Senator Kabir Marafa (APC, Zamfara) has defeated Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State in a battle over the nomination of Ahmad Bello Mahmud as Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Governor Yari had been at loggerheads with Marafa over Mahmud to the extent that the governor petitioned the Senate, saying the nominee was not from Zamfara State and therefore should not be confirmed.
At Wednesday’s plenary session, the report of the Senate Committee on INEC chaired by Sen. Suleiman Nazif (APC, Bauchi) on the screening of the nominees was considered.

The committee recommended that Festus Okoye, National Commissioner (South East), Elder Monday Udo Tom, REC (Akwa Ibom) and Attahiru Garba Madami, a REC nominee from Niger State be confirmed.

The panel, however, recommended that the nomination of Mahmud be rejected for the third time over petition written against him by Gov. Yari.

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But Marafa raised a point of order challenging the recommendation on the ground that the claim of the governor was faulty.

He said Yari should also sack the Zamfara State Head of Service and his Chief of Staff who were also allegedly not from Zamfara State.

“If he has honour, he should sack the two persons,” he said.

He said Sen. Nazif compromised and that he had evidence against him.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, called Marafa to order, saying “you cannot say this.”

He requested that Marafa should withdraw the statement and apologise to Nazif, threatening to refer the matter to the ethics committee.

Responding, Marafa said he would only withdraw the statement, but that he would not apologise. 

Saraki responded by saying the comment Marafa made was a comment to all of them.

“You have withdrawn the statement, to say you will not apologise is a strong statement,” Saraki said.

Marafa had his way when Saraki at the Committee of the Whole raised question on Mahmud’s confirmation.

The senators voted against the committee’s recommendation and supported Marafa’s position that Mahmud be confirmed.

At the end of the session, Mahmud and the three other nominees were confirmed.

It was at this point that Marafa raised a point of order, saying, “Looking at the honour done to the people of Zamfara, I want to sincerely apologise to Nazif and the people of Bauchi State.”

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