Matawalle, Yari, Marafa renew battle for Zamfara APC
The trio of incumbent Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Bello Matawalle, his predecessor in office, Abdulaziz Yari and former Senator Kabiru Marafa, are now at war for the soul of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Their political battle did not start in APC, as they were co-travellers in the defunct All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP), where they always slug it among themselves.
But the political rivalry took a new dimension when Yari wanted to leave office in 2019. Marafa expressed his ambition to succeed him but Yari insisted on another candidate. They fought themselves to a standstill to pave way for Matawalle’s victory, though through judicial pronouncement.
Since it dawned on them that they were both losers, Yari and Marafa camp in February this year, made efforts to sheathe swords and unite to pursue common political agenda, a development that ended three years crisis in the state chapter of APC. But their attempt to wrest power from Matawalle, who joined APC in June this year, has led to another friction between Yari and Marafa’s camp.
While Senator Marafa expressed dissatisfaction with the party’s congress conducted by national headquarters of the party and arranged a parallel congress, Yari in a letter signed by his Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Ibrahim Birnin Magaji, called on his supporters to boycott both congresses because of pending court’s case. Whereas, Governor Matawalle in accordance with Alhaji Ibrahim Kabir Masari’s national headquarters congress committee, held its state congress rescheduled severally due to lingering crises penultimate Saturday.
The recent court pronouncement on Kano APC factional congress in favour of Senator Ibrahim Shekarau-led group, partly on the basis that, the wards and local government congresses of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje faction, were not observed by the committee from the national headquarters, has thrown spanner into the claims of Senator Marafa group in Zamfara APC.
The consequences of the verdict and picture of Senator Marafa, former Governor Abdulaziz Yari and immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki, that surfaced on the eve of Zamfara APC state congress, has given rife to speculations among concerned APC members that the duo of Yari and Marafa, are in clandestine romance with opposition PDP. They even alleged that Marafa would fly the PDP’s flag as its governorship candidate come 2023.
Reacting to the insinuation that Saraki was trying to woo him and former Governor Abdulaziz Yari to PDP, Senator Marafa said he would remain in APC despite attempts to frustrate him out of the party.
He said, “It is true that I met with Saraki in company of Yari, but the occasion has nothing to do with defection to PDP. The former Senate President was my boss, he wanted me to accompany him to the wedding ceremony of a spiritual leader in Kaduna. I am senior engineer in the team that built APC. I will therefore, not abandon my house to bricklayers, plumbers, electricians and others who were mere labourers when the construction was going on.”
However, a woman leader in Talata Mafara local government area of the state, Hajiya Husseina Talata Mafara, called on Senator Marafa to retrace his steps and align with Governor Matawalle’s leadership in the state.
Hajiya Hussena admonished Senator Marafa that he will not be two-time lucky after he had truncated the party’s hard earned and overwhelming victory at the polls with litigation to challenge the peaceful, free and fair party congress in court.
According to her, “If truly, Senator Marafa is not out to weaken APC before defecting to another party, as being alleged, I am appealing to him to team up with Matawalle, the party leader in the state and allow peace to reign in the party.
She said, “Senator Marafa should stop threatening everyone with litigation on party affairs. He is not the most learned in party politics and should stop dreaming of having his way in court again. The party leadership at the national headquarters has spoken loudly and put to rest, the issue of party leadership in the state, but Senator Marafa has shunned all entireties to concede party leadership to Governor Matawalle.
“It is left for him to either accept the leadership of Governor Matawalle or quietly leave the party to where he can impose himself over others.”
At the APC local government congress held at Maradun, the congress was attended by first civilian governor of the state, Senator Ahmad Sani Yariman Bakura, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda Gusau, Speaker, Zamfara State House of Assembly, Hon. Nasiru Muazu Magarya, Senator Hassan Muhammad Nasiha, Senator Lawal Hassan Dan-Iya, former Deputy Governors Mallam Ibrahim Wakkala Muhammad and Hon. Muktar Ahmad Anka and Hon Aminu Sani Jaji.
Others were the immediate past Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Sanusi Garba Rikiji, Hon. Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi, Ambassador Abubakar Chika Bunu, Members of National and State Assemblies, including party leaders.
The party however, concluded its state congresses with election of new executive members, where representatives throughout 147 wards from 14 local government areas elected AlhajiTukur Danfulani, along with thirty-five others as to run affairs of the party.
The congress was conducted under the supervision of Alhaji Ibrahim Kabir Masari who was sent from the national headquarters congress committee.
Addressing members of the party before the commencement of the congress, Alhaji Ibrahim Kabir Masari said, “The national headquarters of the party has approved the conduct of the congress in Zamfara State. We are in the state to organise the congress based on our party’s Constitution. I am calling on all members to respect the party and join the congress.”
Masari also warned that, the party would not recognise any parallel congress apart from the one he was sent to supervise.
He said, “I am calling on all members of our great party to participate in the congress if they want to be recognised as bonafide members of the party. Anybody who fails to participate in this congress is not loyal to APC and is not its member.”
In his address to the new elected party leaders, Governor Matawalle commended the efforts of the national leadership towards ensuring the setting of solid structure for the party in the state, devoid of crisis and misunderstanding.
While assuring the new leadership of all needed support in the discharge of their duty, the Governor said, “We will work with you, to move our party to greatness. We must adhere to the rules and regulations governing the affairs of this great party.
“You should take into cognisance the issue of reconciliation, peace and the need for transparency among all members of the party in discharging your assignment.”
The new executive members were sworn in after the Caretaker Committee of the party headed by Senator Hassan Nasiha was dissolved via a motion moved by former Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Mamuda Shinkafi while the consensus motion was moved by Senator Sahabi Yau and seconded by a frontline member, Alhaji Sani Jaji.
In his acceptance speech, the newly elected chairman, Alhaji Tukur Danfulani promised to carry everyone along for the development and greatness of the party and survival of democracy.
He said, “We will be loyal to the governor as our recognised leader of the party and support his zeal to provide essential service and development for the people of Zamfara State. I charge all members to remain united, as there can’t be meaningful development where there is no peace and unity.
“We shall strive to build the party for victory come 2023, not only in Zamfara State but the country at large,” Danfulani said.
Meanwhile Senator Marafa has not relented in his bid to upturn the congresses. He also wants the national caretaker committee headed by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State to give way because according to him, the committee has no legal status and has overstayed its usefulness.
The future in APC in Zamfara State seems precarious, but time will tell who sings the last victory song among contenders for the soul of the party.