By Musa Dangusau
Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Bello Matawalle, is lucky to have the congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in his state put forward to a yet to be determined date, as that would avail him the opportunity to learn a lesson or two from the crises that followed the congresses in other states.
Reports from the recent congresses of the APC across the nation from the ward to state levels have shown that no fewer than 14 states are in deep crises, with as many parading parallel executives.
A look at what caused the crises in those states would reveal that the major factor was the lack of unity among party leaders, infighting and inability to acknowledge and give party leaders their due.
In Imo State, for instance, while it was former Governor Rochas Okorocha that built the structure of the party from the scratch, the current governor, Hope Uzodinma, would not give him as much as a little space to benefit from his toil.
It is the same between Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, and the governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, where the two are locked in a battle of supremacy.
The lesson Matawalle can draw from those scenarios is that it is needless trying to cut off persons whose efforts have led to building the structures of the party from having a say in its affairs.
It is public knowledge that Matawalle has been a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic party (PDP) in his state and only became a member of the APC about four months ago. This follows that, despite the popularity of the APC in Zamfara and its well organized structures, Matawalle did not contribute anything to its growth and current strength.
Rather, as a member of the opposition party, he even sought to undermine the APC by contesting against the party and sponsoring other candidates to do same.
His defection to the APC in June this year was more out of desperation to benefit from what he has seen to be a more organised and accepted platform than the PDP where he was before.
And to a large extent, the APC has been magnanimous to the governor by welcoming him to the party and making its structure available to him to have relevance as a political leader. The governor, therefore, owes the APC lots of gratitude by making sure his coming into the party brings with it much blessing and not curses.
One way the governor can do this is by avoiding confrontation with other leaders of the party in the state and by being a team player.
The governor is aware that some people laid the foundation and contributed to making the APC what it is in Zamfara State before he joined the party.
There is no way the history of the APC in Zamfara would be told that credit will not be given to such committed and relentless leaders like former Governor Abdulaziz Yari and Senator Kabiru Marafa.
It was Yari, for instance, who, after inheriting the structure of the ANPP as governor and serving the party in various capacities, including being the state secretary that led the party into APC at the state level from whence he returned the state to the party in all elections and made sure it won the 2019 elections before the victory was upturned by the courts.
Marafa, on the other hand, has been the hand behind the scenes as a grassroots mobiliser who coordinated the affairs of the party and gave it his whole support in all elections.
His contributions to building the party transcends even the state with his ardent support with brilliant ideas and other contributions to the APC in the Senate and at the national level.
The efforts of the leaders, therefore, cannot be discountenanced in further consolidating the strength of the party in Zamfara and making it more fortified for future elections.
When the congresses in Zamfara are conducted, the governor owes it a duty to factor in the interests of the leaders who built the party, as anything outside that would come not just as an act of ingratitude but also against the interests of the party in the state.
The situation where the governor is said to be insisting on taking 70 per cent of party positions when his contributions to the growth of the party is only minimal must be jettisoned for a more reasonable compromise that gives unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and honour to whom it is due.
Without doubt, the APC in Zamfara needs the likes of Yari and Marafa to continue its winning streak. Already, so many concessions have been made in order to accommodate the governor for defecting to the APC that he needs not ask for more.
The other party leaders have been magnanimous in allowing for the dissolution of the exco and the appointment of a three-member caretaker committee to run the affairs of the party in the state and the extension of the membership registration and revalidation exercise in the state following Matawalle’s defection.
Matawalle should see reason to avoid the kind of crises rocking other states by accepting the 50-50 proposal on sharing party positions with the other leaders and not insist on having 70 per cent control of the party.
The watchword for the growth of the APC in Zamfara remains respect and cooperation with other party leaders.
•Gusau contributed this piece from Gusau, Zamfara State