Despite repeated denials that he was not planning to join the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, has now joined Nigeria’s ruling party, an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari has suggested.
In a cryptic post shared on his verified Facebook account on Sunday morning, the president’s Personal Assistant on Digital and New Media, Bashir Ahmad, suggested that Mr Matawalle has left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the APC.
“So Zamfara is back home! Welcome Matawalle✊,” Mr Ahmad wrote.
Mr Matawalle was elected on the platform of the PDP after the Supreme Court nullified the victory of the APC in the 2019 elections in the state due to an internal party crisis. Before then, Zamfara was an APC state with the governor and majority of the federal and state lawmakers from the ruling party.
Prior to Mr Ahmad’s announcement, PREMIUM TIMES reported the dissolution of the Zamfara State Executive Council by the governor, a move a source close to the governor confirmed was in preparation to join the APC on June 12.
The source said Mr Matawalle dissolved his cabinet due to the reluctance of some members to defect with him to the ruling party. After that report, Mr Matawalle denied plans to join the APC.
The governor said that he sacked his cabinet members in a bid to reinvigorate his government for the second half of his tenure. He said he has not decided on defecting nor fixed a date for such.
On Sunday, state officials close to Mr Matawalle confirmed again to PREMIUM TIMES that the governor was set to join the APC. Some of them said they had already been told to start ditching the PDP flag in preparation for the official defection.
However, Mr Matawalle’s spokesperson, Yusuf Idris, told PREMIUM TIMES early Sunday morning that Mr Ahmad’s post should be ignored. The governor has not decamped, the spokesperson told this newspaper, declining to speak on whether or not there were plans to decamp/
A Gale of Defections
When Mr Matawalle’s defection is made official, the Zamfara governor would be the second governor from the PDP to join the APC in less than two months and the third in the last seven months.
The Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, formally defected to the ruling APC in May after months of speculation.
His defection came six months after the exit of his Ebonyi State counterpart, David Umahi, who also joined the ruling party in November 2020.
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