Buhari sent soldiers to rig Zamfara election for PDP — Matawalle reacts to defeat
The incumbent governor of Zamfara state, Bello Matawalle, has claimed that the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government militarised March 18, 2023, gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in the state to favour the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Matawalle claimed the action was to punish him for challenging the Buhari’s administration new naira policy.
He said at least fifty soldiers were sent to every polling unit to rig the election in favour of PDP.
Recall Matawalle and his counterparts from Kano and Kaduna, Abdullahi Ganduje and Nasir El Rufai, filed a suit challenging the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the Supreme Court over its new naira policy.
The three governors are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Matawalle lost his re-election bid to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dauda Lawal.
Lawal polled 377,726 votes to defeat Matawalle, who got 311,976 votes.
The APC candidate in Kano also lost the governorship election, but the party’s candidate won in Kaduna.
But in a nine minutes interview with the DW Hausa, the governor said he was warned that the election might not go his way for his actions.
He said over 300 truckloads of soldiers were sent to the state on the eve of the election, with over 50 soldiers sent to strategic polling units to intimidate voters against voting for APC.
“We’ve security challenges in Zamfara state, and we’ve been asking them to send soldiers to us but they didn’t. But three days before the election (gubernatorial) 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.
“And I tell you, they were over fifty soldiers in our polling units in Zamfara. They (soldiers) were even straight about it that those voting for APC would not be allowed to vote. People were harrassed and beat because they wanted to vote for APC. We all have this evidence on video. When we called soldiers to come to our aid, they didn’t come. But I’ve left everything to God,” he said.
When asked if there was any reason for the militarisation of the election in the state, Matawalle said he had intelligence report that the soldiers were sent to rig the election.
“When I saw that (the soldiers being sent) 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….. Yes, what’s being said is that we went to the court (Supreme Court) over new naira notes redesign. They said myself, Ganduje and El Rufai would be punished accordingly,” he said.
When he was asked why APC won the state during the presidential election but failed to reflect so in the gubernatorial, Mr Matawalle said he was happy that Bola Tinubu, the president elect, won the state with a landslide.
On whether he would go to court over the “irregularities”, Mr Matawalle said he has left it to the party to decide and he would respect whatever decision the party take on whether or not to go to court.