When Zamfara State was created, only a few analysts gave her any chance of survival or meaningful development. But through visionary leadership and good governance, the state has proved all doubters wrong by standing shoulder to shoulder with her peers across the federation with impressive development in education, infrastructure, information technology, agriculture and the health sector, etc.
Although the contributions of his predecessors cannot be entirely ignored, those of the present governor, Abdulaziz Yari, is matchless, even though he isn’t grandiloquent about his impressive achievements. Yari is one politician that has undergone the rigours of grassroots politics before launching himself at the Federal House of Representatives and at the state level. As against the cultures associated with noisy politicians, Yari has been able to run a silent government during his first and present administrations.
His consolidated achievements are second to none. He has brought a lot of development to the agrarian state. In fact, Zamfara has been projected to its pride of place by virtue of his excellent leadership style that had been people-friendly and all-embracing.
It was out of his leadership style and steadfastness in the way he conducts the activities of Zamfara state, Nigerian governors found him fit to be their chairman. By tradition, the governors’ forum has been an engine room via which governors channel or protest their interest collectively at the centre. Of note, Yari’s reign as the chairman of the forum has been eventful. He has successfully coordinated the activities of the governors, by leading a rancour-free regime between the governors and the President.
We are all living witnesses to the giant strides the forum has been making, courtesy of the good leadership of Yari. We knew how he advocated for an unconditional release of Federal government interventions for the state governors as bail-outs. He has always stood by the governors and made sure that their interest, or rather; collective interest of the governors is being reflected in everything they pursue.
To the issue of minimum wage, when labour union intensified their agitation for the increase in the national minimum wage, Yari made sure that the governors stood on a unified ground, even as some overzealous governors had expressed readiness to pay the proposed N30,000 as a new minimum wage. At a point when the federal government was about to cower to the demand of the labour union, which would not have been feasible, considering that some other states could hardly afford to pay the said amount, the governors repeatedly called the attention of the federal government to that effect. He caused the federal government to look into the matter and come up with a near-feasible formula that could comfortably be adopted by the respective states.
However, Yari’s path had not been without bumps. Detractors, some fifth columnists and political opponents have been working round the clock to make sure that he fails and his downfall would always be political points for them. The governor’s greatest undoing began when he openly criticised the petrol subsidy regime of the Buhari government, particularly claims that Nigeria was consuming over 65 million litres of petrol per day, compared to about 30 million litres per day under the Jonathan government. The governor tacitly said the NNPC subsidy deduction was a big fraud because experts had told him that entire West Africa can’t consume 65 million litres of petrol daily.
Unbeknown to him, he has been ruffling big men’s feather, creating a legion of enemies in the state, which is costing him this ugly patronage. There came insinuations that the cabal that runs the show in Abuja had instructed that the Zamfara governor should not be allowed to produce his successor because of his “untoward” behaviour to the President. That was why when the whole political saga became manifest, the leadership of Zamara APC opted not to stand by him when the APC at the national level moved against him. They tried to put him against his people, spreading negative campaigns against him.
No thanks to the ugly incidences of banditry that led to the death of hundreds of people and destruction of properties running into millions of Naira. Yari’s detractors have continued to leverage on the killings to castigate his leadership or his stewardship in the state, especially as the killings became worrisome. However, nobody cared to know or to believe the efforts he has been putting towards curtailing the menace. Yari has severally summoned security meetings in which he charged all the security agencies in the state to be up and doing, after rendering to them all the necessary supports in both kind and cash. However, when it became apparent that the banditry was becoming out of hand, he involved the traditional leaders, believing that they could go down to the grassroots and mobilise support against the ugly killings. That was why when the killings could not stop, he got an intelligence report that some traditional leaders were aiding and abating the killings. Without further ado, he swept into action and suspended some of them. How could traditional rulers, who are supposedly the closest leaders to the people, conspire to cause insecurity, if politics was not involved?
The governor, after briefing the president on the actions being taken against the banditry, disclosed that “some of the traditional rulers are supporting banditry or taking money from them; that is very dangerous. To give you trust to manage people through tradition and then you are taking part directly or indirectly, that is not acceptable.”
By and large, as a governor, Yari has done all he could and he is still doing his best to see the end of this killings. He, on several occasions, called for the imposition of a state of emergency in the state. He said he would not mind stepping down for the military to take over the mantle of leadership, provided the necessary normalcy would be restored in the state. This is a veritable testament that the welfare of the people is the sum total of his leadership, in view of the schemes orchestrated by many Nigerian leaders to perpetuate themselves on power, even when their tenures are constitutionally over. But, Yari was ready to give up his seat if it would restore peace in the state.
However, my reading of this present campaign of calumny against Yari is that some people believe that the governor is not well ripe to be where he is politically, that is why they are doing everything humanly possible to bring him down. Therefore, my advice for him is to be focused and never look back at his detractors because for him, I believe it is forward ever and backwards never. He has the qualities of a good leader. He has done it and I believe these developments he brought to Zamfara would surely catapult him to a better position at the federal level. I believe he is a man to look out for because of his antecedents which is already speaking for him.