From Ahmad Ibrahim, Gusau
For peace, progress and successes of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to reign in Zamfara State, truce was brokered in February this year by the two factions of Senator Kabiru Marafa and former Governor Abdul Aziz Yari Abubakar, but a thunderous twist that shook and still shaking the foundation of the party in the state exploded with the cross carpeting of the incumbent governor of the state, Bello Matawalle.
Yari’s camp felt deceived by the national leadership of the party, led by Governor Mai Mala Buni when it lured the former governor, Yari and Senator Kabiru Marafa to appear and assist in the reception of Matawalle into the party with a view that it was only a mere reception and all other formalities would be arranged later.
It was during the reception that the first bomb exploded when Mai Mala announced that Governor Matawalle is the party leader in the state.
These incur the wrath of many APC stalwarts in the state, because already, former Governor Yari was perceived and believed to be the party leader in the state. Caretaker Committee Chairman, Zamfara State chapter, Alhaji Lawwali M. Liman said: “It is the people that make you a leader of a political party; it is not by pronouncement or appointment.
“Let me tell you, there is nothing like party leader in APC constitution. What is contained in the constitution, are elected national, state, local government and ward executives.”
These are the basic foundations of arguments and crisis that started re-rocking the party in the state.
It also ushered in new component crisis that may not heal the old wound that brought the incumbent Governor Matawalle to power through the verdict of the Supreme Court.
The lingering crisis brought litigation over the state leadership tussle at the party level.
More trouble surfaced this recently when the Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party sent a committee, led by Alhaji Ibrahim Kabiru Masari to conduct Zamfara State ward Congress after what Liman called illegal convention because of a pending court case to that effect.
Alhaji Liman pointed out that Buni-led executive had also stopped the conduct of congresses in the state in June following the defection of Governor Matawalle from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to accommodate the newcomers.
The decision, according to the party, was to enable it capture the defectors register being compiled under the party membership registration and revalidation exercise.
But a notice via a letter with reference number APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/021/080 dated November 10, 2021 by the party’s National Secretary, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe tagged: “Re- Notice for the conduct of state congress,” conveyed the decision of the party to conduct the State Congress last Saturday as against the November 20, 2021 earlier dated.
With these reasons, the Alhaji Limanled executives in the state called for all their supporters to boycott the congress election from ward to state.
Alhaji Liman, while distancing himself and other stakeholders of the party from the congresses, especially members loyal to the former governor, Alhaji Yari, said: “we are too informed to be part of that illegality.”
The Governor Bello Matawalle faction of the APC went ahead with the ward and local government congresses.
As Liman’s camp decides to boycott the exercise, Senator Kabiru Marafa’s faction opted for parallel congress to elect party leaders at all stages. A court order to this effect, a copy received by this medium, showed that there is a pending case against the conduct of any convention and congress of the party at all levels.
Alhaji Liman said the letter was published in some national dailies and all parties involved were served.
The letter read: “In the Federal High Court of Nigeria sitting in Gusau Judicial Division, in respect of the suit No, FHC/6C/C5/ 13/ 202 Abdul Aziz Dan Maliki & 9 Others versus His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni & 2 others,” a copy obtained by this medium, drew the attention of the orders of the court made on July 23 and 28 of the same month 2021 on the need to obey the said orders and preserve the respect.
The letter stated that: “We write to draw your attention to the orders of this court made on 23rd of July, 2021, and 28th July 2021, in the above named suit. “We also remind you that you were present in the court on the days these orders were made and you duly represented the 1st and 2nd defendants.
“Indeed on the 28th of July 2021, you stated clearly that you were not objecting to the application for the order of the court to preserve the subject matter of this suit.
“We hereby attached the said orders a reminder to you.” The letter further stated that: “This letter therefore and the attached said order is to once again bring to your attention the pendency of the substantive suit and also the order of this court preserving the said subject matter. “It is our expectation that your client must stay any action touching the subject matter of this suit until the court has determined same.
“The action of your clients are expected to stay action on include but are not limited to: (a) organising any ward Congress in Zamfara State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC). (b) organising any Congress in Zamfara local governments chapters of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Zamfara State. (c) organising any congress in Zamfara State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC).
“As you well know contempt of proceeding may issue if your client disregard this letter.” “We therefore urge you to advise your clients not to take steps as listed above or any other steps that render any ultimate judgment of the court nugatory or put the court in a situation of complete helplessness, while extending our felicitation to you, please accept the assurance of our professional regard.”
Liman urged the teeming supporters of the APC in the state, especially those loyal to former governor of the state, Abdul Aziz Yari, to refrain from any breach of the court order.
He said bona-fide members, leaders and other stakeholders of the party are lawabiding and will always uphold the principles of rule of law and respect judicial processes. “We have a court order stopping the ward and local government congresses, so why should anyone, no matter how powerful that person is breach the order. It is a federal high court order and all parties involve were served,” Liman said. He called on all APC supporters not to engage in any act that is likely to breach peace in their respective communities.
Liman also pointed out that the Alhaji Ibrahim Kabiru Masari Ward Congress Committee earlier set up by the National Secretariat of the party on October 27 has been suspended since November 5 via a letter by the National Secretary.
The letter, addressed to the committee chairman reads: “Re: Suspension of the Ward Congress Committee of Zamfara State. The National Chairman of the Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC – H.E (Hon.) Mai Mala Buni has directed the immediate suspension of the operations of the Ward Congress Committee to Zamfara State.
This action is elected by the need for further consultations to engender a seamless exercise.” With this Liman said the convention of the party that the state government faction was hell bent in conducting is illegal and will not be recognised by the law because of the Federal High Court order stopping the exercise. A new decampee from APGA, who was also the former National Secretary of the Party APGA, Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi in a twist said that: “there is no court order restraining Zamfara APC from conducting ward congress in the state.”
Shinkafi insisted that to the best of his knowledge, APC is one and there is no any faction that exists within the party.
“You have seen the turn-out and that is to show you APC under the leadership of His Excellency, Dr. Bello Matawallen Maradun,” said he. “I am telling you to be rest assured that there is no any faction that exists around Zamfara State APC, and I am telling you we went on with the local governments and I am telling you the total outcome you are seeing now by 2023, it will be a work over,” Shinkafi said. On factional congress by the Senator Marafa group, Shinkafi said the purported faction claimed by Marafa has already been swallowed by the Abdulazeez Yari group. “As per as we are concerned, the Marafa faction is nowhere to be found because since February, this year they have seized to exist. “All their structure had been collapsed under the faction of Lawal M. Liman,” he said. Senator Kabiru Marafa condemned the move by the APC National Headquarters to conduct ward congresses in Zamfara and vowed to challenge the process in court.
The state governor, Alhaji Bello Matawalle said that the APC would remain united in the state in spite of efforts by a few disgruntled elements to cause disharmony. The governor maintained that all members of the party respect its constitution especially as regards leadership roles in order to uphold the tenets of discipline, loyalty and harmony.
He said, as responsible leaders, the leaders of the party at all levels, respect hierarchy which recognizes President Muhammadu Buhari as the party’s leader at the national level and state governors in APC controlled states as leaders of the party in their respective states.
This, according to him, has ensured the gains of the party throughout the country. The governor then commended all stakeholders of the party and other supporters for ensuring a rancor-free exercise, while calling on them not to be diverted by the negative views of those who are bent on destroying the party. Leader of the team from the APC National Secretariat, Alhaji Kabiru Masari, said they were deployed to the state for the exercise according to the dictates of the party’s constitution.
He said, all existing guidelines of the party were followed with respect to those who go for consensus and those who opted for election. Also the party’s Caretaker Committee Chairman in the state appointed by Buni, Sen. Hassan Nasiha pointed out that nothing illegal was taking place.
He cautioned those trying to sabotage the exercise to desist in their own interest or face the party’s wrath against such recalcitrant. The Marafa’s faction conducted its congress across the state.
The congress took place at the Filin Jirgi Ground and was conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner. All prospective aspirants vying different positions of the party were screened on Friday, a day before the d-day. Marafa’s faction had elected its leaders through consensus after its stakeholders’ meeting earlier before the commencement of the congress.