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MAHMUD JEGA : WHEN AN UMPIRE PITCHES TENT

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By

Yusuf Idris Gusau

APC Publicity Secretary, Zamfara

Renowned journalist and respected columnist, Mahmud Jega deviated from the norm in his write up titled, “In Zamfara, everyone is a bandit sponsor?” which appeared in a very promising online newspaper, 21st Century Chronicle recently.

In the article which was no doubt a veiled reply to the recent briefing by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State, the veteran journalist stepped down from the high pedestal his many years of handiwork placed him when he opted to take sides in the political imbroglio in the sate.

The press conference was a reaction to an earlier one organised by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where it blamed Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle for the spate of havoc caused by bandits and asked the governor to resign his position in order “to save the state from collapse”.

The PDP through the press conference which was anchored by the sacked former Executive Chairman of the state’s Zakkat and Endowment Board, Prof Kabiru Jabaka also accused Matawalle of traveling to Niger Republic to “watch wrestling competition while the state was burning on daily basis without concern”, while also lamenting the state of education with the closure of schools. Jabaka in the same breathe, acknowledged the importance of collaboration with the government of Niger Republic in stemming the tide of banditry in the state but said the timing of Matawlle’s visit to the neighbouring country was wrong.

Beyond this, there were number of times when Barrister Mahdi Gusau had called out Matawalle and the ruling APC for attacks over activities of bandits in the state since the governor changed party in 2021.

However, its is surprising that Mahmud who, by his calling, and standing in the society, elected to choose sides in the altercations between two political parties instead of doing justice to the issues on ground.

In his piece dated January 13, 2022, he said he was shocked to see the video clip in which Yusuf Idris Gusau, Publicity Secretary of Zamfara State APC, Matawalle faction, alleged that retired General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau shared interest with bandits in the state. “An Army General, former Chief of Army Staff, three-time National Security Adviser and one-time Defence Minister, being in cahoots with bandits? He had queried.

Why should Mahmud be surprised by the mention that a retired Army General could have links with bandits? Why does it sound that in the eyes of our veteran, General Gusau and other such high ranks can do no wrong? All the times since the Boko Haram insurgency took us by storm and the consequent military deployment, first in Borno State and other parts of the Northeast following the spread of its activities, newspapers and television as well as other media are repellent with stories of how top military officers soiled their hands in elaborate compromises that dragged the war against it through decades.

Generals and top military officers, serving and retired have become millionaires over night, while the Northeast and indeed the entire country bleeds. I’m sure our erudite columist must have scripted a piece on the much celebrated arms deal, an arms procurement deal that resulted in the embezzlement of $2 billion through the office of a former National Security Adviser. Yet Mahmud believed that top military officers are saints and that the exalted office of the NSA is immuned to corruption.

In the Zamfara debacle, stories of how military officers aided bandits activities are common.

The most recent was the arrest of seven serving military officers for conniving with bandits and supplying logistics and weapons to them.

It is also surprising that Mahmud did not see anything wrong in General Gusau owning and operating gold mining sites and the fact that Gusau’s son, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau stood as surety and took 11 Chinese nationals who were involved in illegal mining on bail after their arrest by security operatives.

May be there is need to take our respected journalist on a little tour of the reality on ground to further educate him on his claimed knowledge of Zamfara.

Amid other very insightful reports, the Institute for Security Studies in June, 2020 detailed how collaboration between politically connected Nigerians and Chinese corporations in illegal gold mining drove rural banditry and violent local conflicts in some parts of Nigeria including Zamfara State.
In the report over 5, 000 people were said to have been killed in Zamfara alone within the period of five years. One can only guess how colossal the number of deaths within those years the banditry first made an inroad into the state and now could be.

“Illegal mining leads to violent local conflicts in two ways in the North West. First, those funding the mining fight over control of the mine fields. These ‘sponsors’ are protected by some state governments, and act as if they’re above the law,” the report said while quoting a source.

The report also pointed out that “those who sponsor illegal mining also fund banditry and cattle rustling in mining communities in order to incite violence among cattle breeders and rearers. It equally noted that Illegal miners often front for politically connected individuals who collaborate with foreign nationals and corporations to sell gold, adding that the mineral is routinely smuggled to Dubai through neighbouring Niger and Togo.

It said even governments led negotiations with the sponsors of illegal mining, it will always be under the conditions determined by the sponsors – showing the level of political connectedness and protection they enjoy. Still Mahmud didn’t notice the correlation between bandits and gold mines exploration in the state.

Now looking at the relationship between the Gusaus and the illegal miners of Chinese nationals, which Mahmud dismissed as not enough to link them to banditry. According to the ISS report “some political ‘godfathers’ put pressure on the government to free Chinese nationals arrested for illegal mining in Zamfara State. This lends credence to the existence of a powerful network of organised criminals involving local populations and foreign nationals in Nigeria’s mining and extractive sector.”Let’s even assume that the General has no link with what’s happening despite owning majority of mining sites in the state, what is the connection between his son, a sitting deputy governor of the state that he has to take the Chinese nationals on bail? Why had the general himself a former NSA remained mute over all the crises in the state until the time when the governor ordered for a shut down of GSM networks to distrupt communication between bandits and informants among other reasons.

These are the types of questions Mahmud, would have asked, also interrogated in his write up instead of totaly dismissing the issue with a wave of the hand as untrue.

He was also quick to link the controversy which the PDP leaders themselves initiated, to the “campaign to get Governor Bello Muhammed Matawalle to a second term in office next year,” adding that the move “is dirtier than anything the state ever witnessed.”.. So even if this is considered, does Jega who ‘knows Zamfara very well,’ mean to tell us, it’s dirtier than killing of the innocent or than the people who chose not to show concern on victims and the Jegas are using pen, just because of their personal relationship, to protect them.
How can anyone relate this with what has happened in the state within a couple of weeks? All the APC did so far in the controversy, was to counter whatever the PDP advanced through media interface, how does that amount to playing dirty politics as Mahmud wants the public to believe? To him, PDP is the victim here; he assumed PDP does no wrong even when the party went out of its way to manufacture figures of those who unfortunately lost their lives in the recent attacks in Anka and Bukkuyum local government areas contrary to the statistics provided by the emirs who superintendend over the places.

Mahmud also claimed that “General Gusau is apparently being targeted because his son, the Deputy Governor, refused to decamp from PDP to APC alongside the governor.” Really? How is the supposed refusal of Mahdi to follow Matawalle to APC an issue here? What’s Mahdi’s or even his father’s worth and antecedent politically that his decision to remain in PDP can affect Matawalle’s fortune?
His position that Senator Kabiru Marafa “nurses an open ambition to contest for governor again in 2023, hence the Matawalle camp’s coming at him with all guns blazing” is equally laughable. The public is aware that all the while Matawalle, despite many instances of provocative utterances including press statements against his person and administration by Marafa, has not deemed it pertinent to join issue with the senator. So how is Matawalle coming at Marafa “with all guns blazing?” This, l see here, as part of attempts by Jega having ‘known Zamfara’ to also heat up the polity while serving whatever force behind him.
As per Marafa nursing a governorship ambition, why should that bother Matawalle who is aware of the senator’s pedigree? It won’t be the first time Marafa would be vying for the state’s number one position but the most important thing in a race for such position, is the end result. What was the senator’s poll outcome the last time he contested for the governorship position and between then and now, what has really changed for him that will alter poll outcome in his favour in the next election?

The veteran was either misinformed or deliberately wants to brows in more misunderstanding when he brought in the names he mentioned and alleged that they were tagged as bandits sponsors because there was no time where Dauda Lawal Dare and Honourable Muttaqa Rini were ever accused of sponsoring banditry activities, thus Jega’s suggestion that such allegations should quickly be investigated by the security should also apply to him so that we know his source. Governor Matawalle had a hand in facilitating the rescue of the former Bank Chieftain’s younger brother Yusuf Lawal Dare from his abductors where the victim spent months in the evil hands of his captors making the Lawal Dare family to show public appreciation to the governor’s efforts.

What would have been expected from Jega’s piece at this critical time, is how to encourage the governments at all levels on how to bring lasting peace in their respective states and the nation in general.

Mahmud Jega has a high standing in the society especially the Northwest where he hails from, tilting towards a side in a feud by joining as an accuser could change such imposing stand. That’s why he needs to trend softly and ensure objectivity and fairness in all his dealings. A word is enough for the wise as the saying goes.

By:
Lawali Mustapha Moriki
Jabi Abuja

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THREE FMR. GOVERNORS, MINISTERS, AND TOP APC POLITICIANS HEADS MATAWALLE APC CAMPAIGN COUNCIL

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Former Governor of Zamfara Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi and Ahmad Rufai Sani were among the prominent APC politicians that are to head the gubernatorial campaign council for the second term bid of Governor Bello Matawalle.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Tijjani Yahaya Kaura and former Finance Minister Ambassador Bashir Yuguda are among the leaders of Zamfara APC gubernatorial campaign council.

The campaign council also has many former and serving senators, members of the Federal House of Representatives as well as serving and former ambassadors.

Abdulaziz Yari who is the Chairman of the Campaign Council has formally issued appointment letters to the hundreds of APC power brokers that are to work at the various campaign committees and subcommittees.

He charged the members of the campaign council to work harder and justify the confidence reposed on them by making sure that the Governor and indeed all the APC candidates are returned elected in the forthcoming 2023 election.

He also warned politicians and party supporters to shun political thuggery and conduct a campaign that violent free.
He further said his committee would not allow anybody to carry any kind of weapons except the security agencies that are mandated to do so.

He assured that the campaign council would conduct a hitch free campaign devoid of any thuggery activities.

Abdul Aziz Abubakar Yari appeals to the people of Zamfara state to ensure that APC candidates are massively given all the necessary votes to win election in 2023 general election.

He further charged the council members to redouble their efforts as the committee would work for the success of the party in the state.

He called on the other political parties in the state to emulate his committee by not allowing anybody, particularly the youth to carry dangerous weapons during their political campaign and charge security agencies not to spare anyone caught carrying weapons during the campaigns of the political parties in the state.

Also speaking during the occasion the director general of the campaign council who was a former Minister and Senator Alhaji Tijjani Yahaya kaura Namoda charge members to be vigilant and dedicated in the discharge of their responsibility as they have chosen based on merit; therefore they must lead APC to victory.

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ZAMFARA SEN. YAU INAUGURATES 2023 CAMPAIGN URGES CONSTITUENTS TO VOTE FOR TINUBU & ALL APC CANDIDATES

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The Senator representing Zamfara North Sahabi Alh Yau has inaugurate his 2023 campaign at Kaura Namoda local government area, the headquarters of the Senatorial zone.

The campaign inauguration was attended by hundreds of party supporters and well-wishers who joined the campaign rally with jubilation.

The Senator who expressed satisfaction with the effort he has put in place so far in delivering to his 2019 campaign promises assured that if provided the opportunity again, he will do more to consolidate from what he has done and ensure that more federal opportunities are brought to the door steps of his constituents.

He took time to make a review of his stewardship and thanked his constituents for given him the opportunity to represent them at the Nigeria’s upper chamber.

On the APC Presidential candidature, Sen. Yau in insisted that, Tinubu and Shetima Presidential candidature is the best option for Nigeria especially with the effort put in place by the Buhari led administration and why the gesture need to be sustained.

He urged people of his constituency to massively vote for Tunubu and Shatima as well as all the APC candidates across the board.

AFormer Governor Mahmuda Shinkafi, former Sen. Tijjani Yahaya and a host of other prominent personalities from the Zone attended the campaign Flag off.

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ZAMFARA: WHY ENGR SULEIMAN GUMMI’S DESPERATE TACTICS WON’T SAVE PDP

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OPINION ARTICLE

By

Yusuf Idris Gusau

—————————————————————

This is no doubt the best of times for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Zamfara State.

The party and its many candidates deserve the sympathy of all for the current situation it finds itself in.

Having lost all hopes of making any impact in the forthcoming general elections, it has resorted to untoward means, behaving like a bull in a china shop, destroying anything and everything in its way.

But how can a party of PDP’s standing, which has been in power at some points for many years and its candidates behave like deranged women whose kids have suddenly gone missing?

In this moment of madness, there should be a sane member within the lot who could rein them in; a rallying figure who could calm the fraying nerves.

But when a ranking member of one of the country’s highest law making body, the House of Representatives, Suleiman Abubakar Gummi’s joined the fray, it then becomes obvious that the situation is irredeemable.

The party, as it were, is doomed and at a dire point of no return.

The honourable member of the House of Representatives has swelled the number of the PDP’s attack dogs whose targets include the ruling party and the state chief executive, Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle.

In a press statement he recently signed on behalf of “PDP candidates” titled “On critical national alert” Gummi went the “dishonourable” path by throwing decorum to the wind and lunched viral attacks on person and personality of Governor Matawalle with no iota of respect for his seat as the father of the state.

In doing so he deployed uncouth, crude and abusive language symptomatic of those low level maniacs unleashed at every opportunity as dogs of war.

But why will anyone be surprised at the action of this charlatan who forgot that his behavior could rob off on the integrity of the lower chamber he represents and taint the reputation of his colleagues in that reputable and respected institution? He is PDP member in the state after all and their stock in trade is to cause breach of peace in the state.

In the said press statement, Gummi went a rigmarole quoting the respected late social crusader, Martins Luther King and dancing around in circle.

From all his outing and vituperations, the only take away was the supposed arrest on Monday, November 28, of the party’s candidate for Zamfara central senatorial district, Alhaji Ikira Aliyu Bilbis by the police on charges of vandalism, which he claimed were trumped up.

In trying to elicit public sympathy to himself and co-travelers, he lumped the current issue with the earlier arrest of the Nigeria Union of Journalists chairman in the state but as usual, his effort failed to invoke the emotion and public outcry he had envisaged.

But let us even give him the benefit of the doubt and interrogate the issues his outing threw up. He has informed the public why Bilbis was arrested, but said the charges were “trumped up”. Really?

How did Gummi who is a lawmaker come about such a position over an issue that is before a court of law? Why is he in a hurry to clear the accused even before the court adjudicate on the matter.

The police even from Gummi’s statement did the needful by arresting Bilbis. They (police) did not hold him or keep him for long in their cell but charged him to court after their investigation.

The onus is therefore on the accused to exonerate and clear himself of the allegations.

The court even went ahead to grant him bail as Gummi testified in his statement. So why is it anybody’s fault if the accused failed to meet the bail condition? And because his associate failed to meet the stipulated condition to effect his release, Gummi is now accusing the judge and police of being tools in the hands of Matawalle in his alleged witch hunt of the opposition.

If a sitting governor is desirous in tackling an opponent who is clearly linked with a crime it would have been easy to clamp such person in police custody and claim that investigation is still ongoing as has been the case everywhere.

However, in this case, the police did not waste anytime in charging the accused to court where he is expected to defend himself. The court and its presiding judge should be commended for the expressway it granted the accused bail instead of being needlessly vilified like Gummi is doing.

His allegation that Matawalle was trying to muzzle the main opposition to whittle down their power and influence in the forthcoming elections is laughable because the PDP is not in reckoning and not a threat to APC in anyway.

He even went ahead to list those he thinks Matawalle will go after including the party’s governorship candidate, Lawal Dauda Dare. Waoo! Is this not absurd? Is Lawal Dare even in contention for the governorship race with all the court cases dangling over his head?

The so called governorship is still traumatized over his defeat at the federal high court, which nullified the primary that produced him and recently, the Appeal court.

It is fundamental to note that his ordeals were from his own very party and has nothing to do with Governor Matawalle. So it’s absurd to blame others for PDP’s misfortune and allege that anyone would hunt it’s candidates whose political future are uncertain.

And resorting to violence as a means to an end like the party and its members have been doing could only heighten the already tensed atmosphere which Matawalle has been working round-the -clock to manage.

The billboard saga wasn’t the only violent imprints the party has left on its route to 2023, a rally at its governorship candidate’s home had led to lost of Iives even as many were wounded. It’s sad that Gumi left out such important development from his statement.

As per the NUJ chairman which Gummi tried unsuccessfully to lump Bilbis case with to draw inspiration, he should have done the needful by telling the public the background of the affected person and the circumstances leading to such state of affairs to enable them appreciate and interrogate the issue based on its merit.

It’s imperative that Gummi calls a press conference or issue another statement to shedlight on the matter.

Having come from an honourable family, one would have thought Gumi will keep the legacy of the parental training we thought he received, unfortunately, even if he had such grooming as he was growing up, elements of bad politics and the fear of losing in the upcoming 2023 general elections have infuriated to throw away his sensibilities and turn disrespectful, dishonourable and regardless.

Certainly, with the overwhelming wind of mass support and mass mobilization going on in the APC, the likes of Gumi will not even be noticed when the electorate cast their votes to bring in APC at all levels in the coming elections.

As it were, rep Gummi achieved nothing by his recent desperate tactics. The PDP is doomed and irredeemable, and by 2023 the party will go into permanent extinction in Zamfara State.

Yusuf Idris Gusau
APC Publicity Secretary
Zamfara State
4th November, 2022

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