The political atmosphere in Zamfara State has become so tense as the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the now opposition Peoples Democratic party, PDP, battle for the control of the State.
The APC and the PDP have been trading words since the ban on campaign was lifted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, resulting in the arrest of some PDP chieftains in the State, including a former minister, Hon. Aliyu Ikira Bilbis.
Judging from the State political index since 1999, the PDP faces an uphill task in its bid to form the government in the State due to the continuous cracks on the walls of the party.
However, according to the State PDP chairman, Hon. Mukhtar Lugga, the leaders of the party have united to pursue one common goal, saying that no intimidation from the APC can stop the party’s determination to form the next government in the State.
“We are battle ready to wrestle power from the ruling party in the State, to rescue Zamfara State from the security and socio-economic challenges facing the innocent citizens.
“This is a democratic period but the people are reaping thorns in their apple farm.
“The issues of insecurity and socio-economic challenges have been clearly pinpointed to the electorate in most of our ward to ward campaigns; nothing is working in the State,” he said.
According to the party, Zamfara State has been under siege for the past one decade, lamenting that the State is witnessing an upsurge of crime and insecurity under various fashions.
Recently, the chairman of the party’s Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, former deputy Governor of the State, Barrister Mahadi Aliyu Gusau lamented that elections will not be held in sixteen wards of the State due to insecurity.
The party said the democratic feeling in the State which was mistaken by many as a licence for mischief and indiscipline have gradually culminated into a reign of terror, perpetrated by unemployed youths who for several years have remained without any means of livelihood.
The leadership of the PDP in the State has been intensifying serious efforts, giving the voters the main reason they should not vote for the APC.
DAILY POST observed that the leadership of the party has been focusing on grassroots campaigns irrespective of the security challenges in the State.
From the look of things now, the party seems to have been prepared to enter into the contest with all sense of purpose and it has become very clear that the party has continued its campaign rally unabated in every part of the State.
When the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar visited the State for his campaign rally, there was a huge turnout, signifying that it is making waves following its campaign against the APC on the insecurity bedevilling the State, appealing to the electorate to revolt against the APC through the ballot box.
“With the banditry activities, socio-economic challenges, scarcity of new Naira notes that have been creating tension among the masses, caused by the same APC-led federal government, there is no reason to retain APC”, the PDP claimed.
When the presidential candidate of the ruling APC, Ahmed Bola Tinubu came to the State for a campaign rally, he admitted that there was insecurity in the State, but assured of adequate security of lives and properties if voted into power, expressing optimism that no matter the sabotage, his party would runaway with a landslide victory.
“I did not come to Zamfara State for campaign but to thank Zamfara State residents for their unflinching support, for staying tight with the party”, he said.
The APC is still very optimistic that it will win due to the fact that right from the time of the defunct APP, ANPP and now APC, it has been winning elections in the State.
The APC is capitalising on the mentality of Zamfara people that no other political party can defeat it in the State. But the people seem to be shifting away from the tradition of one party system in the State.
According to the political permutation by political analysts, there are indications that the APC will score more votes in the urban areas than the PDP, while the opposition party will clear most of the rural areas, as the insecurity situation affects the rural dwellers more.
A villager, Ibrahim Mohammad said, “we in the villages are tired of banditry activities to the extent that we have abandoned farming activities which is our main source of livelihood. We will vote wisely, that is, if the bandits will allow us to come out massively to vote.
“The locals, including men, women and the youths in the communities control the voting power because we speak with one voice and any party we support will surely emerge the winner,” he said.
According to some electorate, they will no longer make mistakes following the security and socio-economic challenges they have been facing for over a decade, saying that they are now wiser and will be very careful in choosing their next leaders unlike the previous elections.
However, some electorate said they will not come out to vote due to the security challenges unless the security chiefs in the State would assure them of adequate security, especially in the rural areas.
But one thing remains very clear that the PDP still has not addressed its internal crisis in the State. Some unhappy governorship aspirants of the party, like Engineer Ibrahim Shehu had dragged the PDP governorship candidate, Dr. Dauda Lawal Dare to court twice challenging his candidature, meaning that peace has not yet returned to the party.
It seems that the leaders of the party have not learnt from their past mistakes, as there is every indication that anti-party activities are likely to resurface, which may be sponsored by some of the PDP top members in the State.
Recall that in 1999, the internal crisis rocked the same PDP when Ambassador M Z Anka won the governorship primary election but a former Governor of old Sokoto State, Abdulkarim Yahaya rejected the result of the primary, which led to a serious political crisis in the party. The defunct All Peoples Party, APP, capitalised on it to win the election.
The first executive Governor of the State, Alhaji Ahmed Sani Yarima went ahead to implement the Sharia legal system, which silenced the PDP in the State.
As it stands, the Labour Party, LP, the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, and others have no strength to match the two frontline political parties in the State.
2023 presidential election: APC, PDP in Zamfara epic battle