Why Matawalle Should Be Cautious About Defection, By Sheriff Lawal


Matawalle, who is more or less a king in the PDP, will find it hard to take the reins of the party under APC. Yes, the leadership of the party may recognise him, being the governor but the influence of Yari and Marafa can never be underestimated. Imagine a situation where both of them team up against him in the party, it will be very difficult for him to get things done his way. No governor wants to depend on any party member to have their way. All of them want to be fully in charge of their parties. The PDP currently offers him a free hand but it will be worse under APC.

Image of the APC

The APC, which is in charge of the country, is currently at its lowest ebb on many grounds, especially on issues of insecurity and Zamfara is one of the worse hit. There’s hardly any week without cases of banditry and kidnapping and there’s no gainsaying the goodwill that the APC enjoyed is fast eroding. Many have said it publicly that they regret voting for the party and would look the other way round in 2023. On the other hand, the PDP has been building on the weakness of the APC to warm its way into the heart of Nigerians.

In Zamfara, the ban on mining and declaration of the state as a no-fly zone angered many stakeholders, including Matawalle. The people expected the Federal Government to take a more proactive measure but the action worsened their plight and they have not minced words in rejecting it. As it stands now, voters are now waiting to express their anger with the party, which has not protected them as they expected. Even if Matawalle survives defection, he may still be shown the way out in 2023.

The Atiku Factor

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar is a strong man in Nigerian politics, no doubt about that. He has been in the presidential race since 1993 when he lost the ticket of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Atiku is vast and he has succeeded as a businessman and and to a great extent, a politician. But despite several attempts to get into the highest office in the land, he has not succeeded.

One of the factors that has worked against him is cross-carpeting. Atiku lost the 2007 election under the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). In 2011, he lost the bid to clinch the PDP ticket and in 2014, Buhari defeated him at the APC presidential primary. In 2019, he ran against Buhari as candidate of the PDP, but lost.

Political pundits have argued that one of the factors that worked against Atiku is the constant defection as many have seen him as someone who they can’t trust with their votes because he is desperate to get into office. Is Matawalle about to set a record in this regard?

Sheriff Lawal writes from Abuja.

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