air your voice now..

Breaking News

Zamfara Politics And The Yerima Factor

That Senator Ahmad Sani Yerima is the Father of Zamfara Politics can only be disputed by mischief. Ever since the beginning of the Fourth Republic this cerebral politician has bestroded the political field of the Northwest and by extension the entirety of the North and the rest of Nigeria like a Colossus.

More than any politician of his generation, Yerima has continued to play an inalienable fatherly role in Zamfara politics, transmogrifying from a relatively quiet individual in 1999 to the father figure that he is today.

He was the first elected governor of Zamfara State —two others who have governed the state after him were his scions—they ascended the throne under his tutelage. That is incontrovertible—no narration about Zamfara politics without the mention of Sani Yerima is complete.

Virtually all the governorship candidates from all the different political parties cut their political teeth under Yerima.

Apart from the fact that he is a major factor in the creation of Zamfara state, he has remained a rallying Point in Zamfara politics and Nigeria as a whole. Suffice to state unequivocally that he has over the years nurtured to maturity an army of politicians in the state, who have taken up political offices in the state and at the national level.

All the current Governorship candidates are his political sons and he has refused to take side. Realistically, Yerima cannot afford to take side in the field of Zamfara politics for many reasons. All the current power players are virtually members of the Sani Yerima political family. And it would seem preposterous for a patriarch to take side among his political offspring.

This explains why after the Court of Appeal ruled that Zamfara APC can now field candidates in the 2019 election that he made a statewide broadcast. The broadcast was what many of his admirers have since been commending him for as a true political father of the state at a point it was looking like a political doom for the state.

“As you all know that, since when these issues were going on, I remained silent but at the same time, going up and down to ensure that the issue is resolved and in our favour but, now that, it is over, I deemed it imperative to voice out my mind thereby calling on all the teeming contenders to these races to accept this verdict in good faith as destined by Allah SWT,” Yerima said as he appealed to his people.

In rounding up his broadcast, he solicited votes for his party’s candidates in all the elections—a true party man—his admirers have always praised him for always identifying with his party. “I want to once again congratulate all members of APC in the state and also want to urge them to come out enmasse to vote for President Muhamadu Buhari, our thre Senators and House of Representatives members in the coming election and thereafter, vote for Governor and state assembly members,” he said.

Irrespective of political party, Yerima has always been adopted by political gladiators in the state as a political life force upon which their fortune could attain traction or trajectory. It would not be out of place to assert that the very foundation of the political career of the incumbent was built on the Yerima political soil.

And throughout the two term governorship of Abdulazeez Yari, Yerima has been acknowledged as the virtual bedrock of that successful dispensation. Even recently, it was Senator Yerima who facilitated or initiated a reconciliation and peace meeting between his political godson Governor Yari and APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomole bringing the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to resolve political differences between the two warring personalities as a result of the rancour emanating from the state primary elections.

Despite not belonging to the same political party with the former Governor Yerima, most of the political party candidates of that state printed posters and added his (Yerima’s) picture to their own in an apparent attempt to convince electorate in Zamfara that they have the blessing and or endorsement of this political juggernaut. He is such a rallying point and force no one ignores in the state.

In addition, no agenda setting or political calculation regarding the Northwest is complete without Yerima being factored in. Such is the extent of his stature and influence.

Cerebral and forward looking, Yerima has also been successful because he has never been afraid of any battle. His ability to weather the storm generated sometimes ago by the Sharia controversy is a good case in point.

In an interview granted sometimes ago in Abuja, Yerima allayed the controversy surrounding his introduction of Sharia law.

On why he promulgated the law, Yerima said: “I will say sincerely that I introduced sharia with the best intentions as a Muslim because the legal system is acceptable to Islam. The intention was not to Islamize those that are not Muslims in Nigeria. I did it because I knew my people needed it to check the wrongs of the society.’’

“Frankly, I never anticipated that the sharia introduction would attract such huge attention in Nigeria and internationally because it was just meant for the people of my state who are Muslims and wanted it.

“But I was so surprised at the international outrage and attack of the system. It got so bad that in one week, I received not less than 5000 protest petitions against the introduction of sharia from the Amnesty International. And that was just part of the larger attention that came with it. However, I did not stop the implementation because I was sure the move was right and we needed the sharia legal system to correct errors in our state.”

What would amount to Yerima’s vindication even after the anger and disagreements that greeted the introduction of the law came when about 12 states of the country went ahead to adopt sharia.

At every given opportunity Yerima has never hesitated to stress his commitment to Nigeria as a multi-faith society. According to Yerima, “All non-Muslims in Zamfara are able to choose civil law rather than Sharia law when faced with legal proceedings. Rights of non-Muslims to pray, preach and build places of worship were secured and reinforced.” In short, the ideal of freedom of worship was guaranteed in Zamfara despite the Sharia dispensation. At the end of the day, it was discovered that the furore that greeted the Sharia issue was like making a mountain of a molehill.

At the national level, Yerima has over the years been very relevant lending his voice and muscle to topical national issues. If he’s not speaking on the issue of fuel scarcity, rehabilitation of Nigerian refineries and turning things around based on the All Progressives Congress change mantra, Senator Yerima is voicing opinion on issues of national security and people’s welfare.

– Oyelade, a public affairs analyst,writes from Gusau, Zamfara State.

culled from

No comments