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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 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

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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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FMR. ZAMFARA GOV. YARI CONDOLES SEN. WAMMAKO

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Former Governor of Zamfara State Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar has paid a condolence visit to Sen. Aliyu Magatakarda WAMMAKO over the demise of his wife.

Yari who described the deceased as God-fearing and devoted Muslim who has offered much serving humanity.

He urged the husband and indeed the family to take solace and consider the exit of the deceased as a call to eternity.

He prayed for God almighty to grant her Jannatul Firdausi and blessed what she has left behind.

Sen. Aliyu Wammako thanked the former Governor and his entourage for the condolence visit and prayed for God almighty to bless them accordingly.T

he former Governor has among his entourage Amb. Abdulrahaman Buba Kwacham among many other prominent personalities.

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