In an apparent show of shame, a ragtag army of thugs switched to anti-corruption advocates and besieged the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last Monday calling for the probe of the immediate past Governor of Zamfara State, Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle over alleged misappropriation of public funds.
A distant observer may view the protesters as serious and geniune crusaders, but anyone who has been following the unfortunate development in Zamfara State will certainly know that the assembly at the anti-graft headquarters is made up of hired political attack dogs.
The uncoordinated way they carried out the obviously hatchet men job betrayed the low level and uncouth characteristics of glorified thugs.
However, the development does not come as a surprise, it only confirmed the depth which Governor Dauda Lawal Dare can descend in his avowed mission to malign the hard-earned reputation of his immediate predecessor.
The ongoing vicious attack against the person and personality of the former governor of Zamfara State, Bello Mohammed Matawalle is no doubt an abuse of power taken too far.
In what could be properly described as “executive recklessness”, no sooner that Governor Dauda Lawal took the mandatory oath of office that he unleashed his full executive powers on his predecessor in office.
In what’s apparently a purported revenge mission, he declared a manhunt for Matawalle using the security agencies and his dreaded thugs who have hitherto caused a breach of peace across the state right from the day he was declared winner as governor, using thugs to cause mayhem with the backing of favour seeking security personnel.
The attack on Matawalle and other perceived enemies began the moment the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Dauda Lawal winner of the last governorship in the state. His army of thugs went gaga destroying anything and everything that is connected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Matawalle.
The illegal invasion of Matawalle’s private residence by the governor’s thugs and some policemen, acting on his directive, speaks volume of the untowards means a sitting governor can deploy against a political foe.
The invaders carted away Matawalle’s personal belongings including those of his wives and other family members, claiming they were stolen properties.
Then in order to further paint his predecessor black, he claimed 40 vehicles belonging to the state government were recovered from Matawalle’s residence.
But the general public saw through his lies by questioning the authenticity and veracity of his claims, even as they condemned the act of brigandage as barbaric and uncalled for.
Let’s even interrogate the charade for the sake of it. What will Matawalle do with 40 vehicles? Can the Zamfara State government as an institution boast of 40 vehicles in its fleet? What is the size of a residence that will conveniently accommodate 40 vehicles at once? These are the inquiries Lawal-Dare and his cohorts were still unable to provide appropriate answers to since the invasion.
And as some have consistently pointed out since the widely condemned outing, he has no answers to them and never will. Perhaps that’s why he is unable to provide evidence that such fleet of vehicles exists, even when Matawalle’s aides have repeatedly dared him to come public with his discovery.
Having been caught in the lie, he opted to distract attention by organising the charade at the EFCC. But like the invasion, this other antic will again fail woefully.
Come to think of it, Lawal-Dare and his army of recruits certainly have penchant for high figures and fragrantly display same in his desperate attempt to elicite public anger against his enemy.
The protesters at the EFCC calimed Matawalle misappropriated N70 billion through phoney contracts and proxies.
N70 billion is no doubt not a small amount that a state like Zamfara can lose and still witness the unprecedented development it enjoyed under Matawalle. And to say over 100 companies were used for the supposed phoney contracts to divert the sum is as laughable as it is absurd.
To also say that 100 Nigerian contractors received monies and were later “compelled by the Governor to return the funds received from the state coffers back to him” is one huge joke. An average Nigerian contractor will not see an opportunity to get free money and return same especially having known that such is unaccounted for. So this tale hardly adds up.
Also, if the EFCC finds Matawalle liable, will he have been walking freely especially when immunity no longer covers him? Does the agency need an assembly of thugs to remind it of its responsibility? So many questions begging for answers.
Lawal-Dare needs to thread softly so that his actions will not turn round to hunt him in the future. He who stays in a glass house, as the saying goes, does not throw stones. He must be told that his seat as the chief executive of Zamfara State is still not 100 percent secured. The case challenging his seat is before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal. The table could turn in favour of the same Matawalle who he has been touting and terrorising today. A word is enough for the wise.
Yusuf Idris Gusau
APC Publicity Secretary
28th June, 2023