Profile: Lawal Dare, the banker who unseated Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State
In what can be considered the biggest upset of the 2023 General Elections, Lawal Dare, a banker, unseated Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State.
According to Prof Kassimu Shehu, the Returning Officer for the election, Dare of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 377,726 votes to defeat Matwalle of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who scored 311,976 votes.
Born in Gusau
Born on the 2nd of September 1965 in Gusau, the capital city of Zamfara State, Lawal graduated from Ahmadu Bello University in 1987 with B.Sc. in political science. He obtained an M.Sc. in political science/international relations from the same university in 1992, and holds a PhD in business administration from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, before going further to develop himself by taking courses at prestigious universities, including the London School of Economics, Harvard Business School, Oxford University Business School and Lagos Business School among others.
Lawal’s mother hails from Guga village in Katsina State and where he obtained his primary education. Lawal built a standard Primary Healthcare for the town; renovated schools; built a computer lab. He provides portable water for the whole community using motorized borehole through solar.
He started his working career in 1989 as a political education officer with the Agency for Mass Mobilization for Social and Economic Reliance Nigeria. In 1989, he joined Westex Nigeria Limited as an assistant general manager. In 1994 he was appointed as an assistant consular officer (immigration), and later chief protocol officer, Embassy of Nigeria, Washington, D.C., US. Dauda Lawal joined First Bank of Nigeria Plc in May 2003; as relationship manager, commercial banking, and was at various times senior manager, Abuja Area office, business development manager, Abuja, principal manager, group head PSG II, assistant general manager (business development manager), Maitama, deputy general manager (business development manager), Maitama/group head public sector, Abuja. Lawal is a fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria, Fellow of the Civilian Institute of Democratic Administration of Ghana, Member of the Institute of Directors, Nigeria, African Business Roundtable, and Member of the Institute of Corporate Administration, Nigeria.
To create jobs and reduce the high level of unemployment in Zamfara State, Lawal established Zam blocks, the largest block industry in the state. He established the Zam rice mills, Azuma water, and Zam agrochemical (the biggest fertilizer blending company in Northern Nigeria).
Defeated EFCC At Supreme Court
In the buildup to the 2023 General Elections, Lawal faced a lot of hurdles, especially litigation on his nomination as Governorship candidate. The supreme court annulled the primaries that produced him and a new one was conducted. But that was not the first time he would be at the Supreme court for a case. In 2021, the apex court ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release the N9 billion it seized from Dauda Lawal.
In a unanimous judgement, the five-man panel, led by Justice Muhammad Lawal Garba, dismissed the appeal filed by the EFCC against the judgement of the Court of Appeal which, among other things, ordered that:
“The decisions of the Federal High Court, Coram Judice: Hassan, J. delivered in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/13/2017 on 16th February 2017 are hereby set aside. The order of final forfeiture of the sum of N9,080,000,000.00 (Nine Billion and Eighty Million Naira) to the Federal Government of Nigeria is hereby set aside. It is hereby ordered that the said sum of N9,080,000,000.00 (Nine Billion and Eighty Million Naira) be returned to the Appellant forthwith.”