APC, with Adams Oshiomhole as National Chairman, being able to resolve the crises in the ruling party, particularly the one between you and Governor Abdulaziz Yari?

I think my own case has even gone beyond him already. I have absolute confidence in Oshiomhole. I know him, I have interacted with him closely and we have discussed. He knows about these problems before he came in. He was at the National Assembly to solicit our votes and support. I duly informed him about the situation in Zamfara. I am already in court; what is remaining is for him to be served. I don’t think it is an issue he can resolve now. I don’t know but I want to be fair to him as my friend, brother and senior colleague; that is why I don’t even want to take the matter before him. The differences we have with the government’s side in Zamfara are irreconcilable because I am saying that I want election and the reason is very simple: the best way you can play politics and do it with less problems is when you allow people to choose their leaders. I am saying ‘go for election’ and somebody is saying ‘no, we are not going for election, we want to do consensus’. Any politician that is afraid of election has no business in politics. I don’t see the Oshiomhole-led NWC saying ‘no, go and conduct a fresh election’ or ‘we are going to upturn the ruling of the former NWC’ and recognise the Marafa faction against Yari’s. I don’t deceive myself, I don’t tell myself lies. So, I don’t see him doing so. It is the court that can solve the problem.

You recently announced your governorship ambition. Now that Yari is in charge of the APC structure in Zamfara, what are your chances of getting the ticket?

He has taken over the structure of his own faction and I have taken over the structure of my own faction. I have my own faction and he has his own. I don’t want to contest in his faction, I don’t even give a damn about his faction. I don’t even know who is there and I don’t want to know. I have my own faction and I am going to contest on the platform of my own faction. That is why I said the differences are irreconcilable. The court will give a ruling to say that it is Marafa’s faction that is the authentic faction and from then on, there is no problem; or that Yari’s faction is the authentic faction. Then I will know that I don’t have a structure and move to my plan B.

What is your Plan B?

When the time comes, everybody will know my next plan.

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