Senator Kabiru Marafa, who represents Zamfara Central in the Senate, spoke on the contentious issue of APC Primaries and the implication. He warns that with his own faction of APC in the State adopting direct primary as against the indirect method adopted by the other faction the APC may be heading towards producing parallel governorship aspirants in the State. EZEOCHA NZEH presents the excerpts:
The direct and indirect primaries system has been generating serious issues within the party structure with some of the governors predisposed to the indirect primaries system. Can you tell us some of the implications if your party does not use direct primaries?
I don’t think there is any doubt, I have once said it after the conclusion of the congresses, that time, I made a very clear call that I see the activities of fifth columnists in the APC that know very well they cannot defeat President in the general election. So, the common fear is the fear of second term of President Muhammadu Buhari. Then, if you cannot beat directly, how do you beat him indirectly? So, that was why the congresses were done, deliberately in such a way that they cannot withstand legal scrutiny.
In more than 21 States, there were parallel congresses and like I said that time, I don’t need to be a lawyer; I don’t need to be retired judge to know that what held in most of the state nothing but rubbish was. Because like I said that time, it was just like somebody building an estate and putting price tag on the houses and asking the general public buying the houses to go and inspect not your choice but these are my account numbers, if you make your choice, go to the bank and pay into my account, bring your slip, I will give you the keys and after making your payments, you come back and the owner tells you that he’s sorry that no house for you. That was exactly what happened.
What then, is the rationale behind the NEC decision to adopt direct primaries for the President and left the rest open-ended?
There are some of us that are radically inclined; you can’t threaten us that is exactly what happened. Now, glory be to God, under the present leadership of the APC today, they swore that these people don’t mean well for this party, so, let us insulate ourselves our president, that is why the APC said, Presidential election is by direct primaries.
This is an admission of failure of the congresses in the States, so, I am very happy that the APC has protected the President because their intentions (the fifth columnists), people that refused to leave, people that are friends of President in the day time and worst of President in the night, that is what they wanted to use after the primaries, that maybe after general elections, people would go and re contest that the President was voted during the primary by illegal delegates and the chairman is a very wise person, highly experienced, and he has the leader of the party, Chief Asiwaju, who can see through machinations and do the right thing.
The rest is for us, States, we can sort ourselves out, we know ourselves, we know where we came from, we know all is political.
Particularly to Zamfara State, with respect to the last congresses that were parallel, do you have confidence that the system will be free and fair?
There are peculiarities from one State to another. In my own State, I don’t have any problem. I wrote the party through my lawyers because I am in court, I am challenging the illegality of these congresses and I have absolute confidence in my God, I have confidence in the judicial system of Nigeria, I believe they are going to do the right thing, because it cannot stand anywhere even if the government own its system, it is the judge I present to my case will decide, if the court says cannot and should not and never be allowed to stand, because it is my turn today, it could be their turn or anybody tomorrow, it could be you.
Having seen that we conducted parallel congresses, I don’t recognize what they have; they don’t recognize what I have. The party here is at liberty to do what they want to do, the very NWC recognised a faction but thank God, we have the judiciary, we are there, I believe it may take some time, but the judiciary will do the right thing.
So, we opted for direct primaries and the reason is simple. We don’t want to be like them, we don’t want to be selfish, we want APC to win Zamfara, they don’t want APC to win Zamfara, they don’t want APC to win Nigeria. There are some of the technicalities on those things but it doesn’t matter. If the APC headquarters wakes up tomorrow and say that, like I said, we have written, they have written also, they said they want indirect, we said we want direct, it is for the APC headquarters to determine what manner of primary.
If Zamfara APC says go for indirect, I will do my direct with my own set of executive, they will do their indirect with their own set of executive. So, when the time comes for the court to rule, if they say Marafa is right, I am going home and retire. Thank God I have done business before I came to Senate.
I take risk, I am a risk taker and I don’t believe in those following sheepishly and uselessly, I will never do that I will never succumb to that kind of insults. That’s the reality of Zamfara.