Zamfara: Senator tackles gov over REC nominee

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Senator Kabiru Marafa, representing Zamfara Central in the upper chamber, yesterday, descended on his State Governor, Mr. Abdulaziz Yari, over his opposition to the confirmation of a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Ahmed Bello Mahmoud.

Mahmoud was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari. His name was referred to the Senate committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for further consideration.

His nomination was, however, opposed by Governor Yari and a senator from Zamfara State, Tijjani Kaura. Yari said he oppossed Mahmoud’s nomination based on a claim that he did not hail from the state.

He said the nominee is from Sokoto State. Senator Kaura on the other hand, claimed that the nominee is from Kebbi State and should, therefore, not be confirmed to represent Zamfara State as a REC.

Governor Yari, it was learnt, petitioned the Senate and President Buhari to withdraw the nomination and appoint an indigene of the State to occupy the position.

But, making a strong case, Marafa took a swipe at Yari and claimed that the governor is not originally from Zamfara State. He said like Yari, the nominee’s parents hailed from Sokoto.

He alleged that Mahmoud was born in Zamfara and had his primary, secondary and university education in the state. He added that the nominee served as Commissioner of Justice in the state and presided over the establishment of Sharia Law.

Marafa pleaded with his colleagues to look beyond the petitions, which he said were baseless, to confirm the nominee.

He said: “Mr. President, in your wisdom, I came with a motion for a passionate appeal to my colleagues to do justice for an innocent Nigerian who was nominated to represent Zamfara State in INEC as a resident electoral commissioner.

“You directed that the matter be taken back to the committee for further legislative action. I took that wise counsel from you that the committee will do the needful even when I know there is nothing they can add to what they have done because their report was quite explicit and extensive.

“Order 1 (27) says “in considering the appointment of a nominee, the committee shall not call to witness any person other than the nominee himself. However, there maybe memorandum submitted to committee; if any such memorandum should contain the names of the writer, a verifiable address, a clear and dated signature, it shall be accompanied by an affidavit.”

He said it was very clear the only opposition to the nominee was coming from the governor who wrote to the president that the nominee is not from Zamfara State, but from Sokoto State.

“My colleague from Zamfara North stood on the floor to say the nominee is from Kebbi State. The committee did a very good job when it said the nominee was born in Gusau, went to school in Anka and served as the commissioner of Justice in Zamfara for four years.

“The governor (Yari), wrote a petition. He has a right to write a petition, but he cannot violate our order. His petition is not accompanied with an affidavit, therefore, his petition is null and void.

“I want to state very clearly the governor has no right. This is Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are not his (Yari) boys. I am not his boy and this Senate cannot be his rubber stamp. We cannot hold somebody’s future because of the interest of one particular man, who is equally guilty,” he added.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who presided, said justice will be done to the confirmation. He, however, insisted that due process must be followed.

“Honestly, I sympathise with you. But, as you know, the parliament is a place of procedures, no matter how good the course maybe,” he said.

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