BY IFEANYICHUKWU NWANNAH
Democracy is all about participation of the highest number of people for the common good and general development of the people and not for intoxicated political class whose brand of politics is “if not me, let anything happen”.
This is the main reason the people’s Democratic Party (PDP) has not formed government in Zamfara State since 1999. Before 1999 general elections, Zamfara was PDP state until the former National Security Officer (NSO), Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, brought All Peoples Party (APP) and nurtured it in the state.
Then Senator Ahmad SaniYarima was a director general at the state ministry of lands and survey. Little did the people know that APP would form government in the state because PDP dominated the state and again Ahmad Sani Yarima was little known. But PDP’s leadership crisis began it captured only seven local governments and APP also captured seven out of the fourteen local governments in the 1999 general elections.
The internal crisis which developed within PDP circle as a result of power tussle went on over who would be the party’s gubernatorial candidate between Ambassador Muhammad Z. Anka and Malam Yahaya Abdulkarim. It was a serious political war that the leadership of the party set up eight community elders to settle the matter. Eventually, Ambassador Muhammad Z. Anka won the ticket with four votes out of eight and Malam Yahaya Abdulkarim won three because one of the eight elders did not turn up. Malam Yahaya rejected the result but the party leadership insisted on Ambassador Muhammad Z. Anka as the governorship candidate. That development made Malam Yahaya, the former Sokoto State governor, to rush to the radio house warning his supporters not to come out for the governorship election. That gave Ahmad Sani Yarima the victory.
But the internal crisis came to a sharp focus in 2003, then APP which was later called All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), began to control the state since then. The elder stateman, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, in a bid to protect his party from PDP in the state advised former governor Ahmad SaniYarima to introduce shariah to put fear in the hearts of his people. The plan was sealed at Kaura Namoda and Yarima came to Gusau and implemented Shariah in the 2000. Since then Zamfara becomes ANPP state.
Yarima began the Shariah by the amputation of the hands of two young men from Gummi and Jangebe, even as the people began to live in perpetual fear. Yet the witch hunt for each other in the PDP did not stop.
It is on record that all the well known politicians in Zamfara State are PDP members and some of them who later pitched tent with Yarima and are still in APC today have their roots in PDP. The actions and inactions of the PDP big wigs continue to have serious repercussion on the party since 1999.
The betrayal is posing a great danger in the party because it is unbecoming of those who lose the party’s primaries to play politics the way they are playing it here in Zamfara PDP. Umaru Shinkafi, who brought and nurtured ANPP and governor Yarima capitalized on the internal crisis of PDP to prevent them from forming government in the state. And since 1999 the then governor, Ahmad SaniYarima, took Umaru Shinkafi’s instructions to protect his seat and the party.
But come to think of it, the PDP has people that matter in the state but they have no political power. Talk of General Aliyu Gusau, Hon. Ikra Bilbis who has been two times federal minister later decamped, the present Tijjani Kaura who was one of those that formed PDP in the state is now the secretary to Zamfara State government under Governor Yari, who said he decamped to APC because he is tired of PDP problems in the state even though he was a minister. Malam Yahaya Abdulkarim who was also a minister, Ambassador Muhammad Z. Anka, Col. Bala Mande who had been the military Administrator of Nasarawa state, could not make any political impact in the state. Former governor Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi who governed the state for four years came to the throne on the platform of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) until he defected to PDP in 2008.
These people are political big wigs in the state who cannot face Senator Ahmad SaniYarima because of the internal squabbles and powertussle. The rise and fall of PDP in the state began in 1999 when its internal crisis started to show case that the people of the state abandoned the party and pitched tents with ANPP coupled with the Shariah Yarima used in putting fears in them.
The PDP heavy weights in the state negatively stamped failure on the party. That is one thing the political analysts can never forget in a hurry. A political party haunted by its ghosts. The problems confronting PDP today in the state are numerous, one of which is a phenomenon against itself and good conscience of the party. One cannot forget in a hurry the woes and miseries the power drunk PDP men have inflicted on the party since 1999 when they carried out their first political coup against the party, abandoning the integrity and the reputation of the party.
That however, made Senator Ahmad SaniYarima to stand tall as the most prolific political king in Zamfara politics as the PDP men made him significantly relevant. Though Umaru Shinkafi was the brain behind the rise of ANPP in Zamfara State and Yarima listened to his instructions. The duo left indelible marks in retaining political power in the sands of times. While he was the state governor, between 1999 and 2007, he was a dictator and later passed power to his deputy, Alhaji Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi, who defected to PDP and was betrayed by the PDP men in 2011. He poured scorn on Yarima’s political shariah that brought woes, deprivations, confusions and mass killings in many parts of the country, an enduring crisis to many parts of the country. The shariah that refused to end total devaluation of all aspects of people’s lives and the nation reached it apogee because of the implementation of the political shariah by former governor Ahmad SaniYarima though the political shariah brought him to a political lime light.
He was one of the most travelled governors of his time who travelled all over the globe looking for foreign investors that refused to come because of the shariah. His government was a government of few, for the interest of few which is oligarchy that was seen as a pastime and was so pronounced because he elevated his political shariah to an art of state policy.
He used the shariah to make the state treasury as personal safe from where public funds were siphoned overseas. Former governor Yarima was intolerant of opposition because they were not united as there were constructive criticisms. Many of his followers like the secretary to the state governor, Alhaji Hussain Moriki, were whisked away by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for mismanagement of public funds openly. The then chairman of EFCC, Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, described it as a direct stealing at the floor of the senate in 2007.
His followers plundered the state treasury and rubbished it openly. Ahmad SaniYarima told news men in Gusau that he left only N65 million in his bank account and had to take a loan from the United Bank For Africa (UBA) before he could buy his house in Abuja. That however testified to the claim that he did not plunder the state treasury.