INSIDE ZAMFARA’S PDP PRIMARIES OF CONFUSION

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BY IFEANYI CHUKWU NWANNAH

As the quest for the People’s Democratic Party to take over Gusau Government House by Hon. Bello Muhammad Matawale, backed by the state chairman of the party, Senator Hassan Nasiha, the whole situation was in a storm of confusion as the other aspirants scuffled the move last Monday. The other contestants protested, a situation which inside source, said made the former governor, AlhajiMuhmuda Aliyu Shinkafi to lose his temper and gave the state party chairman a dirty slap.

The rumour started making round that Hon. Bello Mohammad Matawalle was bribing the delegates to become the party’s flag bearer in the 2015 governorship election consequently, and to pave way for glorious ordination, the party chairman, Senator Hassan Mohammed Nasiha, was involved. For this, embittered contestants like Adamu Gusau alias IMAD and Sagir Hamidu were coerced to relinquish their ambition for former Governor Mahmudu Aliyu Shinkafi.

The chairman and the five aspirants were said to have been invited by the state commissioner for police, Baba Tijjani, to resolve the issue and advised that the primary election be postponed till Tuesday December 9th. All effort to confirm from the state party chairman proved abortive likewise the five aspirants. But when contacted, the state commissioner of police, Baba Tijani, said the report that former Governor Shinkafi slapped the party chairman has not reached him as it is the internal crisis because of political interest.

The crisis which began at about 4 pm at the party’s secretariat in Gusau could not be controlled, as it reported to have marred the People’s Democratic Party governorship primaries on Monday. Earlier, it had been speculated that Bello Mohammad Matawale has stepped down as he was reported to have left the venue during the crisis but he came back to announce at the Pride Fm radio Gusau that he was still in the race.

None of the contestants addressed the press as the whole situation was hot. But Hon Bello Muhammed Matawale was quoted as saying that he could not be intimidated by anybody to step down, adding that even though it was being rumoured that he had stepped down which he said was a political gimmick by his opponents. The genesis of the whole crisis began when the other contestants were convinced that the state party chairman, Senator Hassan Nasiha and Hon. Bello Mohammed Matawalle were trying to design a new list of delegates to pave way for Hon. Bello Mohammed in order to replace the legitimate delegates.

Inside source hinted that the Shinkafi loyalists insisted that the party must go by the original list of delegates recognized which caused a serious confusion and a dirty slap was given to the party chairman. The party faithful who thronged the venue hoping to vote for the contestant of their choice did not give them a wonderful day as their expectations suddenly crashed and some of the party faithful and delegates began to walk out of the venue for safety of their lives.

Apart from Hon. Bello Mohammad Matawale, the other aspirants used the opportunity to condemn the party’s leadership and called for the intervention of the National headquarters.

The party’s National headquarters on Tuesday effectively sent some of its officials to monitor the election. Hope returned as the original delegates were happy with the latest development of the Party’s National headquarters. The contestants expressed satisfaction with the committee’s success even as former Governor Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi was declared winner. One of them said the development dispelled fears that there were cracks within the party in the state as the party was forced to embark on a democratic process.

Even though former Governor Shinkafi was declared winner, the state chairman of the party, Senator Hassan Nasiha,  said to his knowledge, there was no primaries in Zamfara. But political pundits said that the decision of the officials sent from the national headquarters of the party supersedes the decision of the state party chairman, so Shinkafi emerged the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the state despite many odds.

Following the embarrassing turn out of events at the party which paved way for the demolishing the image of the party. The good will we had become something else said one of the delegates.

But in politics, everybody has the opportunity to do what he wanted so far it does not tarnish the image and reputation of the party. It is one thing to sell a person with a name and another thing to sell a person with a name but does not enjoy the support of the people. Former Governor Shinkafi has got a track record that can sell him anywhere. He is not a cabal otherwise he wouldn’t have got structures on ground. But it is only a political magician that can sell anybody that is not sellable.

After the declaration that former Governor Shinkafi would be the PDP flag bearer in the state, there were smiles on the lips of many except few. In Shinkafi’s camp it was jubilation galore while in his opponent’s camp it was a grave yard silence. Shinkafi won through the ballot box which indicates that he is a true democrat though he is seen as a man who may not stand the incumbent Governor Yari because of his gentleness. But he had learnt many lessons as a result of his defeat in 2011 governorship election and it is time for him to make corrections. Shinkafi did not lose in 2011 because he was not loved by Zamfara people but because he did not do his political permutation very well.

The same present PDP chairman of the state, Senator Hassan Mohammed Nasiha was instrumental to his defeat in 2011. This is because he insisted that Senator Hassan Nasiha must return to the senate while the party faithful preferred Senator Kabir Garba Mafara who later decamped to the ANPP and Senator Ahmad SaniYarima gave him automatic ticket to the senate. He contested under the platform of ANPP and he defeated Senator Hassan Mohammed Nasiha of PDP with a wide margin.

One thing is that Kabiru Garba Marafa has a lot of supporters in Zamfara central zone which is why Governor Yari stood by him at the APC senatorial primaries. The same Senator Hassan Mohammed Nasiha, who failed defeated Shinkafi in 2011 as the ex-governor imposed him, is now the same person sabotaging Shinkafi’s success at the primary. Hassan Nasiha in 2011 was dismissed as unfit to go into the senatorial election but was imposed on the people by Shinkafi.

Most of the PDP faithful regard Hassan Nasiha as someone whose scarlet red records made him a hard sell. His emergence as PDP state chairman was even dramatic than being democratic to the party’s primaries. In the venue of the primaries, it was not only a casualty but denial of justice.

Now that former Governor Shinkafi has become PDP’s governorship candidate, he has many rivers to cross. One he needs to work on the other aspirants who contested with him to support him in the 2015 general election because it has been a tradition for any aspirant defeated at the PDP primaries to work against the PDP candidate. Though political pundits said the two aspirants, Hon. Bello Matawalle and Engineer Ibrahim Gusau, may not decamp to APC because of their problems with Senator Ahmad Yarima, they may not work directly or indirectly against PDP but may prefer to remain neutral and ask their supporters to vote for any party of their choice.

As for Governor Yari, he has scores of problems with Zamfara people ranging from the unfulfilled promises he made to Zamfara women that if they voted for him, the first federal allocation would be used to empower the women. He promised to give every Zamfara woman N25,000 during his 2011 electioneering campaign which he has not done up till date and he is rounding up his four years in office.

The youth also are not happy with him because the state skills acquisition centres which former Governor Ahmad Sani Yarima used huge amount of the state resources to construct to ensure that the youth are empowered. He was giving them N3,000 as transport allowance  during  his tenure and when former Governor  Shinkafi came on board, he maintained the program and increased the monthly allowance from N 3,000 to N5,000 per month for the youth to learn various trades with ease.

But when Governor Abdulazeez Yari was voted in 2011, he scrapped the program and paid off the teachers there which made the youth to be roaming the streets aimlessly without jobs. The over 14,000 civil servants he retrenched from work are not expected to vote him back to power and would never allow their families vote him. The health workers who went on strike protesting for their rights were all sacked. All these stand tall against Abdulazeez Yari and his APC in the 2015 general election. It is very easy to push him out of Gusau Government House if only the PDP leaders can work as a team.

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