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Thursday, 11 October 2018

Oshiomhole Alleges Bias As INEC Bars Zamfara APC

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole yesterday accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of bias.

This came after the electoral body yesterday barred the party in Zamfara State from fielding candidates in next year’s general elections, accusing it of failing to hold primaries within the stipulated time.

“Based on the provision of Section 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, the commission does not expect that your party will submit names of any candidate from Zamfara State. For clarity, our position therefore, is that the APC will not be fielding candidates for the governorship, National Assembly and state Assembly elections,” INEC said in a letter addressed to the party’s leadership.

But Oshiomhole faulted INEC in a correspondence to the commission’s secretary, Mr. Okechukwu Ndeche. He said the party actually conducted primaries. To buttress his claim, he referred the scribe to a signed report from the Zamfara electoral committee on primaries held between October 6 and 7, 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 mobilised 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.”

He said: “We note that the PDP did not also hold primaries in Kano, but no such similar letter was written to the PDP in relation to Kano State. It is our contention, in the circumstance, that your letter is not only preemptive, but your position seems to negate the spirit of any fair hearing and is devoid of legal basis.”

Oshiomhole said that the APC would surely present candidates for governorship, National Assembly and state Assembly elections in the state before the October 18, 2018 deadline for the submission of such names.

The chief press secretary to INEC’s chairman, Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, however, dismissed suggestions that the commission would reverse its decision.

According to him: “INEC did not take the decision without duly following necessary rules and guidelines. The commission made guidelines for the 2019 elections as to when primaries should hold, names of candidates to be submitted and all the parties agreed. The decision has been made and it will stand because it is in accordance with the rules guiding the procedure.”


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