Yari and lessons from Zamfara

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Following the awful turn of events in the All Progressives Congress in Zamfara State leading to the Supreme Court’s declaration of all the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidates as winners in the last governorship, National and State Assembly elections, and a ruling that the APC did not hold valid party primaries as required by law, it is pertinent to re-examine the background of the problem to determine where the faultline actually emerged and who propelled it.

Apparently, many Nigerians appear not to have forgotten the fact that Governor Abdullaziz Yari had sued the party and INEC in the Gusau Federal High Court and the state High Court, prior to the landmark apex court declaration, while the Senator Kabir Marafa camp only joined to defend the rights of its members.

The team, viewing the judiciary as the last hope of the common man, strived to defend itself in the belief that no matter how long it took, the truth would always prevail over falsehood, especially as all knew that the APC could not conduct primaries in Zamfara State.

The Marafa team only strategised itself to ensure strict adherence to the rule of law and due process, with the firm belief that only that would take the country to the next level as being advocated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

At this point, it is pertinent to re-echo to the public fore, the role played by Yari in the efforts of the APC in 2015 to produce the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly, but because he lost, he is now trying to create the impression that he masterminded the recent success of both Femi Gbajabiamila and Senator Ahmed Lawal in the 9th Assembly, the very people he dealt with, along with all those that supported them at that time.

Prior to the National Assembly leadership tussle, the killings in Zamfara continued unabated, giving well-meaning people sleeplessness, while it was obvious that Yari was clueless on what to do about it, even as he didn’t want it reported, because he felt it would affect his political influence.

When then Senator Marafa started initiating discussions on it on the floor of the Senate, Yari was unsettled and threatened to retire Marafa completely in 2019.

When the congresses of the party were announced in early 2018, Yari moved to actualize his threat by edging Marafa and anybody known to be with him from the leadership of the party at state, local govt and ward levels.

Marafa’s supporters that were denied participation in the congresses organized their own parallel congress after promptly complaining to the party headquarters through the party mechanisms, only for the panels sent to address the problems to fail to do so, followed painfully by the NWC’s endorsement of the Yari faction. This forced Marafa to approach the court, which issued an order restraining both factions from participating in the party primaries in the state.

Subsequently, the NWC under the new leadership of Chief Adams Oshiomhole prescribed direct primaries for Zamfara APC to avoid running foul of the law, but as it turned out, unhappy with the party’s decision, Yari vowed to frustrate any effort to produce candidates except his anointed ones.

He then directed his state faction exco to conduct primaries and asked the court to compel the APC to receive and forward the results of his primaries to INEC and compel INEC to accept the list.

While the state High Court in Gusau granted Yari’s request, both the Appeal and Supreme Courts unanimously rejected his request and declared that the APC had no candidates as at close of primaries on October 7, 2018.

It is worthy to note here that the APC national headquarters failed to call Yari and his supporters to order, even after the violence that claimed the lives of six people and injuries to more than 250. It was shocking to see the APC turning around to support Yari, affirming that they conducted primaries, a position the Supreme Court gravely faulted, ordering the APC to pay the Marafa group N30million damages.

As it is, any well-meaning and peace-loving person could decipher the origin of the problems of the APC in Zamfara, and the particular figures or personalities that fanned it. The public is also left to judge who is actually after his personal interest, and who is fighting for the generality of the Zamfara people, especially with a judgment that is seen as a victory for democracy, triumph of truth over falsehood and redeemer of the integrity of the judiciary.

Tajo writes from Kaduna

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