By Musa Dangusau
I had a cause to advise the governor of Zamfara State, Malam Bello Matawalle few days back, to reconsider his reported plan to ditch the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, which offered him the platform to become governor to join the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Many commentators who read my advice agreed with me that it will not only be a betrayal for the Governor to abandon the boat that took him to his desired destination, but that it will be foolhardy for him to do so given that his nut cracked for him by benevolent forces in the last elections.
But in the typical hypocrisy of political appointees in Nigeria, one Yusuf Idris Gusau took exceptions to my candid counsel and tried to situate the advice within myopic prism.
Canterkerous as this position is, Gusau in his attempt to make light of the advice ended up playing the spin doctor and further exposed the Governor to ridicule by attributing the piece to some opposition figures in the state.
This is the acme of self deceit as I will rightly explain presently.
The APC in Zamfara State has not forgotten that it was its candidates that won the 2019 general elections in Zamfara and that Matawalle who was rejected by the people at the polls only came in through the magnanimity of the courts in an affair that had nothing to do with him.
So even as he is now benefitting where he did not sow, the fact is not lost on APC chieftains in Zamfara who have worked to entrench the party in the state that it takes more than a stint in the Government House to win the support of the masses.
It is rather we in the PDP who are worried that the only chance we have to consolidate on our good fortune in Zamfara is about to be frittered away on account of poor sense of judgement and lack of appreciation of prevailing political climate in the state.
One wonders how someone could link an advice given by a party member, trying to protect the PDP and the Governor from self destruct would be attributed to the opposition who would have been happy to see the Governor join its fold so that they can conveniently deprive him of the party’s ticket.
Gusau also pretends he does not know why talks about whether or not the Matawallen Maradun will defect to the APC has become an important topic in Zamfara State and tries to suggest it is because some political forces are jittery.
This is where Gusau got it wrong. Matawalle’s defection plot has become an issue simply because it has taken the attention of the Governor from governance and people are worried that given his concentration on the defection plot, that he may not achieve much if he continues in that direction.
Again, the people of Zamfara are so kind hearted that they cannot afford to close their eyes when they see their brother about to fall in a ditch.
So it is because people are concerned about his safety and the precedent it would set in party loyalty that his defection plot has become a subject of interest.
To say that the 2023 is far away is also not sincere as we are aware that Matawalle has gone far in negotiating to leave the PDP ahead his 2023 ambition knowing that all parties will by 2022, which is just a year away, be expected to present candidates for the various elective offices in 2023.
Gusau tried to pain the picture of a Matawalle is not a political wheeler dealer but one who relies on his faith to work for him.
But this is far from the truth if the past is anything to go by.
Every politician in Zamfara knows that in the build up to the 2019 elections, Matawalle deployed many tricks and schemes to prevail on the PDP to return him unopposed as its governorship candidate and he later succeeded in edging out his only opponent through that means.
He is now also trying hard to factionalise the PDP to give him sufficient grounds to defect. This doesn’t look like the picture of a man
‘waiting in God’s hands.’ Again, Gusau derisively asked why I was trying to advise Governor Matawalle not to move from the PDP to the APC.
It is simply because like I said in my earlier article, Matawalle should be the last person seen as doing anything that will harm the fortunes of the PDP in Zamfara because he will go down in history as the typical opportunist that bit the finger that fed him.
The PDP has been magnanimous to Matawalle and betrayal would not be a good way to pay back for all the party has done for him even as a political neophyte.
Again, Gusau cannot use the result of the Bakura House of Assembly bye-election to demonstrate the imagined new strength of the Governor as he is aware that Matawalle has hardly improved on the fortunes of the PDP since he became governor.
Another fallacy posted by Gusau is that Matawalle never went to court in the aftermath of the 2019 elections. The fact is that Matawalle went to the election petition tribunal in Gusau which was the legal authority to adjudicate on election matters.
In my first article, I spoke first and foremost of the attempt by the Governor to factionalise the PDP in Zamfara State so as to have an alibi to defect to the APC.
But in the response by Gusau, the issue of faction was side-stepped in order to concoct tales that tend to distract from the main issue.
This can only imply two things. One, that the allegations are true and cannot be denied or two, that the Governor considers it a fait accompli that he does not want to be reminded of that folly.
Whatever the case, I still maintain that this experiment by the Governor would turn out to be his undoing politically and the sooner he retraces his steps, the better for him.