APC will field consensus candidate, Oshiomhole insists

OrderPaperToday- Despite the ban issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole has insisted on fielding its consensus candidates for the 2019 elections in Zamfara State.

Oshiomhole made this known in a letter addressed to the electoral commission on Wednesday.

INEC barred the party from fielding governorship, state assembly, and national assembly candidates in the coming elections because they failed to meet the October 7 deadline for the conduct of primaries.

However, Oshiomhole objected to this, noting that primaries were held in the state but they needed to be cancelled due to violence.

“Kindly find a comprehensive report from the Zamfara Electoral Committee of the All Progressives Congress and signed by all the members on the conduct of primary elections for the Zamfara State held between 6th & 7th October, 2018. 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. This was done in strict compliance with section 87 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as Amended).

“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.”

Mr. Oshiomhole then accused INEC of not being fair to his party, stating that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano State did not conduct primary elections yet the commission did not take any action against them.

He also indicated that the APC had up until October 18 to present its candidates for the election, adding that the party will respond to further inquiries from INEC after it presents its flag-bearers for 2019.

“Please also refer to the INEC’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections released by the Commission on the 9’” 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,” he said.

“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.

“This is more so when we received no correspondence from the Commission at least to inquire from our party the true state of affairs in Zamfara State, in the spirit of fair hearing, before making haste to write your letter. We, however note that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not also hold primaries in Kano, but no such similar letter was written to the PDP in relation to Kano State.”

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