By Ali Ali

Zamfara state has continued to be in the news of late for inexplicable reasons. Only recently, the state governor, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, repealed the state pension law that granted the former governor of the state, Abdulaziz Yari and his co-travelers stupendous pension benefits that defeats human comprehension in a sane society. And of course this was applauded by well-meaning Nigerians.

This is aside from the supposed 10 million naira “upkeep” allowance that he deemed entitled to as a former governor of a state he practically ruined. This is the story of Zamfara state in a nutshell. But it didn’t end there, there is also the issue of armed banditry that left hundreds of women and children dead, and yet the then governor was busy gallivanting the globe.

I recall there was also another instance when there was an outbreak of meningitis in the state and other parts of the country, the best he could do was to say it was a punishment from God for fornication. Yes, this was what a governor had to say.

Under Yari, Zamfara State was a killing field where all manners of criminalities were perpetuated without abate. But little did we know that we had a governor who was promoting criminality to take the focus away from his looting of the state treasury. I dare say Zamfara state bleed while Abdulaziz Yari held sway as governor of the state.

It didn’t end just in Zamfara state; he also exhibited his bad behavior in his capacity at the Chairman of the Governors Forum with the way and manner they mismanaged the Paris Club refund. But as God would have it, his plan on fostering a stooge in Zamfara state to cover his tracks failed with the pronouncement of the Supreme Court that returned Bello Muhammad Mutawalle as governor.

I dare say this didn’t go down well with him, and as such, he made some scathing remarks about making the state ungovernable for the incoming governor. Interestingly, he stood to words by covertly sponsoring bandits’ activities in the state, all in a bid to cause unrest and discredit the incumbent governor. This much he has carried on like a wounded lion that he is in this circumstance.

This is on the heels that it is on record that, in his nefarious way, recruited over 10,000 youths to instigate an economic war in the state by engaging in acts inimical to the growth and development of the state. I stand to be corrected, the havoc Abdulaziz Yari had done in Zamfara state won’t go away soon. Imagine a situation where a state governor lavishly spent state funds on personal frivolities, while the state remains in turmoil. Imagine a situation where a state governor would be away from the state, and innocent women and children were killed daily by bandits. The governor would prefer to remain in Abuja rather than return to his state.

That was Abdulaziz Yari for you. I am sure in his wildest dream he didn’t think a day like this would come soon, in the sense that all his secrets would come to the open on how he mismanaged Zamfara state, and also how since he left office he has been sponsoring criminal elements to cause unrest in the state.

The interesting angle to the Abdulaziz Yari debacle is the fact that his nefarious activities do not stop in Zamfara state. From available statistics, he is nursing a grudge with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari due to his cases with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

In the face of all these maneuverings by Abdulaziz Yari, I get somewhat confused about his motives for Zamfara state or what he stands to benefits should Zamfara State go up in flames. In my opinion, that Zamfara state is enjoying relative peace and tranquility is too much for him to bear. This, in a way, explains the conspiracy theory that there was indeed more than meets the eyes with the level of insecurity witnessed by the state while he held sway as governor.

In some quarters, it has been speculated that upon resumption of office, Abdulaziz Yari had the agenda to loot the state blind to fund his extravagant and canal lifestyle and one of such way to take this from the eyes of the prying public, was to cause a distraction by fueling insecurity in the state. At this point, I fear for Zamfara state with the level of desperation exhibited by Abdulaziz Yari because more cans of worms would be opened as regards his stewardship of the state from 2011 to 2019. And with the way the incumbent governor is leaving no stone unturned in his bid to entrench transparency and accountability in the system, there is every reason for Abdulaziz Yari to throw all manner of spanners in the wheels of progress in Zamfara state.

This much he is currently engaged in with the sponsorship of criminal elements in the state in an attempt to make the state ungovernable, and to continue to buy time before all of his atrocities against the people of Zamfara state comes to the public domain. And this must not be treated with kids’ gloves by the relevant authorities.

The earlier Abdulaziz Yari is tamed, the better for Zamfara state. Should he be allowed to carry on with his evil plot against the state, I am afraid that casualties would be too costly for the people of Zamfara state. It consequently behooves on all well-meaning individuals to call him to order. He must be reminded that there is a new sheriff in town, and as such, there is a limit to which he can continue with the despicable act of sponsoring violence in the state.

Lest I forget, Abdulaziz Yari must also be made to face the full wrath of the law because an individual cannot be bigger than a state or a country. Definitely not in a democratic dispensation, and not with President Muhammadu Buhari as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Ali is a security expert based in Zaria.


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