By Suleiman Umaru
When Bello Matawalle, a people’s Democratic Party, governor of the north western state of Zamfara, described as home of the Bandits Group, dumped the Opposition part to the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, in June 2021, many had expected Mahdi Gusau, the deputy governor, to join in the new party but failed to do so. This may have informed why the saw him as a threat to the APC, Administration, as he has loyalty to the PDP. The plot to remove Gusau, the Zamfara state deputy governor thickened in July 2021, as party Loyalists started describing Zamfara, as a state with two governors, one serving the interest of the APC and the second one serving the interest of the PDP. The negative remarks may have emboldened the Matawalle, the Zamfara governor to plot for Gusau, the deputy governor’s removal.
The embattled Zamfara deputy governor may have forced the governor to drop further plans of trying to force him to decamp to the APC, when he clearly made it known to him that he will never have anything’’ to do with the APC’’. This may have informed why the governor why Matawalle stated shopping for a replacement. There were two people that were thrown up by the party to take over from Gusau the absentee deputy position.
One of them was Shabi Kura, representing Zamfara western Senatorial district. Another person was Senator Mohammed Nasiha. The governor who has the backing of President Muhammau Buhari a retired Army General was said to have settled for Senator Nasiha, who was said to have given his words to resign his membership of the hallowed Chamber to take up the appointment as the state deputy governor position. The Senator was said to have been selected after consultation with a wide spectrum of the party Chieftains who described as true loyalist who has worked for the party.
Matawalle may have settled for Senator Nasiha, as a placement or his estranged former political ally and deputy governor of the state, who had shunned every moves to force him to dump the Opposition PDP. The governor may have several factors into consideration before settling for the Senator to avoid a repeat of what happened between him and Gusau, his erstwhile deputy governor. He had said that the person that should occupy the deputy governor’s position of the state should be an ‘’able lieutenant, loyal, credible, politically astute and relevant’’.
Senator Nasiha, may have met all the conditions to be appointed as a replacement for deputy governor Gusau, who was impeached on Wednesday, February 22, 2022, at the instance of Matawalle, the state governor. The Zamfara governor may have said that much. After a wide range of Consultations across the broad political spectrum of the state,’’ it was agreed that that Senator Nasiha should be nominated for the position of deputy governor of Zamfara state’’, he had said.
It was therefore not very surprising that in submitting his name to the state House of Assembly for Confirmation, he had said that ‘’going that by the pedigree of the new deputy governor of the north west state , , most especially his record of political accomplishments, excellent interpersonal relations, accessibility, and closeness to his political Constituency, he will be an asset to the party. He is optimistic that the new deputy governor will deploy his vast experiences in the party pursuit of building a new zamfara state after years of Bandits Group onslaught.
Many believe that he had plotted for the impeachment of Gusau, the state erstwhile deputy governor to prepare Senator Nasiha, to take over from. The Zamfara state born Senator may have dropped his ambition to contest the party gubernatorial primaries for the upcoming 2023, governorship election in the state that he had decided to resign his Senatorial Seat to accept the deputy governor offer. Describing him as a very ‘’competent and capable hands to join ranks to address the state myriads of challenges, particular, more than a decade –old banditry and development that require ‘’planning and proper channeling of resource to address’’.
Matawalle, who did not want to have another ambitious deputy governor had made Senator Nasiha, to know that the 1999 Constitution is very clear on the defined functions of the deputy governor: to assist the governor in discharging his functions and perform other responsibilities that might be assigned him by the governor from time to time by him.
He had already assigned him a role for the implementation of the roadmap for the development of the state .As a prelude to developing a roadmap for the development of the state which was created some 26 years ago by Late General Sani Abacha, a one –time, Nigerian Head of state, the Zamfara governor, who had sidelined the former deputy governor in the running of the affairs of the state between July 2021 and until he was finally impeached , had inaugurated a Committee to draw a development plan that will guide the development of the state for the next five years.
Given the pressure that was said to have been mounted on the state Hose of Assembly to confirm the appointment of the new deputy governor may have informed why the Lawmakers facilitated the debate and confirmation of the appointment and subsequently sworn in by the governor to start functioning in that capacity.
Gusau, the former deputy of the Zamfara state, who is the arrowhead of the Opposition PDP , in the state , was impeached after the House received the report of the CCommittee set up by Kulu Aliyu, the state Chief Judge at the instance of the governor. The Committee was said to have been set up ‘’to probe allegations of gross misconduct, financial fraud, abuse of office leveled against him by the governor.
Not may were surprised when the seven-man panel headed by retired Justice Halidu Soba submitted its report to the State House of Assembly , indicting Gusau, the former deputy governor. This may have encouraged the Lawmakers to start the impeachment process, which was what Matawalle,the state governor was waiting for to hear that the House has initiated the impeachment process against his enemy, the deputy governor.
The Leadership of the PDP in the state may not have found the removal of the Zamfara deputy governor funny, as they have threatened legal action against the governor and the state House of Assembly. Their anger was that there is a subsisting orde in a Federal High Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory restraining the state House of Assembly from going ahead with the impeachment of the former governor.
Debo Olgunagba, the PDP, National Publicity Secretary had described the impeachment of the former deputy governor as’’ unconstitutional and an ‘’affront to the rule of law and democracy’’, stressing that ‘’it will not be allowed to stand’’. Political Observers believes that the governor may have taken advantage of the APC dominated House to facilitate the impeachment of the deputy governor.