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How to end APC crisis in Zamfara – Sen Marafa

The feud between the camp of a former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, and that of Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa, over the primary election…

The feud between the camp of a former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, and that of Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa, over the primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the build-up to the 2019 general elections, made the party to lose Zamfara State.

In this interview, Marafa, who represented Zamfara Central senatorial district from 2011 to 2019, said two things must be done by the national caretaker committee of the party, chaired by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, to address the crisis.

 

How has it been since you lost the bid to become the governor of Zamfara State?

To me, everything has a season. As human beings, we are all players in the world. At any given time, God gives some people specific roles or mandates. So, when it is your time, use it to the fullest. And once the whistle blows, go back to your bench, watch it and pray further.

God gave me ample time. He gave me eight years in the Senate to serve the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and I utilised my time very well. And Nigerians were very kind to me. They prayed for me. I have got more than what I thought I would get via the national platform.

Like somebody once told me, in life, you need this kind of break. You know, when you have a span of good things that happen, let something not so good also happen because that is what defines so many things for you.

What are the key lessons you have learnt from this break?

The key lesson is that before now, I didn’t know that most of the people I trusted, to the extent that I thought I could make them take over from me, were nothing but hypocrites. They don’t mean well. They are just self-serving.

If everything is going fine, you will end up sleeping, dining and wining with enemies you don’t know. The most important lesson I have learnt in this one year and a half is the real character of people. I think it is a wonderful experience because it is shaping my thinking and how I do things.

What do you think the caretaker committee of the APC under Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State should do to address the challenges of the party?

I think the most important thing the committee needs to focus on is reconciliation. But this reconciliation needs to rest on something. There should be justice and fairness to everyone. You know, there’s always a problem when some people are favoured and some are not. Some rights were trampled upon. That’s what caused the problem of the party.

Above all, there was lack of very strong and just leadership at the top. In the case of Zamfara State, some people sat and decided what they wanted to happen, regardless of the rule of law, but another set of people said no to that.

Your faction seems to have gone underground; what is happening?

We are still divided. I have my faction and Yari has his. What you are seeing is as a result of the fact that sometime in Abuja, members of the national executive recognised his faction; which I had no quarrel with. But the people in Zamfara recognise mine.

In Zamfara now, Marafa’s faction is well entrenched. It is called ‘APC Mai Jama’a’. That is, APC that is with the people. We are still like that and I am not bothered. As I said earlier, there is time for everything. This is not the time for politics. There is a little role the party is playing right now. When the time comes, I hope they would be able to put the party together. If they don’t and there is going to be anything, they will know that there are factions; and it will come up very soon.

We are going to have a local election in Zamfara. We lost a member of the state House of Assembly, so very soon, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will fix a date. When time comes you will know there are factions. They are going to field their candidates and we are going to field ours and it will still come back to the same problems we had in 2019.

How can this problem be addressed?

The only way the problem can be addressed is for the party to be just and fair. The new caretaker committee should listen to both factions and look at all the materials and evidences on ground. These papers you are seeing here are documents relating to the ward congresses we had in 2018. We bought forms and did all the necessary things, but some people just came to Abuja and announced ward chairmen.

Yari and I are not enemies. What is happening is purely political. He has his belief and I have mine. I am not a person you can suppress like that. I want fairness, so there is the need to listen to me. I am the easiest person you can deal with. When you listen to me, if I am right, tell me, and if I am wrong, tell me and give me reasons. If I see I am wrong, I will apologise.

As long as that is not done, it will remain like that. If God says we are going to witness 2023, it will still be the same.

Some people said you played the role of a spoiler…

It is quite unfortunate when people talk that way. But I forgive some for not knowing the actual problem. My heart bleeds when people talk to me like that. When does self-defence become a crime, to the extent that one will be called a spoiler?

Somebody comes to your house to kill you and inherit your wealth and children and you rise up to defend your family, money and life and somebody says you are a spoiler. As a senator, I was desirous to re-contest or go for the governorship seat. Somebody kicked against that ambition without following due process and when I stood up to fight for myself, they are calling me a spoiler. God will never forgive anybody that says that.

We need to encourage this kind of thing in politics because it is only through it that we can ensure stability and peace among the people. It is the person who looks for trouble that is a spoiler, not somebody who is seeking justice. I will not allow anybody to retire me. So I am fighting back.

Do you have any regret?

I don’t have regrets at all.

What is your relationship with the incumbent governor and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Zamfara?

My relationship is very clear and straightforward. I am ready to support anybody that can bring back the much-needed peace to the state. Don’t forget that I must remember my own blood sister on a painful mode. She was shot dead in her matrimonial home for no reason. Many other people lost their loved ones too.

I support the government to some extent. I give them advice, anything outside that, I am not interested. I am not looking for any appointment from the state government. And I have never looked for a contract from them. My younger brother was given an appointment, but he said no. If you have watched my rally you would have known how much people of Zamfara love me and support me.

Our duty is to support him to bring peace and the needed development to the state. I will always support any government that would bring peace to the state.