The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has insisted that the commission has not changed its position that the APC in Zamfara State will not field candidates for all elective positions in 2019.
Prof. Yakubu spoke yesterday on the sideline of the ongoing three-day validation workshop on the study of the cost of election.
The event was organised by the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) in Abuja.
“On Zamfara, nothing has changed. We have said it and we have earlier issued a statement on the position of things and that still remains our position,” the INEC chairman, who is also the President of ECONEC, said at the workshop that focused on the cost of election in the ECOWAS sub-region.
When contacted on phone yesterday, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, voiced optimism that the electoral body would change its stand when the party furnished it with all the information on the issue.
“We reacted to that last week. We wrote a letter, stating clearly that we had a primary exercise in Zamfara State. We told them the venue. And the guidelines allow that if there is post-primary crisis, we have enough time to resolve it. And that is why you have up to October 18 to submit finally.
“So, what we have been doing is within the guidelines. We have not flouted any rule. We believe that INEC doesn’t have all the information. By the time we furnish them with all the information at our disposal, they will change their position,” said Malam Issa-Onilu.
INEC had barred the APC in Zamfara State from fielding candidates for any position during the 2019 general elections in a letter to the ruling party’s National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
The letter, signed by the acting secretary of the commission, Okechukwu Ndeche, said it received reports from its Zamfara office indicating that no primaries were conducted in the state “notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilised and deployed.”
But the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, in its reaction to INEC in a statement said the party had already arrived at a consensus before the deadline.
Meanwhile, the National Rescue Movement (NRM) has said it would accommodate APC members willing to defect to the party after their party’s failure to nominate candidates for elective positions in Zamfara State for the 2019 general elections.
The national chairman of the party, Senator Saidu Dansadau, told Daily Trust, in an exclusive interview that the PDP was never a threat and would have come third behind the APC, which is also going to come second after the NRM in the state.
He said the party met the INEC deadline on submission of candidates for elective positions including himself as the governorship candidate in Zamfara, 13 other governorship candidates across the country, with Usman Ibrahim Alhaji as their presidential candidate and national and state assembly candidates.
On his part, the chairman of PDP in Zamfara, Senator Hassan Nasiha, said it was nemesis that caught up with APC in the state.
On whether they would accept members of the APC, Senator Nasiha said it would not be his sole decision.
“First you will have to take into cognizance, the pros and cons of an issue; and if at all we decided to go that way, it should be an alliance or something like that. Even the alliance will not be 100 per cent, there must be conditions to be met,” he said.
Sources said some APC aspirants in Zamfara had approached other smaller political parties with a view to securing their tickets in the event their party failed to secure clearance from INEC.
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