For a very long time, the APC in Zamfara state was enmeshed in an orgy of very vicious infighting among high ranking members. Some of the biggest masquerades in this faceoff include erstwhile senator, Kabiru Marafa, immediate past governor Abdul’Aziz Yari and former governor Sani Yarima.
In fact, this unfortunate absence of compromise cost APC all her electoral victories as parties aggrieved over the 2019 primaries approached the courts. PDP benefited from the eventual judgement despite placing a distant second in the election.
Two years into his reign as governor under PDP, the beneficiary of the Zamfara electoral ruling, current Governor Bello Muhammed Matawalle, will come under intense fire from vested interests within the PDP who were hell-bent on ruining his administration from within.
Also, after battling to salvage the situation with no success, the governor was left with no option than to cut his losses and moved over to the APC. Naturally, as an incumbent governor, Matawalle was handed over the structure of the party as its new leader in the state.
This development did not go down well with legacy members of the APC in Zamfara state who felt slighted, especially as they were said to be aggrieved that the Mai Mala Buni led National Exco that perfected Matawalle’s defection to APC did not accord them the respect they deserved.
This immediately set off another hue of in-party agitations as old foes reunited to resist the leadership of governor Matawalle. It didn’t take long for tongues to start wagging and rumours to start flying that highly placed stalwarts of the party had perfected modalities to cross carpet to the PDP, this was even as prophets of doom began to predict a repeat of 2019.
At a time, the situation in APC appeared truly hopeless until a breakthrough in talks between contending interests in the party was brokered by its national leadership on May 9, this year.
Today, the APC in Zamfara has ever been stronger. With two former governors and all her pioneer members now reuniting their interest with that of the governor, the 2023 elections are looking a lot more like 2019 where APC secured an overwhelming victory, but only this time, it will do so without a legal baggage weighing it down.
Recently, APC members met under the leadership of the APC state chairman in Gusau to rejig and revalidate the ceasefire as well as adopt strategies that will deliver the party in the polls come 2023. In truth, the meeting was a show of force, a media spectacle to reassure teeming members of the APC that everyone is committed to the new atmosphere of peace within the party as it deploys every oar to steady the ship in its predicted home run to victory come 2023.
Expectedly, excitement in Gusau, the Zamfara state capital, and the rest of the state is reached fever pitch. Party members in their numbers have been trooping into the home of erstwhile governor Abdul’Aziz Yari to congratulate him for taking the moral high ground to allow for the hatchet to be buried between him and Governor Matawalle in the interest of the party. Senator Marafa has also been saluted by many of his supporters for his overture of peace which has been described as both selfless and forward looking. The feeling around Gusau and the rest of Zamfara is gay. Excitement over an all but assured APC victory has rekindled the hope of the masses in the party as the only vehicle upon which their collective growth and development can be negotiated.
In a twist of fate, the PDP has entered into a new regime of crisis following the party’s primary elections that have been dismissed as a sham and a charade by many. Already, Mahdi Gusau, impeached deputy governor to Governor Matawalle, and other aggrieved members have dragged the PDP to court seeking annulment of the primaries, citing glaring irregularities.
At this rate, it will appear the PDP is heading straight for a brick wall. Not that it will matter anymore, but the PDP, ever a party of little or no substance in Zamfara that is also now caught up in a legal battle in the year leading to elections is a clear enough sign that APC will be without any opposition in the 2023 election.
Indeed the APC in Zamfara has risen above its mere existence as a party and had morphed into a viable movement peopled by individuals capable of suppressing their personal interest for the sake of the masses. All eyes then will be on the PDP to either find a way to settle their differences or take a box seat and watch as APC sweeps through Zamfara state in its victory parade.
Yunusa writes from Gusau, Zamfara state