Alhaji AbdulaZiZ Yari, former governor of Zamfara State and Senator Kabiru Marafa, yesterday, left the ruling All progressives Congress (APC), to join the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), forming a new political realignment ahead of the 2023 general election.
Similarly, Mr Labaran Maku, former Minister of Information and Communication in the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, has joined the PDP, and proceeded to declare interest in the 2023 governorship election in Nasarawa State.
Both Marafa and Yari had objected to the defection of Governor Bello Matawelle from PDP to APC after he was made leader of the party in the state by a former chairman of the party’s caretaker committee and governor of Yobe State, Mai Bala Buni.
While Yari challenged this decision to no avail, he also enlisted to vie for the party’s national chairmanship but was forced to step down when President Muhammadu Buhari gave a clear indication that Senator Abdullahi Adamu was his preferred candidate.
The PDP chairman in Zamfara State, Colonel Bala Mande (rtd.), announced the defection of Yari and Marafa shortly after a stakeholders’ meeting in Gusau, the state capital. Mande said the party had finalised the issue of the defection of Yari and Marafa.
The chairman stated, “We have all agreed to work for the development of the party and the PDP in the state has welcome them to its fold. We will ensure justice and fairness to all members even after we have won elections in 2023.
“The date for their grand reception to our party will be announced later, but we are going to implement all the agreements reached during the
Chairman, Publicity Secretary of Yari’s faction of APC, Alhaji Ibrahim Birnin Magaji, confirmed the development but did not give details.
“Yes, it is true we are moving to opposition PDP, and this is all I can say for now,” Magaji said.
But throwing more light on the development, Marafa, who was subtle in his submission, said there was no need wasting time in the ruling party, because APC was not Islam.
Marafa told journalists by telephone yesterday that it was only his religion, Islam, that he could not leave for anything, and that he could not continue to stay in a party, where he was not needed.
He said, “Let those people that are afraid of us come out and say they want to see us out and we can go out anytime now. As far as I am concerned, I am a fulfilled person as far as this project APC is called. If there is anything left, I am waiting to see how the architect of this cruelty meted out to the people of Zamfara State, how they are going to fare in politics.
“But for now, I am happy, I told them to their faces in Kaduna that they will never benefit out of the machinations they were doing at that time, that is Mai Mala and his co-travellers. And I’m happy that they have lost out and they have lost out disgracefully.
“I can move out of APC anytime I so desire now; anytime I want, I can move out. APC is not Islam. It is my religion that I cannot leave for whatever reason, but a political party, I can leave and join anyone of my choice anytime I feel like.”
While noting that APC treated him in unjustly, and he had two options, either to forgive or move out of the party, Marafa said, “It depends on what the new leadership desires to do. If they choose to toe the line of Mai Mala, we are definitely going out. Politics is about winning elections and everything, so, we cannot stay in a house that we are not needed.”
He recalled that at a time, there were rumours that he and Yari would be suspended, and he challenged them to do so but they could not.
According to Marafa, “I’m happy that they were unable to see our back as far as the APC project is concerned and I am happy that we have seen their back today. We have sent them back to their primary assignment, the one that they have rejected and as far as we are concerned, we have won.
“Mai Mala lost out disgracefully. He’s a young man, he has just started politics. We are going to see how he’s going to end in politics. Zamfara people are not the kind of people he can joke with.
“Mai Mala looked for our trouble, and I told him we are not going anywhere, I’m going to stay and fight him and I’m happy we have been able to march him action for action. And today, he and all his friends have lost out.”
Maku also spoke at the weekend in Abuja after submitting his expression of interest and nomination forms for the governorship of Nasarawa State at the national headquarters of PDP. He told newsmen that he was in the best position to restore peace and security in the state and deliver good governance. He said he would achieve these by connecting with leaders at all levels.
Maku stated, “That (peace and security) is very crucial, because without that you cannot really achieve anything, as it is all over the north and even all over the country.
“I believe I am in the position to bring peace back to our state, offer proper leadership and good governance by connecting with leaders – traditional leaders, community leaders, professional leaders – across the board to see that we are able to bring peace to our state. That is very crucial because without that you cannot really achieve anything.
“As it is all over the north and even all over the country now, you need peace and that will be at the forefront. I know that everybody loves peace, I know this, but we need to work hard at it with vision, with capacity, with strength and with experience. I believe this is feasible and a lot of the people here are also committed to the project.
“The second one is to restore governance. If you go to our state now, hardly will you see any institution properly functioning. You need to retrain the entire civil service and reposition it to be able to execute the programmes of government, because the civil service is the engine room of governance.”
Maku equally promised to harness the abundant natural resources in the state for the overall benefit of its people.
According to him, “Nasarawa State is the richest states in the country. It is one of the richest in agriculture; it has one of the most fertile lands for agricultural production in Nigeria.
“Now, we need to work in the area of agriculture to prepare our farmers, just like Sardauna (Sir Ahmadu Bello) used to do in the 50s and 60s and was producing so much food for the north and selling to develop the north.