Ahead of today’s defection of Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle to the All Progressives Congress (APC), three senators, five members of the House of Representatives and 18 members of the state House Assembly have indicated interest to decamp with the governor to the ruling party, Daily Trust reports.
This is as the Deputy Governor, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, two members of the House of Representatives and six members of the Zamfara State House of Assembly are not likely to defect with the governor.
Reliable sources told Daily Trust that the deputy governor, who is a son of a former National Security Adviser, General Aliyu Gusau, has told the governor that he is not ready to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). General Gusau is regarded as the father of the PDP in Zamfara State.
A source in Zamfara State Government House told one of our reporters that the younger Gusau departed for Abuja to avoid the defection programme.
“The deputy governor has travelled to Abuja because he does not want to be part of our programme. He said he cannot dump his father for Matawalle. His father is the oracle of Zamfara PDP,” the source said.
Another source told Daily Trust that the Sokoto scenario in 2019 is about to repeat itself when the state governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, dumped APC for PDP. The then Sokoto deputy governor, Aliyu Ahmed, stayed back in APC.
Efforts to get the deputy governor to speak on the matter through phone yielded no result as he did not pick his calls. Text messages sent to him were also not replied to.
A member representing Zurmi in the state assembly, Salihu Usman Zurmi, said he was still undecided on whether he would join APC or not.
But the member representing Maru, Alhassan Kanoma, said he was set to join APC.
Matawalle’s planned defection has been greeted with mixed reactions from residents of the state.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in the camp of a former governor of the state and leader of the APC in the state, Abdulaziz Yari, have welcomed Matawalle’s decision to pitch tent with the ruling party.
Yari was said to be uncomfortable with the governor’s decision to defect to the party consequent upon the existing political culture in the country, in which the governor of a state is automatically the leader of the party upon which he clinched the seat.
But addressing APC stakeholders from all the local government areas of the state at a meeting held in Kaduna, yesterday, Yari said he welcomed Matawalle into the party alongside his supporters but that he and other stakeholders were still holding meetings to see how every member of the party would be treated fairly.
Yari said: “We will not take any position without our people’s consent, that is why we invited all the stakeholders to take a stand. We will not decide on anything that will not be of benefit to the party as well as the state.
“We agreed that the governor is coming with authority while we have the people on ground. So we hope and pray that his coming to the party will be beneficial and will add value to the party in the state. So, he is welcome.”
He said previous APC administrations in the state had worked hard to make the party attractive for others like Matawalle to join.
In his remarks, another former governor of the state, Alhaji Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi, described Matawalle’s defection as a blessing to the party and the state.