The immediate past governor of Zamfara State and State Minister of Defence, Bello Matawalle, has reacted to the allegations levelled against him by his successor, Governor Dauda Lawal.
Mr Lawal had accused the former governor of embezzlement, financial recklessness, and awards of contracts without due process.
But speaking on the allegations in a video interview with DCL Hausa, Mr Matawalle said the allegations were all lies aimed at getting him sacked as minister.
According to the minister, Mr Lawal’s bitterness against him started when he was Zamfara governor.
Mr Matawalle added that at that time, he declined his approvals to Mr Lawal’s shady contract proposals, hence his resolve to incite the public against him.
He said: “When I was the governor, Dauda Lawal approached me and said that he has fertiliser on ground and requested that we award him the contract to supply at the sum of N4 billion.
“And being an indigene of the state, I awarded the contract to his firm, Crown Digital Solutions.
“But surprisingly, after seven months, the fertiliser was not supplied. And I said, If you’re unable to supply the agreed amount, can we get you to supply 120 trucks? He answered in the affirmative. And I requested him to write to me, and I awarded him the contract.
“Unfortunately, only 10 trucks were supplied. And even what he supplied was fake fertiliser. You can go investigate that. Luckily, I insisted the fertiliser must be supplied before we pay him.
“There was also another instance where he brought the management of Fidelity Bank to me. He told me they were willing to give the state government a loan of N30 billion that would be distributed to the local governments.
“And I agreed to the proposal, and the bank gave us the loan. After the monies were distributed, I later discovered some hidden deductions from the bank.
“I compared the charges with what UBA was charging us for a similar loan, the difference was too much.
“So I summoned Fidelity Bank and requested where those 1 percent charges were going to – about N300 million – and they told me the money goes to Dauda.
“I got angry and told them I didn’t need the loan any longer. And we returned it to them.
“The Kaduna zonal office of the EFCC told me that they discovered a N300 million deduction from the local government account. I told them I knew nothing about it and urged them to carry out an investigation.
“Upon completion of the investigation, Fidelity Bank was compelled to return the N300 million to the government’s coffers. So these are the roots of my crisis with him,” he said.
Mr Matawalle also claimed that the governor was unperturbed by the security situation in Zamfara State.
“Dauda is not bothered by the insecurity in the state. The day the students of the Federal University Gusau were kidnapped, he was in Gusau that very day but left the country immediately after the incident happened.
“The president had asked us to go on a sympathy visit to the state but when I called him and his deputy, none of them picked up my calls. Badaru had to call a third party, and he told us he was in the U.S., that we could come when he’s back. Up til this moment, he hasn’t called us,” the minister added.
Mr Matawalle, however, said all the lies being peddled against him would not get him sacked by the president.
“Today God has made me a minister, but he (Gov. Lawal) has been sponsoring campaigns that I should be sacked. If I am removed as minister, would Dauda be appointed?
“For your information, all those sponsored campaigns won’t get me sacked; he should focus and provide the needed governance to the people of the state,” Mr Matawalle added.