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Matawalle: How soldiers worked against my reelection

Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has claimed that his refusal to back the Naira redesign policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration cost him…

Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has claimed that his refusal to back the Naira redesign policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration cost him his re-election bid.

Matawalle was one of the three All Progressives Congress (APC) governors who instituted a suit against the Federal Government over the policy.

Alongside Governors Yahaya Bello of Kogi and Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Matawalle asked the Supreme Court to declare the naira policy as illegal.

Other governors, including Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, later joined the suit.

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In an interview with DW Hausa, Matawalle, who was defeated during the March 18 governorship election, alleged that the Federal Government deliberately worked against him and other APC governors who kicked against the policy.

Matawalle alleged that soldiers deployed to the state prevented voters from voting for him.

According to him, APC supporters were beaten up and prevented from voting for the ruling party.

He said, “I told my people prior to the election not to take part in rigging the poll for me to win because I prefer the people of the state to vote for me to win without rigging.

“During the election, the number of soldiers we saw in Zamfara was terrifying because we have never seen that number of soldiers in the state. The moment I saw them, I didn’t bother myself and I knew something was going on because I received confidential reports that there are some people who want to take revenge on me and some governors over some things, they feel we didn’t do right.

“What they’ve been saying was when we filed a case at the court over the naira redesign policy, that I, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State will see the result of what we did. In truth, we have the challenge of insecurity in Zamfara which we were trying to get soldiers to be deployed but we couldn’t. But three days to the election, over 300 cars carrying soldiers came into Zamfara.

“If the troops had been sent when we were dealing with insecurity, by now, it would have been brought to an end in Zamfara. No polling unit in Zamfara had less than 50 soldiers attached to it and the soldiers beat up and prevented people who intended to vote for the APC. All these things happened and we also have videos.

“And when something happens and we call the soldiers, they don’t come. Therefore, this was just something that was staged. This is not my first time losing in an election. I contested for senate in 2015 and lost. After losing, I contested again and won. I’m a politician, the struggle continues.”

Daily Trust reports that while Matawalle lost his re-election bid, the APC won the governorship election in Kaduna. The Governor Abdullahi Ganduje-led Kano APC also lost the governorship poll to the New Nigeria People’s Party, (NNPP).

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