From Munirat Mohammed, Gusau
The race to secure the 2023 All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship ticket is already causing ripples in Zamfara State chapter of the party.
It was gathered that crisis is brewing in the party as the state executive insist they are in the dark about the planned defection of Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
On Monday, Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum and Kebbi Governor, Atiku Bagudu, had led the party’s bigwigs to commiserate with the governor over a recent market fire in Gusau, the state capital.
On the entourage was Chairman, APC Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, and Jigawa counterpart, Abubakar Badaru.
But, sources privy to the meeting said the visit was “to cross the i’s and dot the t’s of the governors defection to the APC.”
“There were discussions across board and the governor’s movement to APC has been concluded at the highest level of the party. What is not clear right now is whether his deputy would move with him to the APC,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Don’t also forget that even the APC was fractured in the state until recently the Chairman of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Mai Mala Buni and his exco were able to calm frayed nerves and reconcile the two factions, but the undercurrents in the ruling party in the state is that they don’t want the governor in their midst,” the source added.
However, some party faithful are angry that they were not “carried along” in the “negotiations to bring in Matawalle and vowed to scuttle the move.
A senior party official, who asked not to be named, said they got to know of the visit of the top-ranking APC members to the governor on social media.
“We only got to know of the visit on social media. How do you expect us to feel about that? You are bringing somebody to our house and the occupants have not even been informed? Is that how to go about party hegemony and unity? Besides, what were the terms of negotiation? Can somebody just come into the party and you hand it over to him? Just like that?” he queried.
State Chairman of APC, Alhaji Lawal Muhammad Liman, told Daily SUN, yesterday, that the party was not consulted on the governor’s planned defection.
“We have not been consulted. I have not been briefed officially and nobody has consulted me, but we have heard the rumour.”
However, checks at the PDP headquarters in Abuja indicated that the opposition party is wary of losing Zamfara to and has opened negotiations to prevent his exit.
A member of the party’s National Working Committee, who declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the matter said: “We know that the APC wants to poach Matawalle, but we are not sending the governor away from our party.