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Zamfara governor Matawalle to join APC on June 12

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Mr Matawalle dissolved his cabinet on Tuesday, reportedly as part of his move to defect to the APC on Democracy Day.

The dissolution of the Zamfara State executive council on Tuesday is part of Governor Bello Matawalle’s preparations for defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC), a source close to the governor has told PREMIUM TIMES.

According to the source, who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the development, Mr Matawalle will formally declare for the APC on June 12, as part of the ceremony to mark Democracy Day.

The source said the governor dissolved his cabinet because some members, including the deputy governor, Mahdi Aliyu, are reluctant to make the journey to the ruling party with him.

For a while, it has been rumoured that the governor has been harbouring plans to dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), even though some leaders of the APC in the state do not want him in the party.

On Tuesday, he sacked the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Bala Bello, the 23 commissioners, his Chief of Staff, Bala Mande, and the Deputy Chief of Staff, Bashir Maru.

Following the development, sources who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said the governor will finally dump the PDP on June 12.

Mr Matawalle wants to be in the APC before the National Conventional of the party in June. To participate in the convention, he needs to register with the APC in its on-going membership revalidation and registration exercise.

Mr Matawalle was declared governor on May 24, 2019, after the Supreme Court disqualified all the APC candidates in the state in the general election of that year over the failure of the party to conduct valid primaries.

The apex court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to cancel the votes secured by the APC in all the elections and decide the new winners from the remaining valid votes.

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APC had swept the poll in the state by winning the presidential, governorship and all the federal and state legislative seats while PDP candidates trailed in the second position.

Resistance within
However, the governor’s fresh move to join the APC is allegedly being challenged by some members of the dissolved cabinet and the deputy governor, Mr Aliyu.

This was cited as the major reason the governor decided to dissolve the cabinet, sources said.

Mr Aliyu, who is a son of a former Minister of Defence, Ali Gusau, was said to be opposed to moving into the APC, arguing that the court awarded the electoral victory in 2019 to also the PDP and not just its candidates.

However, the governor’s plan to join the APC is allegedly being backed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

All the 24 members of the state House of Assembly, including the speaker, Nasiru Magarya, were said to have also agreed to join the governor in the APC.

But PREMIUM TIMES could not ascertain the stands of the federal lawmakers from the state who are also members of the PDP.

When contacted, the governor’s spokesperson, Yusuf Idris, said Mr Matawalle has the right to decide which political party to align with and that he would take a decision that is good for Zamfara State.

“I am yet to be briefed on whether he is leaving PDP or not, only time will tell,” the official said.

“The governor has been in politics for long and has been elected to several positions, so he can decide to be in any political party he wishes. People should not rush to conclusion; the governor is most concerned by the security of Zamfara.

“You can see, when he came on board, he introduced the peace dialogue initiative, which has helped in reducing killings and kidnappings in the state,” Mr Idris said.

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