Bello Matawalle, the governor of Zamfara State, has cited his resistance to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s naira redesign strategy as the reason he was denied a second term in office.
In the Zamfara State governor’s race on March 18, Dauda Lawal of the People’s Democratic Party defeated Matawalle of the All Progressives Congress.
Speaking in an interview with DW Hausa, the governor said, “What’s being said is that we went to the court over new naira notes redesign. They said myself, Ganduje and El-Rufai would be punished accordingly.”
Furthermore, he fumed that more military personnel were deployed to Zamfara State during the elections than when bandits held the state by the jugular.
“We have had security challenges in Zamfara State, and we’ve been asking them to send soldiers to us, but they didn’t.
“But three days to the (governorship) election, they sent over 300 vehicles conveying soldiers into Zamfara. Such a high number of soldiers! If they could send them to us to fight insecurity, it would be better. But they only sent them during elections.”
The governor accused the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), of bullying the Zamfara electorate into voting for the opposition party, PDP through heavy military presence.
“There were over 50 soldiers in our polling unit in Zamfara. They were even straight about it that those voting for APC would not be allowed to vote.
“When I saw that (the heavy deployment of soldiers), I knew they were up to something. That was why it didn’t bother me because I received intelligence report on what they were going to do against me. Not only myself but other governors that did something that is considered wrong.
“People were harassed and beaten because they wanted to vote for the APC. We all have this evidence on video. When we called soldiers to come to our aid, they didn’t come. But I have left everything to God,” Matawalle said.
He, however, said despite his loss at the poll, the victory of the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, was enough consolation for him.
“We delivered Zamfara State for the APC during the presidential election. But we lost the governorship. Nevertheless, we are happy about his emergence. If he didn’t win it would have been more painful for us. But I am not worried at all,” he said.
As of the time of filing this report, the President’s Special Adviser and Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, respectively, could not be reached.