Politics

Zamfara lawmaker accused Gov of being responsible for election postponement

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The senator representing Zamfara Central, Kabiru Marafa, has accused his state governor, Abdulaziz Yari, of causing the postponement of the general elections.

Mr Marafa, who described the postponement as unfortunate, called on all relevant authorities to hold the governor responsible for it.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in the early hours of Saturday, said it could no longer go ahead with the election.

The Chairman of the commission, Mahmoud Yakubu, announced the decision just hours before the opening of the polls, after repeatedly assuring Nigerians and international observers he was ready for the crucial elections.

The announcement followed a stakeholders meeting which lasted for hours.

The commission stated logistics and operational plans as reasons, noting that both elections would be shifted by a week each. The presidential and National Assembly elections will now hold on February 23 while state elections will hold on March 9.

Mr Marafa in a statement on Sunday said Governor Yari had ‘boasted’ that if his candidates are not included in the ballot paper, there will not be elections in the country.

“During the grand finale of his illegal campaign rallies in his hometown, Talata Mafara, Zamfara on Friday, 8th February, he rained abuses and said unprintable things on the person of INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood, and swore that unless his candidates are enlisted to contest, there won’t be elections in Zamfara state and the entire country. Now it has come to pass, what next?

“I’m calling on the authorities to hold Yari and his accomplices responsible for this treasonable sabotage against the country, Nigerians and humanity in general. Just search on the internet, including YouTube, you will see the stories and videos of where Yari stated emphatically that unless his candidates are accepted, elections won’t hold in Zamfara state and Nigeria,” he said.

The lawmaker further explained that when Mr Yari conducted “illegal primaries”, he drew the attention of Nigerians and the world on the dangers inherent in accepting the ”abuse of the laws”.

“Instead of being reprimanded, Yari went ahead to the courts to legalise his illegality. Today, the APC has abandoned its earlier position, that it only had a consensus, to supporting Yari’s illegal election. This is very sad and unfortunate.

“I am not surprised that immediately after the announcement of the postponement, Yari’s boys rushed to the media, radio stations jubilating that they have succeeded. This unfortunate incidence should be probed and condemned by all lovers of the country.

“This is the time to tell Yari and his co-travellers, that Nigeria is bigger than them and their collective ambitions,” he added.

Mr Marafa, a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said Mr Yari’s notion of “if he doesn’t get it, nobody should”, is against the teachings of Islam, the laws and morality combined.

He also said, “Only a positive pronouncement from the court of appeal, not the desperation of a satanic lawyer and a mad governor or anybody can change the status quo of Zamfara APC.”

Efforts to get the reaction of Governor Yari’s Special Adviser on Media, Ibrahim Dosara, were unsuccessful as he did not respond to calls and a text message sent to him.

The electoral commission had declined to accept APC candidates in Zamfara State because, according to the commission, the party failed to meet the deadline for holding primaries.

This prompted the justice minister, Abubakar Malami, to write INEC asking it to accept candidates of the APC for various offices in Zamfara State.

The letter dated February 13, 2019, was personally signed by Mr Malami where he also requested for extension of time to allow Zamfara chapter of the party to “catch up”.

He said he based his recommendation on Sections 38 and 39 of the Electoral Act.

Mr Malami’s letter has been criticised by senior lawyers who said he has no authority over INEC, an independent organisation.

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