By Okanga Agila
Zamfara State, apart from cases of banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling is hardly in the news between 2011 and 2019 when Abdulaziz Yari held sway as governor.
The lack of leadership ideas, drive and innovation that normally throw the likes of Kaduna and Gombe States to the front pages were seriously lacking during this period. It was as if the bandits rued the lacuna in both mention and capacity that would keep the state on the minds of other compatriots and decided to help the governor to put the state in the news in the only way they know.
Even when such negative and criminal tendencies that resulted in loss of lives persisted, the governor failed to seize the opportunity to reassure all that he was in control and chose to oscillate between inaudible murmurs in reaction and trying to play the victim. He was poles apart from the likes of Simon Lalong of Plateau State who would put counter strategies in place and issue stern warning to the criminals when they strike. He was not even near Samuel Ortom of Benue who will yell in histrionics until he draws the attention of the world to the plight of his people.
Yari was just there or rather not there; drab and colourless and the consequences of his action or rather non action was that banditry grew into an industry and the peaceful order was overthrown.
The few instances Yari was bold enough to make a statement worthy of attention were when he displayed his lack of capacity for leadership by mocking a calamity that befell his people on superstition when he baled the outbreak of meningitis in his state on fornication and adultery.
Yari said God decided to send Type C of the disease which has no vaccine as punishment for Nigerians’ nefarious activities and pecifically named fornication as one of the sins which may have made God to inflict the country with the disease. He said, “What we used to know as far as meningitis is concerned is the Type A virus. The World Health Organisation has carried out vaccinations against this Type A virus, not just in Zamfara, but in many other states. However, because people refused to stop their nefarious activities, God now decided to send Type C virus, which has no vaccination. There is no way fornication will be so rampant and God will not send a disease that cannot be cured.”
The other time he found his voice was when it was alleged that a certain governor from Northwest Nigeria had fleeced his state and is using the resources to build a multi-star hotel in Lagos.
As bad as all these were, they became tolerable due to the former governor’s penchant for gaffe but the ultimate guff was how he reacted to the self-inflicted blunder of how he conducted the APC primaries in the state.
Given no heed to caution, Yari had proceeded to impose his candidates on the party and failed to acknowledge other stakeholders in the state that even his deputy who by right should have succeeded him was sidelined.
The result were the sham which the APC faction in the state under the control of Yari insisted has produced candidates for the party but which the national secretariat of the party seeing the folly distanced itself from.
When the national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole insisted that things be done the right way, the real colour of Yari as a dictator came out when instead of offering protection to the national leaders of the party as chief secuirty officer of the state assumed the role of a bandit and declared the state unsafe for the delegation from the national chairman to tread on.
Hear him: “I am warning members of that committee that they should never come to Zamfara, they should never put their legs in this state, and anything that happens to them, Adams Oshiomhole should be held responsible.”
This came to many as a subtle admissions that the former governor not only condones acts of the banditry but is ready to play that role once his personal interests are threatened.
Here was a man who could not raise his voice when people were being killed and kidnapped and rural communities were being sacked while properties running into million naira were being lost all of a sudden found his voice when he was advised to do the right thing to save his party from embarrassment.
At the end , he learnt the hard way that those telling him to do the right thing to elect candidates for the party were right when the court upturned the processes that brought up his own candidates and handed over the mandate to the opposition party in the state.
Many thought that that singular act would make Yari to sneak into his shell in shame for the catastrophe he caused the APC in Zamfara but because he is a man yet to understand the depth of his fall and the catastrophe he represents, had the temerity to pursue an immoral payment of his entitlements and even had the spleen to write the current governor reminding him that even after leaving office, that he wants to be looting the state to the tune of N10 million every month in the name of pension.
He has failed to understand that whatever is happening to him now is his comeuppance for failing to learn the nitty-gritty of leadership before, during and after taking the job.
That has made him to blame everyone but himself for his plight and because this is tantamount to wrong diagnoses, whatever treatment is applied cannot salve nor treat it.
In the case of Zamfara it has even aggravated as Yari now sees the governor, Bello Matawalle as his enemy and has gone all out to fight him.
If this has been reduced to a clash of two personalities, perhaps many would have ignored the matter as Mutawalle has the capacity to defend himself.
But this is snowballing into an issue that affects the people of the state as there are reports that some of the disquiet in the state both politically and otherwise are being sponsored and instigated by the former governor to create disaffection with the current government and cast it in bad light.
Not minding that Mutawale has put in place measures that have checked the insecurity in the state only few days after assuming office and has reintroduced an all inclusive government, there are indications some forces of evil are trying to upturn these gains by planting seeds of discord.
The former governor is believed to be using resources acquired while he was governor to create a scenario akin to the prevailing situation in the state when he was governor all in the bid to get back at the governor and President Muhammadu Buhari for not intervening but insisting that the laws must take its course as far as the Zamfara situation was concerned.
It is alleged that the former governor recruited and armed some youths to carry out these wicked intentions.
All lovers of peace must call the former governor to order as this is revenge taken too far. He should be reminded that whatever fate that befell him is as a result of lack of wisdom and political sophistication hence should not put the lives of people at risk for what is clearly his doing.
Okanga wrote from Agila, Benue State.