Why Yari Should Take His Empty Seat Home By Azu Ishiekwene

Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, provided Greek reward as Christmas current: his soon-to-be-vacant official stool just isn’t definitely worth the paper on which he made the promise to step down as governor if doing so would carry peace to the state. There’s no want to surrender his seat or to step down.

Out of the goodness of his purple coronary heart, nevertheless, the governor, whose state now seems to be run formally by bandits, principally illegitimate political kids of former Governor Sani Yerima’s fanatical experiment practically 20 years in the past. The monsters have now come of age.

Yari stated he was prepared to make any private sacrifice, including giving up his put up as governor, if that may retrieve the state from the management of those bandits.

His stool, the governor stated, just isn’t definitely worth the lifetime of a single resident, a lot much less the tens of a whole bunch who’ve been killed, wounded or dispossessed because the current escalation of lethal banditry within the state.

I needed to anticipate just a few days to go to make certain it was Yari talking. Even after that, I solely paid consideration to stories carrying not solely his speech however his {photograph} as properly, just to make certain it was not one other Yari.

But there he was, carrying his bleeding coronary heart on his sleeve and talking from Zamfara, of all locations, the place he had been a stranger for the higher a part of the final 4 years of his tenure.

I don’t know if he missed his technique to Gusau, however absolutely, Yari, the undisputed runaway crown prince and govt governor-in-absentia, doesn’t anticipate us to take his crocodile tears critically. 

If he was crying privately, we’d even have provided him buckets to gather his tears after which admonished him quietly for mockery. But to make a public present of his concern concerning the state of affairs in Zamfara, after all he has finished horribly incorrect, notably within the final 4 years, is an insult the grieving folks of the state could do with out.

So, it’s OK for President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency now, on the eve of Yari’s departure as governor? Around July final year, when it was very obvious that issues have been getting out of hand, LEADERSHIP newspaper wrote a frontpage editorial asking the President to declare a state of emergency in Zamfara.

The newspaper argued – and it was fairly clearly the case – that bandits in Zamfara have been killing for sport and that the governor, aside from accepting that he was solely chief security officer in title, had additionally deserted the state and camped in Abuja.

The newspaper stated in that July editorial that, “The killings within the state are greater than all of the killings in all the opposite states of the nation put collectively…Now that the Zamfara State government has failed in its obligation – the state is successfully a failed state – we should always stop pretending about it. If the governor who collects hundreds of thousands of naira as security vote and has a plethora of security males guarding him has fled the state, what’s the level pretending {that a} regular intervention will finish the banditry?”

In response to the editorial, the governor used a part of his security vote, which if he couldn’t use to safe the State he could not less than have used to supply succour, to abuse LEADERSHIP in acres of pages of sponsored ads. 

Five months later, the identical governor sees the sunshine and invitations an extended line of sympathisers to help wipe away his tears. 

Not so quick. It’s essential to look at Yari’s actual motive. I’m not ruling out the raging conflict by bandits as a motive, however Yari’s conduct reveals that banditry is just a handy masks for his lack of political affect inside his celebration. He is providing his stool, to not save the state, however to spite his adversaries and buy sympathy.

In coming to phrases with the heavy defeat he suffered over the last governorship major within the state by the hands of the Abuja forces led by Kabiru Marafa and Adams Oshiomhole, Yari is completely happy to cowl his disgrace with no matter he can discover, including a fig leaf of emergency rule.

All the pretence that he’s completely happy to step down now to save lots of the state is nonsense. 

He can cry till the handkerchief manufacturing unit closes down, his faux tears is not going to save him from answering questions on what precisely he did with the state’s security vote, not less than within the final 4 years, when security mattered most. 

We have seen voodoo expense sheets in newspaper adverts claiming that Yari put up a braver fight against the bandits than Napoleon did at Waterloo, however to what impact? To what function?

The governor collects tens of hundreds of thousands of naira from Abuja month-to-month as security vote just for him to vanish and camp out exterior Gusau till the subsequent money load is prepared. Since when did his love for the folks of Zamfara grow to be extra essential than his private security and security? Since when did his dedication to serve grow to be extra essential than his private consolation?

Wasn’t this the identical governor who as a substitute of offering vaccines when meningitis broke out in Zamfara two years in the past stated the outbreak was punishment for widespread fornication? 

Apparently, the one punishment worse than meningitis was Yari’s election as governor. The supply of a just about empty seat in Government House just isn’t price his redemption. Zamfara just isn’t the one state under siege. Katsina State Governor, Bello Masari, has additionally cried out; whereas within the North East, Borno and Yobe have been within the eye of the storm for years now. 

In spite of the lethal assaults, which have elevated dramatically in latest occasions, nevertheless, it’s to Governor Kashim Ibrahim Shettima’s credit score that he has stood agency with residents in Borno within the face of grave hazard, providing succour and hope wherever he can under very troublesome circumstances. That is what management calls for.

Yari could complain that the current scale of violence in Zamfara is past what a state government can comprise, nevertheless zealous it could be. He could be proper, up to a degree. I feel that no matter cleansing up Buhari could have finished within the navy high hierarchy when he took over, nearly all of the fighting forces are nonetheless being poorly served by deep-rooted corruption within the system.

Add that to the weak, deeply fragmented, failing neighbouring international locations on our northern borders and you’ve got a compounded problem.

But poor management in Zamfara, notably within the final 4 years, has additionally made the state a horny vacation spot for bandits with a bloodline to the Yerima period. Yari’s might be remembered for his frequent and extended absences from the state and his fake pas over meningitis. He can even be remembered as one of many governors charged by EFCC for pocketing $3m of the Paris Club refund, which ought to have been used to pay salaries.

Each breach of religion by the governor – and they’re in multiples – has solely made the folks of Zamfara extra weak, extra insecure. The bandits have been a horrible plague; however Yari has been no much less a predator.

Perhaps one factor he did properly was holding the chair of the Governors’ Forum – a aspect hustle which neither requires presence of thoughts nor sustained effort. He can hold his seat as governor until the top; Zamfara will handle to outlive him.


Ishiekwene is the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network

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