The Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, on Thursday, said his opposition to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s new naira policy cost him his reelection bid during the March 18 governorship election.
He also said Zamfara saw more military personnel deployed during the election than when the state government requested military assistance to route out insurgents.
According to him, the security situation would have been better than it is today had the military been deployed earlier.
“What is being said is that we went to the court over new naira notes redesign. They said myself, Ganduje, and El Rufai would be punished accordingly,” Matawalle said in an interview with DW Hausa.
Matawalle who ran on the All Progressives Congress ticket, polled 311,976 votes. He lost to Dauda Lawal-Dare of the People’s Democratic Party who garnered 377,726 votes.
Matawalle emerged governor in 2019 on the PDP ticket after a Court of Appeal judgment nullified the APC primary elections, which made Muktar Idris the candidate and winner of the election.
Speaking on DW Hausa, the governor said, “We have had security challenges in Zamfara State, and we’ve been asking them to send soldiers to us, but they didn’t.
“But three days to the (governorship) election, 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.”
He accused the Buhari regime of bullying the Zamfara electorate into voting the opposing PDP through heavy military presence.
“They were over 50 soldiers in our polling unit in Zamfara. They were even straight about it that those voting for APC would not be allowed to vote.
“When I saw that (the heavy deployment of soldiers), I knew they were up to something. That was why it didn’t bother me because I received an intelligence report on what they were going to do against me. Not only myself but other governors that did something that is considered wrong.
“People were harassed and beaten 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 have left everything to God,” he explained.
However, Matawalle said despite his loss, the presidential victory of the APC’s Bola Tinubu was enough consolation for him.
“Correct, we delivered Zamfara State to the APC during the presidential election. But we lost the governorship.
“Nevertheless, we are happy about his emergence. If he didn’t win, it would have been more painful for us. But I am not worried at all,” he explained.