Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, on Tuesday, formally defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) after months of speculation and denial.
Matawalle announced his defection late Tuesday evening at the Gusau Trade Fair Complex during an event attended by APC governors, ministers and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
It was however gathered the state’s deputy governor, Mahdi Aliyu, and the member representing Talata Mafara/Anka in the state House of Assembly, Kabiru Yahaya, have decided to remain in the opposition People Democratic Party (PDP).
Aliyu was reported to have left the state on Tuesday before the defection ceremony.
Some federal lawmakers from the state who are also members of the PDP had earlier announced their defection to the APC but it is not yet clear whether all the lawmakers followed the governor to the APC.
Matawalle’s defection from the PDP is coming after months of speculation and snubbing the PDP governor’s meetings while hosting APC governors and the Attorney-General of the Federal and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, at Government House in Gusau.
On June 12, Matawalle dissolved the state executive council as part of preparations for his defection..
It was gathered that the governor rescheduled the defection date in order to have further consultation with Aliyu and some state lawmakers who were reluctant to defect to the ruling party with him.
Aliyu, who is a son of a former Minister of Defence, Ali Gusau, was said to be opposed to moving into the APC, arguing that the court awarded the electoral victory in 2019 to the PDP and not just its candidates.
With Matawalle’s defection, APC now controls six of the seven states in the North West geopolitical zone, leaving Sokoto Governor, Aminu Tambuwal as the only PDP governor of in the zone.
Mr Matawalle was declared governor on May 24, 2019 after the Supreme Court disqualified all the APC candidates in the state in the general election over the failure of the party to conduct valid primaries.
The apex court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to cancel the votes secured by the APC in all the elections and decide the new winners from the remaining valid votes.
APC had swept the poll in the state by winning the presidential, governorship and all the federal and state legislative seats while PDP candidates trailed in second position.