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Zamfara politics and the Yarima factor

Senator Ahmad Sani Yarima

That Senator Ahmad Sani Yarima is the father of Zamfara politics can only be disputed by mischief-makers. Ever since the beginning of the Fourth Republic this cerebral politician has bestrode the political field of the Northwest. More than any politician of his generation, he has continued to play an inalienable fatherly role in Zamfara politics, transforming 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 Yarima is complete.

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

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Apart from the fact that he is a major factor in the creation of Zamfara, 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 governorship candidates that contested 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 Yarima political family so would seem preposterous for a patriarch to take side among his political offspring.

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This explains why after the Court of Appeal ruled that Zamfara APC can now field candidates in the 2019 election that he made a state-wide 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.

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 en mass to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari, our three senators and House of Reps members in the coming election and thereafter, vote for Governor and state assembly members,” he said.

Irrespective of political party, Yarima 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 Yarima political soil.

And throughout the two term governorship of Abdulazeez Yari, Yarima has been acknowledged as the virtual bedrock of that successful dispensation. Even recently, it was Senator Yarima who facilitated or initiated a reconciliation and peace meeting between his political godson Governor Yari and APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole 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 Yarima, most of the political party candidates of that state printed posters and added his (Yarima’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 Yarima being factored in. Such is the extent of his stature and influence. He has also been successful because he has never been afraid of any battle. In an interview granted sometimes ago in Abuja, Yarima allayed the controversy surrounding his introduction of sharia law. On why he promulgated the law, Yarima 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.”

What would amount to Yarima’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.

Yarima has tested the waters before. For instance, in 2007, he put his name forward to be the ANPP candidate for the presidential election that year. What was surprising is that this so-called proponent of Sharia even won backing from the Christian Alliance. Perhaps he would have gone the whole hog but he had to withdraw from the contest at the party’s 2007 national convention to back former Head of State Muhammadu Buhari as the ANPP candidate.

Yarima was eventually elected Senator representing Zamfara West constituency for the All Nigeria People’s Party in April 2007. He has since served on committees such as that of Selection, Federal Character & Inter-Government Affairs, Drugs and Narcotics, Anti-corruption and Agriculture. In whatever capacity, he has always exuded the image of a man of honour and a reliable power broker. The future definitely is bright for this son of the state and veritable citizen of Nigeria. And one thing is even clearer: his influence and position as the primus inter pares in the state is secure, and he is one man Zamfara should be proud of having as a son.

Oyelade wrote from Gusau, Zamfara State.

 

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