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MAPPING THE EVENTS OF JANGEBE ABDUCTION

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It started like a dream when people of Zamfara woke up on Friday with the sad news of the abduction of of students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe by suspected armed bandits.

The incident happened when Nigerian government is still battling with another group of bandits that kidnapped another set of students at a school in Kagara, Niger State.

The Jangebe incident also occurred few hours after a bandit leader laid down his arms and surrendered to the peace deal of the state government led by Bello Matawallen Maradun.

Journalists including this medium (Thunder Blowers) were the first to arrive Jangebe town that fateful Friday at around 11:00am with the intent of ascertaining the fact of what transpired in the night.

To our surprise, residents in hundreds carrying sticks and stones laid ambush at our two moving vehicles and started hitting at us left, right and centre.

Having realized the danger that awaited us we had to drive out of the town unceremoniously with one of the  cameramen of this medium, Babangida Kalifa seriously injured with blood gushing from his forehead and requiring immediate medical attention.

One of the stones thrown at us hit his forehead and we had to rush him to a local pharmacy for a first aid treatment.

A resident at Tashar Kuturu who spoke to journalists said many people were surprised when they saw journalists moving in to the town without the security escort knowing fully that some government officials were earlier attacked by the angry residents who were unceremoniously chased out of Jangebe town. 

One Malam Hadi, a resident of Tashar Kuturu who came to sympathise with us said based on what they heard, two State Commissioners who came earlier than us were forced to run for their safety as angry youth attempted to launch mob action against them.

Few kilometres to Jangebe junction our convoy overtook the state Commissioner of Police who was in company of many police hilux Vans armed with guns and initially we thought the man was waiting for the State Governor for them to move together to the main town.

At the junction also, the convoy of Deputy State Commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps was parked despite the fact that he was in company of armed security personnel.

One Aminu Garba, also a resident of Tashar Kuturu said the security chiefs were afraid of going in to the town due to the fear of mob action by the residents who stood their ground to prevent any government official from entering the town.

What caused the anger of the Jangebe residents? This is a big question which Ibrahim Muhammad a resident of Jangebe said in a telephone interview that, “people are provoked with the attitude of the government and its insincerity in the management of the crises”.

He said people have been pushed to the wall and they have reached a point of no return and have concluded that, the peace deal claimed to be executed between the government and the bandits has failed in its entirety.

This particular point of view can be corroborated with the incident of Wednesday where the State government delegation was also attacked while returning the freed school girls to their families.

A resident, Malam Bala who spoke with this medium on phone said, the government officials were attacked because people are tired of their lies and deceit. “They came to the town in convoy of armed soldiers and started making political commentaries, people challenged them and that led to physical demonstration of their anger, and as a result, two civilian protesters were shot dead with one other sustaining injury.

Official vehicle of the government including that of Commissioner for Education and the one belonging to the state Ministry for Women and Children Affairs were crushed with sticks and stones.

CONFLICT IN THE FIGURE OF ABDUCTED SCHOOL GIRLS

An hour after our attack at Jangebe we were addressed by the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abutu Yaro along Bobo town, a village located few kilometres to Jangebe where he said “a total of 317 female students were abducted based on the figure released by the principal of the school”.

This figure was widely used by local and international media outfits considering the fact that it was released by the police commissioner.

Hours later another figure resurfaced that the number of the abducted students is (279) and that one of the reasons for the change of figure according to a government official who confided on this medium was that, “the principal hurriedly gave out the figure when the head count was still on”

He said the news we are receiving is that some of the students who escaped have returned home without the school authority knowing.

But residents doubt if the reason advanced as regard to change of figure may stand. Majority argued that the inconsistency in the figure called for suspicion since only parents can testify to the fact after the students returned.

According one Bashir Ibrahim, a civil society advocate based in Gusau, “even if the claim that the number of the abducted Students has dropped, it is a clear demonstration of lack of synergy amongst stakeholders.

“You cannot hurriedly give out figure that is not certain especially under this type of circumstances because the sincerity of the government is already in doubt and majority will not believe that government has already sensed a problem concerning the safety of the pupils” Bishir added.

IN BETWEEN THE PERIOD OF NEGOTIATION 

That fateful Friday, Zamfara Governor, Bello Matawalle addressed the people of the State through a statewide broadcast where he assured them of his administration’s commitment to rescuing the school girls. 

He said since the occurrence of the incident, he could not sleep as he was engaged with the actors that were critical to ensuring the recovery of the abducted girls.

At Jangebe also, news reached journalists that the organized vigilante had tracked the movement of the abductors along the forest and were making effort to block their route from continued movement.

A resident, Sani Bawa said the vigilante had matched to the forest and that the effort of the trackers led to the restriction of movement along Wuya-Bindin Sabon Birni forest.

Another information obtained in confidence from a government source said, government officials in collaboration with some repentant bandits had opened negotiation with the abductors.

There were conflicting arguement as to how the abducted  schools girls were freed. While government insisted that, no dime was paid to kidnappers many observers, opinion shapers and members of the general public went in the contrary..

During an interview with the BBC Hausa service for instance, Governor Bello Matawalle insisted that nothing was paid to the bandits before the abductors released the girls and equally said 30 repentant bandits were used in the mediation.

Stakeholders on the other hand argued, if negotiations were made on the release of the abducted school girls, government should have made the conditions for the negotiation known.

Rabiu Ahmad, a civil society advocate based in Gusau for instance argued, “if money is out of the condition for the negotiation then what were the bandits’ demand?

He argued that negotiation must be in exchange of an alternative social services or economic needs and if government continues to close down its terms of the negotiation then people would continue to doubt the sincerity of the fact that money was not exchanged for the release of the children.

He argued that same story was making round the public after the Kankara school students were released only for us to be hearing about the exchange of N800 million naira based on the video footage released by Mahadi the Katsina whistle blower.

Also in an interaction with this medium, one of the journalists that interviewed some of the girls when they were brought to government house said ” a freed female student of Jangebe told him that, one of the abductors informed them while in captivity that, the government offered them the sum of 60 million naira for their release but they turned down the offer on the grounds that the money offered are insufficient.

Another resident of Gusau by name Isah Buhari once told this medium that “when the Kankara Students were released last time, government claimed not paying a dime only for a audio of former Sole Administrator of Jibiya local government area to be leaked where he had a conversation  with the bandit leader that  millions were paid far more than what the government gave them after negotiation”.

Another questions many people continue to raise was the ceremonial nature at which the abductees were released noting that government’s “hide and seek game” pushed for suspicion of its sincerity in the whole drama.

A source who spoke to this medium in confidence asked this question within how many hours government prepared brand new clothes for these children which were of their sizes and shape?.

“Why is it that nobody from Bagegga village, the border where it was rumoured that the bandits would hand over the captives saw when the bandits handed over the abductees or noticed their movement?

He also asked “how sincere was the report by the Punch newspaper that the abducted girls were since released but kept at a hidden house in Anka despite the fact that government denied the report?

These questions plus the suspicion of some journalists that, no one was informed of the movement of these students till when they were brought to the government house will continue to hang on the air, noting that, when the 26 girls from Katsina were brought out of captivity journalists were put on alert from where they were handed over to the point of their reception.

These unanswered questions continue to constitute the fear of many in Zamfara hence people suspect that, there are more unexplained issues that needed to be exposed  regarding this politics of abduction and kidnapping in Zamfara.

Nigeria’s Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika who led the federal government delegation to Zamfara said, the abduction of school girls in Zamfara would be the last in the history of Nigeria where another school pupil would be abducted.

But according an activist, Anas Muhammad the comment of the minister  was disproved since the same day the minister made the statement, some bandits invaded another school in  Kagara for the second time and took away some students.

He said just on Wednesday, three more students were abducted at his home state Katsina as reported by BBC Hausa service and this showed that governments at all levels in Nigeria are about to fail in their commitment to managing these armed bandit activities.

THE POIITICAL INTER PLAY 

One of the problems associated with the management of this social conflict in Zamfara is the inter-play of politics amongst political stakeholders.

For instance the Governor during a broadcast promised to name those he accused as responsible for the recent abduction of Jangebe school girls which he said “the whole nation would be shocked on the information.

Many stakeholders insisted that it was wrong for the Governor to make such statements considering the volatile nature of the state and the need to keep politics out of it.

A chieftain of All Progressive Grand Alliance Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi also accused some APC supporters of attempting to offer the sum of 57 million naira for bandits not to release the abducted Jangebe school girls.

He also accused an APC stakeholder of conniving with some powerful politicians in Abuja to compelling the IGP to enforce state of emergency and takes over the government from the PDP.

He went to an extent of challenging politicians to subject their personal telephones to the security agencies for security checks even as he insisted that, he was sure alot of revelations would come out of the conversation.

As for those in the APC they challenged the Governor to mention the names of those behind the abduction in Jangebe if he was not dreaming as they accused him of having failed to understand the security situation at hand.

The Chairman of APC caretaker committee Lawal M. Liman Kaura during a Channels tv show Sunrise Daily challenged Wamban Shinkafi the APGA chieftain to mention the names of those behind the offer of the alleged 57 million naira or face legal action.

Kaura said nobody would be surprised at the political attitude of Wamban Shinkafi knowing fully he used to make remarks and raised baseless allegations against political opponents for his selfish political motive.

Not only that, Arewa Consultative Forum challenged the Governor to make the names open if he meant well for the country.

An activist Ibrahim Bala said, it was too wrong for the Governor to be talking politics at this critical time when Zamfara needed synergy of all stakeholders regardless of political affiliation order to end the conflict. 

He cited example with Maiduguri that, neither Governor Zulum nor members of PDP are playing politics with the security situation at hand in Borno State since everybody is working toward ending the multi year social and economic conflict.

The meeting of National Security Council on Tuesday had also brought another dimension to the political interpretation  of the conflict in Zamfara State.

The council resolved that the ban on mining activities should be enforced and declared “Zamfara state as no fly zone”.

Governor Matawalle while responding to the decision of the council accused the national security adviser of misinforming the President on the peculiarity of the Zamfara crises even as he initially rejected the resolution.

He noted that, he has no issue with declaring Zamfara as no fly zone if the federal government can do the needful by flushing the bandits and securing Zamfara.

He also accused politicians of instigating the idea of Zamfara granting amnesty to bandits saying Zamfara has never granted amnesty to any repentant bandit instead government facilitated their enrollment into western and islamic school system. This was his response at Channels TV show.

Corraborating the arguement, Zamfara State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Nura Ibrahim Zarumi said “No fly zone” was enforced in Zamfara simply be cause the state is control by the PDP.

He said there was mass abduction of students at Chibok in Borno, Dapchi in Yobe, Kankara in Katsina and Kagara in Niger State and because they were all APC control state no one enforces “No fly zone” in this states but because Zamfara is PDP control state they can enforce this decision on us”.

On the issue of mining Zarumi said there is mining activities going on in Niger State and Katsina but yet the National Council on Security cannot enforce such a harsh decision on these states, only in Zamfara state.

RESVISITING CURFEW ENFORCEMENT IN ZAMFARA

Zamfara State government through its former Commissioner for Information, Sulaiman Tunau Anka announced the enforcement of dusk-to-dawn curfew following attack on the state government officials 

Tunau asked police commissioner to ensure total compliance with the government directive as all markets and other business activities were banned.

But a resident, Malama Shiitu said, that declaration is a “mere dream” hence people have gone about their normal businesses.

“We are all out undergoing our normal businesses and believe me, no one can lock us at home for his failure to do the right thing we are citizens of Zamfara and we deserve government attention including our security and safety and government needs to ensure that if it want us to be law abiding”.

A security expert at Nasarawa State University, Keffi who was interviewed said, government should have a rethink because enforcing curfew on people of Jangebe may not be the best option and that particular decision may further ignite tension in the area.

According to him, the best option  is for the government and its agents to tactically avoid that town  for now because people are still angered and passing through the traumatic situation.

ZMHA AND  VOTE OF  NO CONFIDENCE ON NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, MONGUNO

At their proceeding on Wednesday, members of the State House of Assembly unanimously resolved and passed a vote of no confidence on the national security adviser, Retired General Babagama Monguno over the enforcement of ban on mining activities and declaration of “no fly zone” on Zamfara.

In a motion of urgent public importance moved by the House leader Hon. Farouk Dosara faulted security agencies for the poor response which led to the abduction of Jangebe school girls.

The house also called for immediate restructuring of Nigeria’s security architecture by the President as well as investigate the security agencies for their misdeeds in Zamfara scenario.

But a former member of the federal house of representatives,  Abdulamalik Zubairu Zannan Bungudu said the decision of the state house of assembly is the highest demonstration of “illiteracy ” because they have demonstrated to the whole Nigerians that, they don’t know their limitations as members of the state assembly.

He further said, if the whole national security council with security chiefs and president in attendance and with their intelligence at hand  can take such a decision can be ridiculed by the state assembly members then Zamfara is in trouble.

He said as patriotic citizens of Zamfara, they are fully in support of the decisions of the federal government if that can help restore peace in the state.

RELEASE OF THE ABDUCTED GIRLS, WHAT HAS CHANGED?

Many wondered why things failed to change despite commitments by government agencies and other stakeholders since the occurrence of Jangebe Jangebe abduction.

For instance on Wednesday, there was a reported case of invasion of Tofa village in Maru local government area of Zamfara State where over 60 people were abducted  and half of the village was razed by fire.

Again there have been reported cases of bandits taking over Mayanchi highway for close to an hour a very day Governor Kayode Fayemi Chairman of Nigerias Governors Forum and Atiku Bagudo visited Zamfara State  as residents told this medium that, gunshots were exchanged between security men and bandits. 

Again, there were reported cases of bandits blocking Gurbin Bore high way along Zamfara state border with Katsina state as widely posted on facebook pages asking people to stay away from Gurbin Bore Jibiya highway.

The matter now lies between the state government abandoning its peace deal and allowing federal government and indeed security agencies crush the bandits and restore peace to demonstrate its miracle by ending the bandits activities once and for all.

ARREST OF ARMY OFFICER WHO SUPPLY GUNS AND AMMUNITIONS TO BANDITS.

A week after the release of Jangebe abducted girls Deputy Chief of Staff to Zamfara state Governor Dr. Bashir Maru addressed a press conference where he announced the arrest of a soldier who used his girl friend to be supplying weapons and military uniforms to the bandits in the forest.

He alleged that, the officer has been handed over to the army and with high expectations that appropriate punishment will handed down on him to serve as lesson to others.

He also denied the report released by many mediums that over 60 people have been abducted at Ruwan Tofa village  a day after the Jangebe abducted girls were freed from captivity.

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ZAMFARA STATE AT 26: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY!

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OPINION ARTICLE

By

Salis Muhammad Moriki

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I have to start by recognising the members of the very committee that worked helter skelter and tirelessly for the actualisation of Zamfara State under the chairmanship of one of the most honest people Nigeria has ever produced, Late Mallam Yahaya Gusau. Those that are dead among them, may Allah grant them Jannah Firdausi, and those alive, I wish them long life and good health.

When Zamfara State was created, none of its indigenes and their well wishers were not happy. Because in this part of the world or in Nigerian set up, development goes with government being in your hands. As soon as Late General Sani Abacha (RahimahulLAH) announced the creation of our state and Gusau as its capital, with 14 Local Government Councils on 1st October, 1996, we went into jubilation and celebration. Though, I was young and full of youthful exuberance at that time, I knew creation of a state had many advantages. At that time, those working for the old Sokoto State and many indigenes scattered across the federation knew what I am talking about. Being independent and free is something very important.

THE 1st ADMINISTRATION OF COL. JIBRIL BALA YAKUBU

After he was announced as the Military administrator of Zamfara State, he assumed duty with full force and determination. Although there was constraint by very limited financial resources, Colonel JB Yakubu could be remembered for his efforts and doggedness in establishing various government structures in the State. Kudos should be given to those patriotic indigenes, who donated their buildings and resources and even rented them to the Government at very lower price. Much could not be achieved during this administration apart from establishments of structures for government to take off, and also sharing our resources with the senior sister State, Sokoto. Despite being an indigene of Nasarawa State, Col. Jibril Bala Yakubu exhibited high level of love and patriotism for Zamfara State and it’s people.

DEMOCRACY AND 1st INDIGENOUS GOVERNOR ALHAJI AHMAD SANI YARIMA IN THE STATE.

We woke up in the morning of 8th July 1998 with a sad news that our President, General Sani Abacha had passed away in a mysterious way. That changed the focus of Nigeria’s Government and policies. Immediately after his predecessor, General Abdussalami Abubakar was sworn in as the Head of State, he mapped out the plans that metamorphosed the country into a democratic nation, Olusegun Obansajo as the President and Senator Ahmad Sani Yarima as the Executive Governor of the State.

The tenure of Governor Ahmad Sani Yarima would be remembered for many things, prominent among which is the introduction of Sharia. Before Sharia was introduced, Zamfara State was nothing but just a state. Not many people knew its existance, especially those from the South and few from the North. But after the introduction of shari’a legal system, not only Nigeria, the whole world, knew about Zamfara State. This gave the Governor privilege to be honoured by the Saudi authority by leading him into Ka’aba. Indeed, this is an honour given to whom honours are due. Former Governor Ahmad Sani Yarima, a Prince and economist, he led the state with so much energy. He was everything as a Governor. His Government was more of typical example and replica of a government of stomach infrastructure. He didn’t mind concentrating on physical development. Despite being a new state, he engaged so much on social welfare to the extent that he won the loves and supports of the common man. He extravagantly spent the state’s resources in that area. Many people secured loans from the state through MDAs he established, but refused to service the loans and the Government had forgiven them.

However, Ahmad Sani Yarima gave education much priority. He introduced so many measures to encourage the youths to go to school, among which, was monthly stipends for tertiary students apart from scholarship. I could remember in 1999 in my school, admission was released but there was no Zamfara state indigenes in my department and some other departments, except few of us, because no one applied. The school authority sent a delegation to the state government informing them of the development, so that Zamfara indigenes would be sent to the school to fill their quota. And that’s what happened. Before we graduated, If Zamfara indigene was looking for admission, he faced difficulty because there were many seeking for the admission. I believe t his was as a result of the measures taken by the government. So also agriculture was at its peak. He gave many people loan to boost their produce. Many people were engaged. I could remember in 2002 or 2003, figures from the Federal Ministry of labour and productivity showed that 76.6% of Zamfarans were employed and productive.

The eight years of Ahmad Sani was that of dictatorship. He was the Governor alone. Despite the presence of many prominent senior citizens of Nigeria in the state like General Aliyu Gusau and others, they hardly had say in the affairs of the state except, perhaps, lobby. The Governor had stepped on many toes. He was the alpha and omega. He was fearless. This can be testified after the introduction of Sharia legal system in the state. The whole world; Federal Government, international community, organisations and other individuals were against him, pressurising him to compromise and relinquish the policy, some through moral suasion, others harshly, but he stood his ground since his people were behind him.

He left the State in a state of bankruptcy due to his extravagance and without much to show in terms of physical infrastructures, but as a hero with many followers. He was the most popular person in the state. He’s the most prominent politician in the state. His deputy, Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi succeeded him via the influence of his Late brother, Marafan Sokoto, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi.

MAHMOOD SHINKAFI AS A GOVERNOR

After he succeeded his master, things had changed drastically. Many people believed he would follow the path of his predecessor, but proved them wrong. He didn’t engage in stomach infrastructure, he was more of provision of physical development and metamorphosing the state from micro economy to macro economy through establishment of solid mineral processing companies and international cargo airport that never was. And that was what the state needed. He renovated many schools to high standard as tertiary schools in the South, even though, no qualified teachers. More capital projects were initiated like cargo airport, investment house and ministry of finance, but due to time constraint, partial recession and corruption in the administration as he was not fully in charged of his government, those projects were abandoned.

Mahmud Shinkafi was too soft to be a leader. He was kind as a person, but too weak as a leader. His tenure was characterised by political crisis between his followers and that of his predecessor, Ahmad Sani which led him to decamp from ANPP to the ruling party, PDP. Unlike his former boss, he was not in charged of the state’s affairs, according to his critics and many observers. Many people believed his chief of staff, Musa Zubairu Nasarawan Mai-Layi and party chairman, Late Alhaji Ibrahim Mallaha were the de facto governors. He was there as a stooge. It was said that there was a time a commissioner was removed by these people without his knowledge. And contracts were awarded by these people without even consulting him.

Commissioners and other government officials had field days. Many enriched themselves, richer than even the Governor. Corruption was rampant. Hoodlums had field days, the government recognised them to the extent of given them monthly stipends for just what they were. Everybody was a politician including civil servants and traditional rulers for fear of being victimised just like the case of Bakura Emirate Council. This encouraged large number of youths to abandon education and engage in political rascality.

His tenure was short, just four years, The leader of the opposition Senator Ahmad Sani led his then, party ANPP and defeated him.

ABDULAZEEZ ABUBAKAR YARI AS A GOVERNOR

When Mahmud Shinkafi had problem with his former boss, Senator Ahmad Sani Yarima, he abandoned his former party, ANPP and joined PDP as mentioned above, and he decamped with all his commissioners, LG chairmen and almost all the members of parliaments both federal and state, leaving Senator Ahmad Sani Yarima with only two members of the House of representatives, namely Hon Abdulazeez Yari Abubakar and Hon Bello Matawalle and some other loyal members of his party.

Being one of the actors in the political happenings in the state at that time, I know the antecedents that led to the assumption of Honourable Abdulazeez Yari Abubakar as the governorship candidate of the then ANPP and later Governor of Zamfara State. To cut a long story short, the irony is that Honourable Bello Matawalle, the present governor, initiated that and recommended him to be the candidate of ANPP to Senator Yarima. And that recommendation later brought about the disagreement and misunderstanding between Senator Ahmad Sani and Bello Matawalle which led him (Matawalle) leaving the Party and joining PDP.

After the election of 2011, Senator Yarima dethroned MAS as he was popularly called. People were full of hope that things would change from bad to good. The Government enjoyed mass support from the people thinking that it could be the second coming of Yarima, where stomach infrastructure would be the cardinal principle of the Government, but were taken by surprise, as reverse was the case.

His government had received huge amount of money from the federal government through Paris Club refunds and other interventions and it had achieved so much in the area of road constructions. He completed some of the capital projects initiated and left by the former government, despite the economic recession, like ministry of finance etc. He disengaged traditional rulers and civil servants from participation in politics, and also ceased to give hoodlums relevance in politics and otherwise. But his Government is trailed with many accusations.

Governor Abdulazeez Abubakar Yari, immediately he came into office, had confrontation with the state NLC via the issue of verifications, accusing the former government for employing more than 10, 000 workers at the tail end of its tenure without following due process and considering the economic situation of the state. Then, the issue of minimum wage which is, up til now, has not been resolved.

Since the creation of Zamfara state, the state had not faced security challenges as during his tenure. Thousands of innocent people were maimed and massacred by bandits, cattle rustlers with the Government doing little. Sequel to this, Senator Saidu Dansadau wrote a letter to the President and the National Assembly urging them to declare state of emergency in the state. Likely, this led to the intervention of Federal Government to deal with the situation. The Governor was accused of junketing around the globe, paying little attention to his primary responsibilities in the state.

Education has deteriorated during his years. In some of the WAEC and NECO exams chart, Zamfara state became last after some states like Yobe. Even Borno State, where Boko Haram made the students to remain in their homes for years was better than us. None of Zamfara students would secure admission into tertiary institutions, following government refusal to pay for their NECO/WAEC fees.

His tenure was brutally ended for his vested interest and draconian attitude towards fielding his preferred candidate and stooge, his finance commissioner Alhaji Shehu Koguna. He forcefully wanted to enforced him against other candidates including his deputy and other stakeholders like Senator Kabiru Marafa and the present PDP governorship candidate, Dauda Lawal. This led to unceremonial exit of their party from leadership via court ruling. This gave the opposition the chance to lead on a platter of gold. And the present governor, Muhammad Bello Mawalle came in as the governor.

GOVERNOR BELLO MATAWALLE

Government of Bello Matawalle was the luckiest among the governors of the state. He came to power on a platter of gold. He was enthroned through the verdict of the Supreme Court after the internal crisis that consumed the then ruling party APC. The governor spent many years struggling to be the governor since 2011. He came at a time when insecurity was at its peak and the economic situation was not favourable – the state is still the headquarters of poverty in the world and Nigeria in particularparticular.

At the beginning of his tenure, he tried to bring down the insecurity by engaging the bandits through peace accord. There was little break and ceasefire with the bandits before it was deteriorated following the non commitment and insincerity from the government and bandits respectively. The security situation has continued to be the major problem in the state.

Governor Bello Matawalle has focused more on his politics than the affairs of the state. He decamped from the very party that made him governeor to the ruling party which most of the political analysts aligned it to his ambition to win second term in office.

He needs to focus more on develooemmt than his political activities. MAY ALLAH HELP TO DO GOOD FOR THE STATE.

GENERAL ASSESSMENT.
In reality, within 26 years of our existence as a State, we have achieved a lot in terms of human and physical development when compared to other sister states created the same time or even senior sister states.

But the question is, when putting into consideration, the about N2trillion the state received since its creation, has that reflected in what we are seeing today?

LONG LIVE ZAMFARA STATE, LONG LIVE NIGERIA.

Salis Muhammad Moriki

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ZAMFARA AT 26: THE DEVELOPMENT SCORE CARD.

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IN COMMEMORATION OF 26 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF ZAMFARA STATE

By

Umar Jibril

Editor-in-chief

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As Nigeria celebrates its 62nd Independence from the colonial yoke today, there is need to reflect on what the nation has become as a polity in all areas of its life-politics, society, economy and culture.

Thousands of words are surely going to be in print and by electronic means to discuss on the aspects above. This piece, however is on Zamfara state and its celebration of the 26 years as a state, its achievements, progress, the challenges and the way forward to forge ahead as a state of the federal republic of Nigeria.

In order to go on dissecting the different aspects of the life of Zamfara state –politically, socially, culturally and economically, I would oud like to borrow from the templates and paradigms of an American writer Simon Sinek who penned two very enlightening and inspiring books-‘Start with Why ‘and ‘Find your Why’ the messages and approach in these books are applicable to all issues relating to individuals and society.

For Zamfara state created on 1st October, 1996 we would situate the ‘why’ of our creation as a geo-political entity, in other words why are states created in the first place? The ready answer to this question is: states from time immemorial are created to fast track development of the area so created and named essentially to bring government closer to its or the people as it relates to all aspects of development indices such as social development, political progress, economic development and all their sub-areas and features.

Several years back the people who sat and conceived for the creation of the entity called ‘Zamfara state’ had it on their minds bringing progress and development closer to the people of the area.

Starting with the first ‘’why” of Simon we have identified why the idea of ‘Zamfara state ‘was conceived, deliberated and actors struggled to bring to fruition as one of the 36 states of the federation.

But today 26 years on, as we celebrate our 26 years of coming in to being have we actually justified the ‘why’ of our creation?

When explaining these issues of our collective ‘why’ some series of questions beg for answers from us all especially those who the Almighty has bestowed with the stewardship through four leadership /political dispensations plus a military founding regime of col. J.B Yakubu. Some of these qoestions are: what happens to the polity?

What is the state of our economy? Are we secure as a people? What is the state of our educational system from kindergarten to tertiary? What infrastructures are there in our villages, towns and citiies.? All the above questions beg for candid answers from us- leaders followers, individuals and as a collection of the citizens of Zamfara creation

Twenty six years is not joke anybody- individual, organization public or private is expected to have grown beyond the age of innocence to the mature age of sensibility and the ripe years of growth, development and commensurate expected progress in all areas of ones life. Abut if truth be told ,Zamfara as it is today is yet to carve niche of progress and development that matches its mature age of 26 solid years of our creation and existence within the corporate Nigeria this leads us to the second book by Simon Sinek ‘Find your Why’

It appears that through the five administrations that led Zamfara state from J.B. Yakubu through the golden era of Yarima, Mamuda, Abdulaziz Yari and the current dispensation of Dr Muhammad Bello Matawalle we are yet to find the ‘why’ of our creation and existence as a state that lacks nothing in terms of all the endowments of natural and human resources comparable to any sate .

Nature has equitably distributed beautiful resources across every nook and cranny of the state ,but considerable of these endowments are yet to be explored and the little identified seems to be under utilized in this Gold Coast of Northern Nigeria.

‘Farming is our Pride is the initial motto of Zamfara state. This signals Agriculture as the main occupation of its people but this area of development is yet to be maximally addressed in the years under review.

The theory and debate about Zamfara’s ‘drive for development’ over the years is slow and unimpressive according to development experts, though this may be critised as ‘arm-chair’ theorisation, but when Zamfara is compared with the level of development in states like Gombe, Ekiti, Ebonyi and Nasarawa which were created at the same time with Zamfara experts ‘view about Zamfara’s development strides or deficit will sound valid.

Some people citizens and scholars alike are of the view that the crises of development in Zamfara has its origin from the initial inability of the state to develop a realistic vision document and strategic development plans to guide the implementation of the state development agenda.

Others, however opine that It is the failure of the political class in the state to chart a right path for the state by a constant engagement with the government on matters related to the execution of the state development plans.

Yet others aver about the inability of creation of Elders’ Committee to ‘put an eye’s on government matters as obtained in states like Katsina. Whatever view one patronizes among the three identified above, it is obvious that there are many things wrong with the development agenda in Zamfara State in the 26 years of its existence.

As we celebrate the 62nd Nigeria’s Independence, we should also sit and ponder in a manner of reflection what has become of the ‘’whys” of creation of Zamfara state? What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? What are we doing right? What happens to our process of ‘Finding our why’.

Though we have our reasonable level of achievements in terms of infrastructures during the years of Shehi Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar era and relative social and economic development during the Yarima/Mamuda dispensation But why are we where we are at this 26 years of our creation existence and beingness.

What had other states who are our contemporaries cited earlier in this piece, doing right which we could not do? What magic wand is there in Gombe and Nasarawa who have deficit of resources but are fast track their educational and Agricultural development?

How Are these states able to among other things manage two state universities at Gombe and Keffi to world standard while the education sector in Zamfara is in worrisome state?

We do have challenges that are valid and true, this is the easiest excuse put forward is the security, which had escalated from Herder/Farmer crisis to large scale banditry and insurgency taking thousands of lives, bringing destruction and mayhem to both villages, towns and cities of Zamfara state which engages the wisdom, resources, intellect and finances of governments, especially, the current one of Muhammad Bello Matawalle.

But try to juxtapose this excuse with the Scenario of once Boko Haram Borno state and the spate of development engineered by Professor Babagana Umara Zulum and the win-win achieved and he is achieving almost everyday so development could be achieved even in the (aftermath) of chaos if there is the will plover to actualize same for somebody may also agree that Zamfara had faced a political crises from the G-8 versus the incumbent to the current consensus and litigation spree as a result of what an observer calls ‘sheer absence of internal democracy ‘within the two parties-PDP and APC in the state. The crises to my mind come as a result of selfishness, greed and high-handedness of some politicians whose personal interest is far higher than the interest of developing the state to the level that it becomes sources of envy or admiration of her contemporaries and peers.

As we celebrate 26th Anniversary of the creation of Zamfara state and as we approach yet another election year it will be worthwhile as leaders and patriotic citizens, especially the former to reflect on four critical issues:

First, the reasons or ‘why ‘the state is created. Second, have we matched the hard-earned struggle to create the state with commensurate tangible development? Thirdly, if the above mentioned concerned are not on the high side, how can we put things in order? Finally, as we approach another election year it is not out of place to find our many “whys” and try to put our state on the right track of peace, progress and tangible development.

As it stands we are yet to identify our many “whys “but there is hope of doing so in the coming years. HAPPY 26TH ANNIVERSARY!

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THUGS BEARING ARM DURING CAMPAIGN TO BE GUN-DOWN IN ZAMFARA AS C’TTEE ON ANTI-THUGERY READS RIOT ACT FOR POLITICAL PARTIES

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The Chairman of Anti-thuggery committee in Zamfara Bello Bakyasuwa Maradun said his committee is going to use the Anti-Thuggery Marshals to enforce the resolution of the state house of assembly if it orders the relocation of Zamfara PDP Secretariat based in Gusau.

Bakyasuwa who stated this during a special interview session with Thunder Blowers on Saturday in Gusau insisted that he knew the PDP to be a law-abiding party and once the state assembly passes its resolution he expected that PDP will honorably vacate to another choice location to avoid confrontation with the authorities.

” I believed PDP will be law-abiding and respect the resolution of the state house of assembly if it is passed because if they refused, my committee will use its Marshals to enforce such resolution in the interest of peace and justice to the commuters using the road where the headquarters is located and in the interest of saving the Ministry of Finance and public schools that are around the location of the secretariat”.

He also said soonest his committee will read the “Riot Act” to all the political parties and insisted that no supporter of a political party shall be allowed to carry a gun and go to the campaign ground with it noting that, “” if his marshals sighted anyone with a gun at the public gathering including campaign grounds they are going to fire him on the spot”.

“We are to make sure that no party supporter is allowed to use any weapon to threaten the lives of the innocent people during campaign. A license to bear arms is issued for a purpose, not political campaign. Our committee will spare no one if he goes against the law”.

‘Remember there is an order enforced which ban the use of fire arms including guns. When the Governor approved our rules, we are going to read our riot act to the political parties so that they can caution their supporters on the dos and don’ts expected of them”

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