Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and would be received by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Villa in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja before next weekend.
Matawalle, who had earlier denied dumping the PDP for APC, was said to have finally made his stance known to APC national, state officers, and other ruling party bigwigs, saying that he was ready to make his defection official.
His defection came barely a month after his Cross River counterpart, Ben Ayade, jumped ship to the ruling party after Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State earlier in the year announced that he was replacing PDP flag that was already hoisted beside the State House with that of APC.
The defection was announced by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Personal Assistant on Digital and New Media, Bashir Ahmad, through his official social media handle on Sunday and described the governor’s action as one that had been expected over the years, adding So Zamfara is back home. Welcome, Mutawalle!
Ahmad’s statement was corroborated by a source from the State House, who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the development, and told The Guild that a former state governor, Sani Yerima, an APC chieftain, was instrumental to his defection from PDP.
According to the source, Yerima was the governor’s former boss and appointed him Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Commissioner for Environment, Rural Development, and then Commissioner for Youth and Sports, during his tenure in the state.
The source added that the insecurity across the state which the state governor’s belief could be addressed when he pitch-tent with APC which has the largest followers in Zamfara.
Before 2019, APC had been in control of the state but lost its bid to govern continue, following a Supreme Court ruling on the party’s primaries, stressing that it did not have a candidate before the 2019 governorship election.
The APC governorship candidate, Mukhtar Idris, had been declared winner of the election after he polled 534,541 votes but the apex court upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, which ruled that no valid primary was conducted by the party in the state.
Earlier, the National spokesman of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, had told newsmen that the headquarters of the party was not aware of Matawalle’s plans to defect as he had not officially notified them of his plans.
Another source told The Guild that the governor was not ready to inform PDP of his decision, saying all he wanted to do is to officially announce his defection to APC.
When contacted, Special Adviser on Media to the Governor, Zailani Bappa, denied the information and claimed that it was not true, urging the public to discredit the claim.