By Olaotan Falade
In what many political pundits have described as one of the biggest upsets of the 2023 general elections, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Dauda Lawal unseated incumbent Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle in the March 18 governorship election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Lawal the governor-elect with a total of 377,726 votes to defeat Matawalle of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who polled 311,976.
Surprisingly, the PDP had never won a governorship election in Zamfara since 1999. The main opposition party lost to the various iterations of the ruling party in previous elections: from the All Peoples Party (APP) to the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) to the APC.
Matawalle himself came to power as a PDP candidate in 2019 but it was the Supreme Court that gave him the top job having penalised the APC for not nominating its victorious candidate through valid primaries. But, in 2021, Matawalle decamped to the ruling APC.
A glimpse into his background
Lawal was born on the 2nd of September 1965 in Gusau, the state capital. He obtained both Bachelor’s (1984 – 1987) and Master of Science degrees in Political Science (1989 – 1992) from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in Kaduna state.
He started his working career in 1989 as a political education officer with the Agency for Mass Mobilization for Social and Economic Reliance Nigeria. In 1989, he joined Westex Nigeria Limited as an Assistant General Manager.
Lawal soon left the shores of the country in 1994 for an appointment at the Embassy of Nigeria, Washington, DC, USA as Assistant Consular Officer (Immigration). He was on that job role for six years before moving up the radar in 2000 as Chief Protocol Officer till 2003 when he returned to Nigeria.
After his return to Nigeria in 2003, Lawal was engaged in banking, community service, and academic self-improvement.
He attended several courses at home and abroad; the Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, the London Business School, Wharton Business School, Pennsylvania, Oxford University Business School, International Faculty of Finance, London, Fitch Training, London and New York, The Asian Banker, Accenture, Lagos Business School, Euromoney, Ernst and Young among others.
He worked assiduously surpassing his targets regularly. He joined the Board of First Bank in 2012 and until his appointment as the Executive Director, North, he was the Executive Director, Public Sector, North. He was previously Executive Vice President, Public Sector (North), and held several management positions within the bank including Business Development Manager (BDM), Maitama, Abuja, where he grew the bank’s business with the Abuja Metropolis as his principal remit.
He has over 26 years post-qualification experience which covers commercial and public-sector banking. Dauda’s dexterity has recorded strong achievements in his present function as executive director. He is a two-time recipient of the First Bank CEO Merit Award for Outstanding Performance as the “Best Business Development Manager” in 2006 and “The Most Enterprising Staff” in 2009.
Lawal is a fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria, a Fellow of the Civilian Institute of Democratic Administration of Ghana, a Member of the Institute of Directors, Nigeria, African Business Roundtable, and a Member of the Institute of Corporate Administration, Nigeria.
He resigned as the Executive Director of First Bank in 2018 channeling his energy into philanthropy and charity works. According to feelers from the state, the Governor-elect invested heavily in promoting the welfare of others and providing support to public institutions, especially in areas of education.
Lawal contested the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary for Zamfara State in 2018 but lost to Mukhtar Shehu Idris.
He ran again in the PDP primary in 2022 and was nominated as the party’s flag bearer.
Lawal has been awarded the honorary Doctorate Degree by Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto. In a similar vein, the IHERIS University of Togo awarded him with another Doctorate Degree. He received the prestigious African Achievers Award in 2021 at the Kensington Palace London United Kingdom.
He is married to Hurriya and the union is blessed with children.
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