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Bello Matawalle: Meet Nigeria’s new Minister of State for Defence

Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle

Bello Muhammad, best known as Bello Matawalle, is a renowned Nigerian political figure and former educator. Born on February 12, 1969, in Maradun, previously a part of the North-Western State, he became the Zamfara State Governor from 2019 to 2023. Balancing his political duties, Matawalle is a dedicated family man with four wives and multiple children.

Beginning his academic journey, Bello Matawalle secured his First School Leaving Certificate from Maradun Township Primary School in 1979. He pursued higher education at VTC Bunza, graduating in 1984. Expanding his horizons, he advanced his studies at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, and Thames Valley University, London.

Before his impressive political journey, Matawalle showcased his dedication to education, teaching at notable institutions like Government Girls College Moriki and Kwatarkoshi. He then took on a role at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.

Matawalle’s political ambitions became evident in 1998 when he vied for and secured a seat in the House of Assembly with the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP). After Sani Abacha’s unfortunate passing in the same year, the subsequent reshuffling of political parties led to scheduled elections in 1999.

From 1999 to 2003, Bello Matawalle distinguished himself by serving as the Zamfara State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Environment, Rural Development, and Youth and Sports.

In May 2003, under the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) banner, Matawalle clinched a significant victory, representing Bakura/Maradun in the House of Representatives. His political insight led him to be re-elected in 2007 with ANPP. Demonstrating flexibility, he switched to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2011 and secured re-election for a third term.

The 2019 governorship election in Zamfara was a pivotal moment. Contesting with the PDP, Matawalle initially didn’t emerge as the victor. However, a subsequent Supreme Court decision changed this, declaring him the governor on May 29, 2019.

A strategic move came on June 29, 2021, when Matawalle, alongside other prominent Zamfara politicians, transitioned to the All Progressives Congress (APC) during a Gusau rally. His leadership was recognized when he was named the Zamfara APC Leader by Yobe State Governor and APC Caretaker Chairman, Mai Mala Buni.

In a recent development, Nigerian President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu acknowledged Matawalle’s expertise, appointing him as the Minister of State for Defence. This came after his tenure as the governor of Zamfara State concluded earlier in the year.

For those interested in Nigerian politics, Bello Matawalle’s journey, from his early educational pursuits to his significant political roles, showcases dedication, adaptability, and leadership.