Zamfara 2023: APC, the people and a rattled opposition

Every politician and political party goes into elections wearing the mask of victory even where there are many who know from the word go that they stand no chance. This hope peddling has become part and parcel of the business. Although it helps to give the polity the semblance of choice, the truth is, the people, who are the numero uno of election always know where their mouth and money are.

In Zamfara state, history is about to repeat itself in two fronts. First, it will appear the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is set to coast home to victory. This conclusion is on the weight of evidence ratified by the recent reconciliation of all the warring parties of the APC, which more or less stamps the party’s reemergence as the dominant force it has always been in the state. Clearly, APC is just waiting to be confirmed as winners come 2023 and this time, without the uncertainties of litigation bogging it down. Second, the opposition appears to have taken over the seat of litigation left by APC in 2019. The difference here is that, whereas APC in 2019 had the clout and support to win the election, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Zamfara state today, and I am sure in 2023, fits the description of a pretender waiting to count its losses.

In truth, no one will want to jojo with PDP in Zamfara when even the sitting governor, Bello Matawalle, dumped the party because of its inherent vulnerabilities that threatened to derail his desire to improve the well-being of the people of Zamfara through targeted programmes in key sectors like education, healthcare, agriculture and, most importantly, security, etc.

Without mincing words, the people of Zamfara have never had it this good. For the first time, the landlords of the state have been kept at bay as they claw on straws endlessly. Meanwhile, Governor Matawalle has been going about his turnaround programmes in every sector quietly and diligently.

The governor is not one to boast about the job he has sworn an oath to do on behalf of the people. This is why, for instance, it took a false report from a dodgy advocacy group for the government to itemise the many inroads it has made into healthcare delivery in the state. They include the complete overhaul of the Sani Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital in Gusau, the construction of primary healthcare (PHC) in every polling ward in the state as well maternal care hospitals in strategic locations. There is also the procurement of vehicles and tricycles for ambulance services in cities and hard to reach locations, respectively.

The same evidence based response was dished out to PDP recently when it flew the kite of falsehood on the state of education in Zamfara state. It was within Governor Matawalle’s first 100 days in office that he released over N3 billion as marching grant for the UBEC counterparts funds which have been lying dormant. It goes without saying that these funds have gone into the repositioning of Universal Basic Education in Zamfara state.

In addition to the complete makeover of signature schools like Muallayadi Day School Maradun and Science School Shinkafi, among several others, that have been marked for overhaul under the state government’s Whole School Programme, over 1000 units of classrooms have been constructed, together with administrative blocks and students’ convenience. Tertiary education has also received a boost. Various sums in billions have been earmarked for much needed development and emoluments in the states’ tertiary institutions, including Zamfara State University Talata Mafara. That’s not all. The government has expended millions of naira to sponsor 200 indigenes to Cyprus, India and Sudan to study engineering, medicine, nursing and other science related courses.

On security, no governor in Nigeria has done as much as Matawalle to support troops and provide direction in the war against bandits and terrorists. These are criminal elements who grew into monsters with the aid of gold mining landlords. These merchants of death are now matched every step of the way by gallant Nigerian troops as well as volunteers and it’s only a matter of time before the people of Zamfara reclaim their land.

It is, however, in the area of human resource development that Governor Matawalle has scored the highest marks. This is because, state workers are the blood that will drive all his programmes. It is against this backdrop, that he approved the implementation of all promotions of the state civil servants, while also ensuring that salaries are paid regularly.

PDP will do well to stay within the ambience of its internal party confusion. If it wants to engage with the people of Zamfara state, it should do so only on the basis of facts and not blatant lies. One would have thought by now, that the party will have a clear plan of action. And where it is now plugging its emptiness with lies, it ought to have been telling people the real efforts of the APC in several sectors while also presenting their own plans, especially how it will do things differently.

Unfortunately, they are busy presenting fake stories where they should have been engaging with issues. Well, it is possible that even the PDP flagbearer can’t say with conviction that he will have control over anything should they somehow emerge victorious. That’s why these people should get serious and stop playing with the emotions of our people. Zamfara is not in a position for such gamble. Our people have seen a lot lately and adding the uncertainties of a party that prefers to engage in dirty infighting and peddling of lies to their problems amounts to insensitivity.

I reckon it will be in the interest of the PDP to stop insulting the intelligence of the people. Dauda Lawal, the PDP flagbearer will do well to stay focused on leading the charade they are putting across as campaign and simply wait out his battles with the disgraced former deputy governor or roll up to election day sure of losing. The choice is his!

Najeeb writes from Kaduna, Kaduna state.

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