The supreme court nullification of the All Progressives Congress, APC, primary elections in Zamfara State is indeed a victory for the G8 members, who have been at loggerheads with Abdulaziz Yari, the outgoing governor of the state.
At its sitting on Friday, the court voided all votes cast for the party during the general elections. The apex court then ordered that the runner-up candidate be sworn in if he fulfils the constitutional requirement of getting one quarter of the total votes cast in at least two-third of the local government areas of the state.
As Nigerians continue to deliberate on the judgement and its implications for other pending cases in the courts, let’s take you back to the genesis of the crisis.
It all started before the APC’s congresses in 2008 between Gov. Yari and Senator Kabiru Marafa. The duo, had been having a running battle over issue of governance in the state. Yari, who was in his final term wanted to go to the senate. Marafa seems not to have issues with that since they are not from the same senatorial district. Marafa wants to run for the governorship, but Yari seems to have issues with that.
As a matter of fact, one of Yari’s Special Advisers, Alhaji Salisu Isah at a press conference in Kaduna in February last year declared that “Yes we are going to kill him (Marafa) politically; we are going to bury his political ambition in 2019. He wants to be governor; he is not going to get it, even the senate he is not going to return.”
And the governor indeed carried out his threat by shutting the door at Marafa and his supporters during the disputed congresses of the state.
Daily Sun reported how Zamfara conducted its congresses without recourse to the election guidelines as issued and released by the party’s national headquarters. This, it was further learnt was responsible for why the party had parallel congresses in the state.
Shortly after the Congresses, trouble began for the governor, as no fewer than eight leading governorship aspirants known as G8 adopted direct primaries to select candidates for 2019 general elections.
At the end, APC submitted two candidates list to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The G8 is a coalition of aggrieved APC governorship aspirants in Zamfara state.
At a point, the G8 asked President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the crises following the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) decision to drop the consensus arrangement agreed upon by the leaders of the party in Zamfara state.
A member of House of Representatives and one of the aggrieved aspirants, Alhaji Aminu Sani Jaji, said he was privy to information that the party had submitted a list of candidates handpicked by Governor Abdulaziz Yari based on the disputed primaries election held in Gusua last year.
Jaji, who is the chairman House committee on National Security and Intelligence, alleged that the Oshiomhole-led NWC must have been offered monetary inducement to the tune of $500,000 by Yari to turn its back on its earlier position on consensus arrangement.
He said the development does not speak well of the APC in view of its philosophy to depart from the wrongdoings that permeate the polity over the years.
The lawmaker said members of the group have never hidden their support for the re-election of President Buhari, adding that they would rally round to ensure the defeat of candidates on the list submitted by Yari to INEC. And Indeed the G8 members achieved their goal by ensuring the Yari-faction got booted out by the law courts.
Below are the Group of 8 politicians who changed the course of history in Zamfara state.
Senator Kabir Marafa
Kabir Garba Marafa is a Nigerian politician who was elected Senator for Zamfara Central in Zamfara State, Nigeria in the April 2011 elections, running on the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) ticket. He was formerly the Commissioner for Water Resources in Zamfara State. He defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the ANPP before the 2011 election. He ran against the incumbent Senator Hassan Muhammed Nasiha(Hassan Gusau), who ran on the PDP platform. He’s curretly the chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum and one of the greatest beneficiary of the judgement, today. Although, he’s not benefiting directly, the senator and seven others had vowed to send Gov. Yari on early political retirement.
Mansur Muhammad Dan Ali is a retired Nigerian Army Brigadier General and current Minister of Defence of Nigeria appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2015. As a member of the federal cabinet, he had planned to resign and contest the state gubernatorial elections but Gov. Yari had other plans. This led to his association with the G8.
Mallam Ibrahim Wakkala Muhammad (Sarkin Malamai), was born to the family of a renowned Islamic scholar, Muhammad Liman, on September 12, 1966 in Gusau city, Gusau Local Government Area. He attended Danturai Primary School, Gusau from 1971 to 1978. He proceeded to Government Secondary School, Shinkafi and obtained his West African School Certificate Examination from 1978 to 1983. He then went to Federal School of Arts and Science, Sokoto from 1985 to 1986. In 1986, he attended Islamic African Centre, Khartoum, Sudan and obtained Diploma in Education and Islamic Studies. In 1988, he gained admission into the International University of Africa, Khartoum, Sudan to study Islamic Sharia. He then returned to Islamic University Omdurman, Sudan for Masters degree in Islamic Sharia between 1992 and 1995.
Mallam Wakkala started his working career as a part-time hajj Operational Staff in 1988. He taught at Government Day Arabic Secondary School, Gusau from 1995 to 1999. His foray into politics started with the return to civilian administration in the country in 1999. Wakkala was appointed as Commissioner in the Ministry for Religious Affairs by the first civilian governor of Zamfara state, Alhaji Ahmad Sani Yarima, between 1999 and 2007. Yarima then appointed him as his senior legislative aide up to 2011. Wakkala was then nominated by Governor AbdulAziz Yari to be his running mate in the 2011 governorship election on the platform of the defunct ANPP. So, he became the deputy governor.
He will be remembered for joining the G8 to bury Gov. Yari political.
Mamuda Shinkafi is a Nigerian politician. He was elected governor of Zamfara State in 2007 on the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) slate. Later in 2008, Shinkafi defected to the rival Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), causing considerable controversy. In January 2009 the Zamfara State government refuted media reports that Shinkafi was running an illegal security outfit and terrorising politicians. In September 2009, a Zamfara state court sentenced an ANPP politician to three years in jail for saying that Shinkafi’s administration lacked focus and had misappropriated public funds. He was formerly married to one of Babangida’s daughter.
Other members of the group are Aminu Sani Jaji, Engr. Abu Magaji, Dauda Lawal and Mohammed Sagir Hamidu.