Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Stakes in Zamfara State

From 1999, Zamfara became a household name in the world because the State government has re-introduced the Shari’ah legal system, an act with caused a lot of uproar within and outside the country. Zamfara did not go off the news eyes, because it became the only State where a deputy governor succeeds his governor, it did not stop there, soon it dawn that the new governor Alhaji Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi is soon to be in conflict with his former boss Yariman Bakura.

That conflict became too complex that it nearly ground the State, instead of that to be the end of the conflict, the governor, to the disappointment of many decamped to PDP. Now, the internal conflict within Zamfara PDP and pressure of the opposition ANPP has grounded the State. Zamfara is now grounded, and we as citizens of the State must face the challenge of taking the State out of this doldrums. We can’t afford to sit down and watch our State wasted in the hands of reckless politicians who have no focus and no conscience. In this article, I am ready to bare my mind and I know many people will not be happy or like what I have to say, but I have to say it.

When Yarima was in power, there are many things I did not like in his style of governance because I feel they will not help the State rather stagnate it. Yarima had the chance of history, he had the blind support of his people, he had the goodwill of politics and he had a lot of money from the federation account to ensure that the infant State got the right infrastructure and capacity for economic development, but Yarima misused his chance. He is a great politician in the Nigerian sense, because he knows how to use the resources of the State to buy his way, he bought everybody.

During his time the assembly was muted and almost useless, his executive council was a puppet, religious leaders were bought and elders became toothless bulldogs. Yarima was principally the only man standing in Zamfara State and he misused his opportunity by spending all his time and resources politicking instead of building solid infrastructural foundation for the young State. Supporters of Yarima will tell you that he is generous and is a giver. What else has Yarima got to show in Zamfara after eight years in office? Politics, and that’s all.

I had no hope when Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi became governor that he will have the capacity to inject the much needed substance in governance to move the State forward. His first six months almost proved me wrong. I was surprised to see how he faced the challenges of infrastructure and Zamfara seem to be transforming.

But from the beginning, I sense a danger. The first danger was his inescapable confrontation with Yarima. Despite Yarima’s failure, he cannot be under estimated, because he commands a lot of respect among politicians (whose concern is only about money), and Yarima can harm Mahmuda politically if the confrontation continues.

The second danger I sensed was the madness of second term fuelled by opportunistic politicians. How can a government that is less than a year in office start thinking and investing on a second term? That ultimately lead to a serious conflict and distraction and Shinkafi hurriedly decamped to PDP, an act that bought him unpopularity among the masses (even though politicians all decamped to PDP; that’s where the money is). It was shameful how things turned out, but it happened in Zamfara.

Since Shinkafi decamped to PDP there is so much conflict between the aboriginal Pidipeans and the migrants Pidipeans, on power sharing and resource control. Nothing is going on in the State the only thing that is going on in the State is politics, just like in the Yarima days.

What's happening Shinkafi? Your vision is now blurred, all your will and desire to build a solid foundation for the State is unstable. It is dramatic how Zamfara was turned from a project State to a State where politics is the only business of the day. The State is broke and all the great and giant projects started are there hanging and no body knows what is going to happen, what a tragedy.

Every citizen of Zamfara (those in the State and those in the Diaspora) now live with the fear of uncertainty. The State is now high jacked by some visionless politicians who have no concern for the State or its people but their pockets and political career and no one seem to be doing anything. We have no elders in Zamfara State; we have no bureaucrats who have the guts to confront the excesses of the political class. Our intellectuals don’t seem to pay attention or be interested on what is happening in the State and this is a great disservice on their part.

We have now reached a state that we must remember what Frantz Fanon once said “Every generation must out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it” and that “Every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor” and my challenge to Zamfara intellectuals is this: we have a stake in what happens in Zamfara, and we have the responsibility of taking Zamfara out of this mess, we must rescue Zamfara State from the hands of political kidnappers who have hijacked the affairs of our State. Closely, we should refer to the Malam Abdullahi Fodio’s, commentary on Lubab which he said is a summary of Al-Madkhal of Muhammad b. Muhammad al-Abdari of Fezz in order to realise our duty to our community as intellectuals. By this I wish to extend invitation to Zamfara State indigenes teaching in Nigerian Universities to form the nucleus of a body of intellectuals that will start the rebirth of Zamfara State. The revolution must begin now.

This article is published today in DAILY TRUST (July 1, 2009)

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Kano, Kano, Nigeria
Dr. Yusuf M. Adamu is a Professor of Medical Geography at the Bayero University Kano. He is a bilingual novelist, a poet, and writes for children. He is interested in photography and run a photo blog ( All the blogs he run are largely for his hobbies and not his academic interests. Hope you enjoy the blogs.