Alhaji Muhammadu Bello Matawalle, is a member of the House of representative representing Bakura and Maradun Federal constituency from Zamfara State and also Chairman, House Committee on Security, Intelligence and Public Safety, Alhaji Bello Matawalle Maradun is vying for gubernatorial seat under the platform of PDP come 2015. In this interactive session with the Newsmen in Gusau Zamfara state he x-rays the performance of the incumbent Governor of the state Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Yari Abubakar and concludes that he’s recording failures because he came on board without any developmental blueprint.
Question: How would you assess the state government’s efforts in making the state peaceful again?
Bello Muhammed Matawalle: To my knowledge, the state government stands the position of just a shallow level in the commitments of making the achievements in terms of peace restoration in the state. The Governor and his aides were only busy trying to mount blame of the incidences on the federal government and the Police, while they could not play their expected roles. The state government did not, in whatever aspect, help the matter. After series of meetings between my Committee and the national security chiefs, men were deployed to arrest the situation. But, unfortunately later, we received complaints that the state government was not willing to encourage the security personnel on the field. To cap it all, the recorded contribution given by the state government as engagement for the maintenance of the operations carried by the security agencies across the dangerous forest was not even commendable the worst part of it all is that the governor could not spend a week in the country ever Since he assumed office, therefore, he has no knowledge of the happening in the state.
Question: Your Posters are all over the state capital indicating that you’re preparing to contest the governorship election in 2015?
Bello Muhammad Matawall: It is true that I want to vie for the post of governorship under the platform of PDP come 2015. Is there anything wrong with it. Let me tell you that I cannot recline to continue watching wrong good people of Zamfara State dying of insecurity, cholera outbreak, unemployment and in abject poverty caused by the recent unnecessary dismissal of 14,000 Thousands of civil servants.
Question: What informed your Decision to join the race?
Bello Muhammed Matawalle: There is no sector which is not dilapidated under the present administration, no sector that is not in urgent need of revival. This is the main reason why Zamfara fell asleep since many 2011, and nothing is functioning. You see the spirit of civil servants is no longer alive, because over 14,000 civil servants were unnecessarily sacked, while the dormant ones that remained are suffering.
Commercial activities have been sent to graveyards; educational sectors as well as health have been strangled to standstill. Right now as I am talking to you, the state government could not pay for the release of WACE results; the only state in the country with such a shame. We have as an evidence numerous reports that were never being denied by the state government indicating total collapse of educational sector in the state.
Let me give you an example, we read in the national dailies that the state House of Assembly had investigated the state UBEB Financial Affairs just some months ago when they discovered that the sum of
N1.6 Billion was diverted to personal bank account. In the recommendation, the State House of Assembly has suggested that the embattled Chairman of the Board, Murtala Adamu Jangebe, should be arrested and subsequently prosecuted by the State Attorney-General. The recommendation further suggested that the Board chairman, following the discovery of the looted 1.6 Billion Naira should be banned from occupying any political office in the state henceforth, you see, the attorney-general did not work with the recommendation made by the house of law; so also the governor himself remained mute on the money which up till now could not be accounted for.
Question: What are other things you could point out that the incumbent governor has done wrong?
Bello Muhammed Matawalle: Like I told you in the instance, the government of Abdulaziz Yari is full of blunders; they were only opportune to have taken power without any blueprint. We recently read in the papers that the Zamfara State Government had spent N8.6 Billion just for the removal, repainting and reinstallation of the Gusau streetlights units after they probed the immediate past administration of Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi for using N2.6 Billion Naira for the initiation of the same project.
Question: As the Chairman Hausa Committee on Security, Intelligence and Public Safety, what is exactly have you done to have peace restored?
Bello Muhammed Matawalle: Well, Zamfara State was a land of peace because the year 2011 when the present administration under the leadership of Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar took over power the state is surrounded with number of economic potentials capable of playing the role of food basket to the whole nation.
It is also blessed with high deposits of mineral resources in commercial quantity strongly believed to serve as substitute to crude oil. Bu you see, all these cannot be explored without peace, and the peace cannot prevail without conquering security challenges that have become front pages stories of noble national dailies.
It was clear in the record featured by the historical background of the Zamfara State Security challenges that there were two minor mistakes which the negligence of the state government had promoted to become major, now grown fully matured to back-pulled two viable activities in the state comprising farming and legal mining which collectively formed 97 percent of the state commercial productivity.
Question: What two minor mistakes are you talking about and what amount of negligence from the state government?
Bello Muhammed Matawalle: On the one hand, some members of the vigilante groups that were not well trained embarked upon operations to flush out suspected criminals in some villages. Yes, it was a welcome idea; but it was alleged that they served contrary to the provisions of the law by taking illegal judgment on the suspects instead of making collaborations with the security agencies to allow judiciary to decide their fate.
On the other hand, the state government was reluctant after having received a report on a dispute between the farmers and Fulani herdsmen over alleged illegal use of farm land reserved for cattle rearing. You see, the state government was absolutely mute on the two burning issues. They were supposed to have a revisit on the forest demarcation mapped out by the law to ensure an amicable separation of farm lands and the cattle rearing reserves. Number two, the state government should not have relaxed on the incidence which allegedly seem to spark off the harsh decision taken by some members of the vigilant groups. The vigilant groups should have been directed to always wait for instructions from the security chiefs in the state.
Question: Now, the security situation is deteriorating in the state to the extent that some villages have been over run by suspected gunmen.
Bello Muhammed Matawalle: Stop, I say! Who tells people are not sleeping in their respective villages? Look, I am from Zamfara state and I am Chairman, House Committee on Security and intelligence, so also the able Inspector-General of Police, Muhammad Dahiru Abubakar. Though, I cannot reveal security measures being put in place, believe you me, all people in the affected villages are now relaxed as law and order have since been restored, everybody is now back to his legitimate business. When we received reports on incessant attacks on our people, we were sleepless in holding meetings with the security agencies in the state, and it yielded positive outcome as we recorded great achievements. I am assuring you that with the introduction of new strategies projected by the IGP, Zamfara is peaceful again; it even has the lowest record of armed robbery in the country as there is no hiding place for criminals.
Question: What are the first projects you will embark upon if elected as Zamfara State Governor?
Bello Muhammed Matawalle: Youth and Women empowerment indeed. Because it is the only way of improving security among, the populace; if youth are employed, surely the rate of crime and other social vices will be lower. So also empowerment of women which even now, I have recorded achievement, better than the state government in my constituency and some other parts of the state. The growing rate of poverty in Zamfara state no doubt needs urgent attention, which is what has really attracted me and people alike to come to contest for the position of governorship from my party.
Question: Are you satisfied with the state governments is handling programmes on youth and women empowerment?
Bello Muhammed Matawalle: What programme? Look just few months ago, youth staged a protest over refusal of the state government to pay their 2- year allowances under skill acquisition programme, and women from across the fourteen local government area of the state were also lamenting Governor Yari’s failure to fulfill the promises made to empower them immediately after assumption of office. Who is being empowered then? His family and relatives or his political God-Fathers?