It is understandable that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State is traumatised on account of the May 24 Supreme Court ruling that voided the February 23 and March 9 election of all APC candidates in the state. The party was expected to learn from the big blow. But it looks like the party has not learnt a lesson from its blunder.
Affected by the judgement were the governor-elect, Alhaji Bello 1Matawalle; and three senators-elect, Tijjani Yahaya (Zamfara North), Aliyu Bilbis (Zamfara Central) and the then outgoing governor, Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara West). Seven House of Representatives members-elect, and 24 House of Assembly members-elect were also affected.
Justice Paul Galumje, who read the unanimous judgement of a five-man panel, said the APC “never conducted primary elections.” Consequently, he declared, “the party that had no candidate in the 2019 general elections cannot win.” This made all the votes credited to APC candidates “wasted votes, “the judge said.
By the judgement, candidates of the parties other than the APC that polled the highest number of votes and the required spread became the valid winners. The judgement favoured the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidates.
News that a faction of the Zamfara State chapter of the APC had expelled the senator representing Zamfara Central, Kabiru Marafa, for alleged anti-party activities, showed the party’s post-traumatic confusion.
News that another faction of the APC in the state led by Marafa had expelled a former governor of the state, Abdulaziz Yari, who was believed to be behind the other faction, further showed the party’s post-traumatic confusion.
The Yari faction also expelled the immediate past deputy governor of the state, Ibrahim Wakkala, and member representing Kauran Namoda/Birnin Magaji Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Aminu Jaji. Those expelled were punished “for violation of the constitutional provision and engaging in acts inimical to the interest of the party.”
The Marafa faction also expelled the Deputy National Chairman (North) of the APC, Lawali Shuaibu. Those expelled were punished for allegedly working against the party in the state.
Is this the APC’s response to the shattering verdict? The factional expulsions perpetuate the intra-party conflict and disunity that resulted in the party’s failure to organise valid primary elections, without which it could not have produced valid candidates.
By continuing on the path of disunity, the party is continuing on the path of failure.