A fresh crisis erupted on Saturday in the All Progressives Congress (APC) Zamfara chapter as groups loyal to Governor Bello Matawalle and Yari/Marafa held parallel ward congresses.
A truce was brokered in February between former Governor Abdulaziz Yari and Senator Kabiru Marafa.
The Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party had stopped 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 10th of November, 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 on Saturday as against the November 20, 2021 earlier date.
This notice opened up a fresh crisis for the control of the structure of the party between Governor Matawalle and the Yari/Marafa bloc.
Our correspondent gathered that a meeting on Friday summoned by the leaders of Yari/Marafa bloc over the development in Gusau, Zamfara State capital failed to reach a compromise.
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Sources at the meeting said that while the majority of the attendees endorsed the conduct of the ward congress, the Mohammed Lawan Kaura-led state caretaker committee, who are members of Yari group, hinged their opposition on a case in court challenging the dissolution of the Committee.
It was also gathered that the Kaura group argued that the Alhaji Ibrahim Kabiru Masari Ward Congress Committee earlier set up by the National Secretariat of the party on the 27th of October has been suspended since the 5th of November 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”
Kaura told our corresondent b on phone that the Congress in the state on Saturday was illegal and contempt of court order. He said: “There can be no congress until the court case is dispensed off. The so-called state congress is illegal. The court has given an order that we maintain the status quo.
“Some leaders went to court to challenge the jurisdiction of our exco and the court ordered that the status quo should be maintained until the determination of the case, so I am surprised.
“Last week the National Secretary wrote a letter dissolving the Ward Congress Committee led by Alhjai Masari, so it was a surprise yesterday (Friday) when I saw another letter written to INEC that there is going to be state congress, not even the ward or local government congresses.
“One wonders what is happening to our party because you cannot just do congresses like that without following due process. No ward congress, no local government congress. We are too informed to be part of this illegality. Today’s state congress is illegal.”
Kaura carpeted the party for organizing a congress when the state is encumbered with internal security challenges.
“Just last week, you heard what happened with the killings of our people and leaders by the bandits and the party is not sensitive to this by organizing a congress. For us, the party is not fair. We are not party to the congress and above all, I am still the Chairman of the State Caretaker Committee,” Kaura insisted.
But a statement by Hon. Bello Bakyasuwa Maradun, the spokesperson of the Marafa group in Abuja, on Saturday said the party held a successful ward congress in the 147 wards of the 14 local government areas of the State.
He stated that while their congresses were held at the ward headquarters of the party in compliance with the congress guideline and party constitution, the Governor’s faction had its congress at the Government House in Gusau.
Throwing his weight behind the congress, former Governor Sani Yerima said: “The ward congress been carried out today was in order. We have to move forward. I am in support of the exercise”
Yerima, who spoke with The Nation on phone, said Kaura’s group was only exercising their constitutional right by going to court but maintained that the action taken so far on Zamfara State by the Buni-led committee was in order.