By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA – In what appears a first major electoral loss in the 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has banned the ruling All Progressives Congress APC from fielding candidates for governorship, state and federal legislative elections in Zamfara state.
This followed the inability of the national leadership of the party and the state government to reach a common ground on the conduct of party primaries before the October 7 deadline given by the electoral umpire.
In a letter written to the ruling party and signed by the Commission’s acting scribe, Okechukwu Ndeche, INEC said its decision was based on the provisions of Sections 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
The memo titled, ‘Failure to Conduct Party Primaries in Zamfara state within the stipulated timeframe”, which was obtained by Vanguard, reads:
“Please refer to the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections released by the Commission on 9th January, 2018. You would note from the Timetable that the conduct of Party Primaries is scheduled to take place between 18th August and 7th October 2018.
“Kindly also refer to the last schedule communicated by your party to the Commission on the dates of party primaries nationwide, including Zamfara vide your letter Ref. APC/NHDQ/lNEC/19/18/51 dated 3rd October 2018. However, report received from pur office in Zamfara state shows that no primaries were conducted by your party in the state, notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilized and deployed.
“Consequently, based on the provisions of Sections 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 All Progressives Congrats APC will not be fielding candidates for the Governorship. National Assembly and State Assembly elections in Zamfara State for the 2019 General elections.
“Please accept the assurances of the Commission’s highest regards”.
Efforts to get the reaction of the ruling party was not immediately possible as the party spokesman could not be reached on his mobile phone.