The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Zamfara State have accused each other of masterminding the recent political violence in the state.
Supporters of both parties on Saturday clashed at a rally organised by the PDP in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital, to welcome its governorship candidate, Dauda Lawal. The mayhem claimed the life of one person and left 18 others injured, according to the police.
The APC accused the PDP of ignoring an Executive Order by Governor Bello Matawalle barring political parties to go ahead with campaigns and causing unrest, whereas the PDP insisted that the governor lacked the power to suspend its activities.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Zamfara, Yusuf Idris said the Executive Order by the governor was due to the insecurity in the state which all other political parties abided by except the PDP.
He said, “The issue is quite simple; we need first of all to know the genesis of the matter. There was an executive order by the governor which banned political gatherings to allow security agencies to carry out operations for at least two weeks to enable them to chase all the bandits from the state.
“Because of the activities of the bandits, the governor as the chief security officer of the state in agreement with the state security council had ordered that all political activities in the state be suspended for at least 10 days to two weeks.”
Responding to Idris’ claim, the Deputy Chairman of PDP in Zamfara, Mouktar Lugga argued that there was no peace accord it entered into with the state government to stop its campaign activities and that the governor’s Executive Order cannot override the rules of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which has empowered all political parties to go ahead with campaigns for the 2023 general election.
“What I want to state categorically here is that I am not aware of any such agreement, what I am aware of is that our party and other political parties were called by the security agencies under the leadership of the Commissioner of Police in Zamfara State and we signed a peace accord.”
While casting doubt on the number of casualties in the recent political clash in Gusua, the PDP chieftain accused the APC and the state government of trying to stifle its campaign in the state and insisted that only INEC can stop the party from carrying out their activities.
“I don’t have any evidence to support that there was that number of casualties, what I know is that the APC and the government are trying to stop our constitutional right to launch our campaign and to associate freely as enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria.
“Basically, we try to maintain peace and order, they were skirmishes probably, we were coerced and told that we cannot hold our campaigns, and even our candidate was asked not to come into Zamfara.”
The APC Publicity Secretary singled out the PDP for shooting dead one of its members and injuring about eighteen others but the PDP Deputy Chairman denied the claim.