IN COMMEMORATION OF 26 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF ZAMFARA STATE
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!