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INEC Bars APC From Fielding Candidates In Zamfara, APC Fights Back

Valentine Chinyem

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The Independent National Electoral Commision, (INEC) has informed The All Progressives Congress (APC) that it will not be eligible to field candidates for elective offices in Zamfara State during the 2019 general elections, as the party failed to meet up with the Commission’s deadline on submission of candidates for next year general elections.

According to the memo titled, “Failure To Conduct Party Primaries in Zamfara State Within The Stipulated Time Frame”, and signed by the INEC acting secretary, Okechukwu Ndeche.

The memo reads in part: “You would note from the timetable that the conduct of party primaries is scheduled to take place between 18th August and 7th October 2018.

“Kindly also refer to the last schedule communicated by your party to the commission on the dates of party primaries nationwide, including Zamfara vide your letter Ref. APC/NHDQ/ INEC/19/18/51 dated 3rd Oct. 2018.

“However, report received from our office in Zamfara State shows that no primaries were conducted by your party in the state, Notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilized and deployed.”

INEC further noted that its stance to declare APC ineligible to field candidates, was premised on the provisions of Section 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), and submitted that “the commission does not expect that your party will submit names of any candidates from Zamfara State.

“For clarity, our position is that the All Progressives Congress (APC), will not be fielding candidates for the governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly Elections in Zamfara state for the 2019 for the general elections.”

However, Oshiomhole replied INEC saying: “The summary of the report, as you will find, is that following the high level of friction, disagreements and threatened violence by various political camps before the primaries, all the aspirants met at City King Hotel, Gusau, to find a truce.

“After hours of intense horse-trading, a consensus was reached within the spirit and context of the Electoral Act and the constitution of our party on the basis of which a list was produced which was confirmed/affirmed by all delegates present.

“Therefore, the claim in your letter under reference that “no primaries were conducted by your party In the state, notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilized and deployed” could only be referring to their observation that actual voting did not take place, which is not the only mode prescribed for producing candidates in the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). We, therefore, affirm that indeed primaries took place in Zamfara State.

“Please also refer to the lNEC’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections released by the Commission on the 9th January, 2018. By that timetable, all political parties are expected to submit a list of their candidates on or before 18th of October, 2018, after exhausting all internal procedures for Appeals arising out of the congresses.

“As a party, we are in the process of exhausting those internal procedures before forwarding the names of our candidates to you. We are perplexed that you did not wait for us to submit the names of our candidates in Zamfara State (considering that the time within which such submission should take place has not elapsed) before raising your observation in your letter under reference.

“If you raise further observations after you receive our list of candidates, we shall be glad to clarify them. Please accept the assurances of our highest regards.”

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