Zamfara PDP: Using insecurity as end-game




The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Zamfara state seems to have discovered another pastime – incitement. Within the last few weeks, it has been deploying all the arsenal in its new found vocation of whipping up sentiments, pitching the people against the state government, and the masses against themselves. In doing so, it is gradually heating up an already volatile polity exacerbated by bandits’ activities in the state. 

In the last two weeks, the party and its leaders have organised press conferences in a bid to orchestrate this new found tactic. 

The first press conference was anchored by Professor Kabiru Jabaka, who was sacked by Bello Mohammed Matawalle’s administration over allegations of corruption while he was the chairman of the state’s Zakkat and Endowment Board.

After Jabaka’s ill-conceived and highly misinformed press conference failed to achieve their intended target, the party staged another one a few days later through its state chairman, Col Bala Mande (retd.). Like Professor Jabaka, Mande, a former military administration of Nasarawa state, also benefited from the magnanimity of Governor Matawalle, who appointed him as his Chief of Staff in June 2019.

However, Mande refused to follow Matawalle to the APC following the governor’s decision to defect to the ruling party and opted to remain in the PDP even though the main motivation behind the governor’s move was to attract federal presence to the state through infrastructure development and other privileges aligning with the government at the centre will bring. 

In the press conference organised by Mande, he accused the state government of planning to go after the party’s principal officers in a bid to “silence the opposition” in the state. He said the state government had secured a warrant of arrest for its deputy chairman, Kabiru Jabaka, for accusing Governor Bello Matawallle of travelling to Niger Republic to watch local wrestling (kokowa) while bandits were on rampage in Zamfara.

It is unfortunate that Mande and his party are finding it difficult to come to terms with the fact that PDP died with the defection of Matawalle from its fold. Both Mande and Jabaka are political nonentities who can hardly influence things even within their own constituencies and so are their pay masters. 

Matawalle gave PDP life in the state and its fortunes fizzled with his exit. So, which opposition is there to silence in the first place?

 Mande’s allegations that the state government has secured a warrant to arrest Jabaka amounted to attempts to give relevance to his deputy and by extension, his party, as being worthy of attention. But what threat will Jakaba pose to APC and the personality of Matawalle that will warrant such attention? 

However, what can be deduced from Mande’s position is that the PDP and its supposed point men are merely afraid of their shadows. Why are they afraid of arrest if they did nothing wrong? PDP and its foot soldiers are afraid because they know that their past will continue to hunt them and that the day of reckoning is near. 

But it is not in Matawalle’s place to bring them to justice for every pain they inflicted on the people of the state. 

Matawalle has much on his hands to bother about such matters. There are law enforcers who are constitutionally mandated to deal with any breach of the peace in the state. 

So, Matawalle doesn’t have to go in search of warrant from those who are supposed to enforce compliance to law and order and Mande who is a retired security operative should be in better position to educate the people about this but the ex-Milad seems to have given up on his training for the allure of politics. So, he never views every issue, including security matters from the prisms of politics. 

To them it’s a game just like chess. This is obvious from their twist of the casualty figures from the recent bandit attacks in Bukkuyum and Anka local government areas of the state where scores of people were killed.

Mande claimed the figure of 58 deaths as confirmed by the state government was wrong and that the PDP’s statistics which put the death toll at over 200 was the correct one.  

“They are not 58, they are more than 200 from the report we, the opposition, are getting. In Bukkuyum alone, they discovered over 150 corpses,” Mande claimed during his press conference. 

This is even when he is aware that the casualties figure which the governor made public were those confirmed by the Emirs of Anka and Bukkuyum, Alhaji Attahiru Ahmed and Alhaji Muhammad Usman respectively. The two Emirs made the confirmation in their separate speeches when the governor paid them condolence visits to sympathize with the communities at their respective palaces.

Giving the breakdown of the figure from his area, the Emir of Anka said 22 persons were confirmed dead within Waramu district. He revealed that the 21 persons earlier reported to have died, were later discovered to be taking refuge with relations in neighboring communities. 

The Emir of Bukkuyum on the other hand, disclosed that 36 persons were killed in the attack on Kurfa Dunya. The affected communities are the two emirs’ domains and Mande put the integrity and sincerity of the traditional rulers to question by querying the number of their subjects killed during the attacks. 

Traditional rulers are the custodians of the people, their culture and traditions. They are the most revered and respected in every society but Mande and his party in their desperation to score cheap political point, now branded them as liars. 

Mande said over 200 people were killed during the attacks, adding that “in Bukkuyum alone, they discovered over 150 corpses.” Pray how did Mande come up with his statistics? Was the PDP chairman present when the attacks took place and counted the bodies? There were no media reports suggesting that PDP and Mande ever visited the scenes of the attacks to commiserate with the families of those who lost their lives in the carnage. 

So, how come he is insisting that he is correct and the emirs as well as the governor who is the chief security officer of the state were wrong?

What more, instead of emphatising and commiserating with the state government over the development, Mande and the PDP have to organise a press conference in order to contest the casualty figure and call Matawalle out. 

Come to think of it, as a trained former security officer and someone who had the privilege of superintending over a state as an administrator, is Mande not aware of implications of exaggerating death tolls in a conflict situation? Is he unaware that his action is capable of causing civil unrest and strife of a magnitude unimaginable? 

Of course, the ex-Milad knows, but chose to play politics with the situation. 

It is PDP’s stock in trade to politicise everything under the sun. It’s their end-game. And the trend has been on for a very long time. It was one of the key reasons Matawalle had to exit the party in the first place.

As it stands currently, even going by the exaggerated PDP figures, none of them, either officially as a party or as individuals, went to condole with the affected communities, the emirate nor the state government even by writing. This is even as people, groups and governments including the federal government, the Jama’atu Izalatu Bid’a Wa Ikamatus Sunna, Jamiyatul Ansarudinee Attijaniyya led by its World Secretary General, Sheikh Muhammadu Lamin Sheikh Ibrahim Nyass, APC National Leader, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, trooped and have continued to troop into the state on sympathy visits.

…Kangiwa writes from Samaru Quarters, Gusau, Zamfara state

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