By Israel Ohia…
- Lethargy and administrative limbo characterize Abdulaziz Yari’s government
- Zamfara State moves now a ‘welfare’ state as in Yerima’s regime
Nine months after the emergence of Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari Talatan Mafara, as the successor of Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi of the PDP, the hope and expectation of the people of Zamfara for peoples oriented leadership in Yari has virtually been dashed with lamentations by the citizens of alleged reckless spending of public resources through jamboree trips, wasteful expenditure and forgetting priority areas the masses needed most.
DESERT HERALD magazine gathered that from the inception of the Governor on May 29th last year till date, the Federation allocation to Governor Yari’s regime is far more than what his predecessor Shinkafi collected for a period of two years. Investigation reveals that with all those bogus and fat allocations very little has been done; as the only thing which the government of Yari has done was the completion of the Gusau Bye pass which was already 60 percent completed before Shinkafi left office.
Typical of Nigerian politicians, when Governor Yari came into office, he branded the previous government wasteful, but a close source told this paper that Yari, who criticise the Shinkafi administration as corrupt and extravagant today takes the credit for the completion of the road from Moshalashi Eid to roundabout which was about 2km out of the total 18 km of the whole bypass, at a ridiculous sum of N500 million. Moreover, this paper gathered that the road itself is very poorly constructed, with the contractors reducing the depth and thickness of the road so as to maximize the already inflated profit.
As gathered by DESERT HERALD magazine, between May last year till date the state has received the sum total of about N57, 452, 703, 476. This bogus amount includes allocations for the period of nine months he has been in office, plus the N13 billion that he illegally collected as loans from three different banks and also the Internally Generated Revenue.
However, there has been nothing to indeed show for this amount collected, as the state is said to be lying fallow with nothing to show for such amount collected.
A close associate of the government of the state told this paper that “Shinkafi was able to settle salaries of civil servants in the state and that of the local government with even the meagre amount that the state was receiving and at the same time was working on projects in the state,” the source concludes.
The source lamented that “one of the problems the people are facing is the ineptitude of the governor, as he lacks the ability, competence to lead the state to Eldorado. This paper gathered that he only appointed commissioners in September, while the special advisers were also appointed in October.
Inside sources told DESERT HERALD magazine that the setting up of commission of enquiry to investigate only the Mahmuda regime is just another way of diverting public resources and a hoax to deceive the people into believing that he is working, while in essence he is not. As gathered, the citizens are asking him to extend the probe to 1999, when his boss the former governor Yerima came into office. According to what this paper gathered, if he begins the probe from 1999 he himself will be indicted as he was also among those that were indicted by the EFCC together with the former governor Sani Yerima for embezzlement and contract inflation.
For instance, a former member of the Zamfara State House of Assembly told this magazine that it was during Yerima that a contract was giving to 10 persons with mobilization fee, and the government will still go back to borrow the money from them.
DESERT HERALD magazine gathered that the claims by the present administration that the past government left liabilities are being exaggerated by Yari and wondered why the governor did not come out with his figures after nine months in office. Moreover, he has no definite answer. The dungeon the governor is taking the state to is going to be alarming as the economy of the state is in shambles, for instance three months into office he is said to have borrowed almost 13 billion naira and despite that money today nothing is to show for it.
In one instance, this magazine learnt from its investigation that the first person that was supposed to be the Commissioner for Finance declined due to the fact that after the offer of being the commissioner of the state for finance was made to him he decided to study the financial capacity of the state, and discovered that the state is indeed in dire financial problems as Governor Yari had collected 13 billion naira in three months. “He asked the governor you said the previous administration is wasteful and left a lot of liability, what of you who has already borrowed N13 billion in three months and by the time you will complete your tenure how much will you then borrow? He asked Yari how he intends to pay the loan with its huge interest. He told Yari that by collecting as much as 13 billion Naira loan he is indirectly mortgaging the entire state and that he must act according to the dictates of such banks.,” he concludes. However he declined the appointment.
The wastefulness on the part of Governor Yari, this magazine learnt, has been so alarming that throughout the four years tenure of Governor Shinkafi, he went to Abuja by flight only four times and that was with commercial flight the rest was by road. However on the contrary, since coming to power, Gov. Yari used to travel to Abuja in many instances three times in a week and all by chartered flights, and it is alleged that each trip costs about N5 million.
However, due to his alleged wastefulness, reports has it that on only one occasion when he was coming by road from Abuja after the Hajj, at Tsafe, the people of the area, this paper gathered, casted aspersion at him and also throw stones at him, saying that “we had forgotten about you because since when you became governor, you have never passed this road not to talk of visiting us as our governor”.
However, DESERT HERALD magazine gathered that the issue of ghost workers is all lies as the governor has been claiming to be verifying the authenticity of his staff and he has not come out with anything. No figures has been released since all the talk about verification. A source told this paper that how can you claim ghost workers when people are being laid off? For instance a medical Doctor who has been doing marvellously well at King Fahad Specialist Hospital was laid off as a ghost worker and people were even not happy over his sack.
Security today in Zamfara State has become another issue. The people of Zamfara cannot sleep with their two eyes closed due to insecurity, as armed robbery has been on the increase, and political thuggery has escalated. Even though the police are doing their ultimate best their efforts this paper gathered is frustrated by government officials.
What is surprising is that 95% of the victims of these attacks are all PDP members in the state since the inception of the ANPP government; security has been beefed up at every nook and cranny of the state. For instance along Dansardauna road many people lost their lives, including four policemen. While also at Lingyndo town in Bimdim district of Dansardauna emirate armed robbers were said to have surrounded the whole village and about 18 people lost their lives.
This Magazine also gathered that in Jangebe and Binji in Maru Local Government it was the same song of armed robbery attacks. The same is also seen in Tsafe.
Coming to Gusau the State capital is not safe as well. This paper gathered that many of the people attacked are all PDP members, for instance a driver to the former governor Shinkafi was visited and was asked to bring money as they branded him a keeper of Dallatu’s money.
Just as armed robbery is on the increase that is how also political thuggery is on the increase, as this reporter gathered that most of these thugs are coming from the neighbouring states and come into Zamfara to perpetrate all these evils. Two months ago, three of them were arrested in the state capital when they came to assassinate one Yusuf Kyari, who is a motorcycle dealer, but luck ran out of them as they were arrested by a police officer who happens to be a DPO at Gusau Central. But after that arrest he was said to have been transferred to the state headquarters as the ANPP was not happy with him, saying that he is being sympathetic to the PDP.
However, one curious thing this paper learnt was when a serving senator in the state sought for the release of the thugs, because they were doing his bidding. When the police couldn’t grant them bail because of the workers’ strike in the state he mediated with the state NLC to call off the strike not for the development of the state, but for the resumption of the court so that the thugs will be bailed out. And Zamfara today, they call these people executive criminals because they have power from the executives.
Keenly observers of the brand of politics under Mr. Yari have started expressing their views as things unfold differently from the expectations of the Zamfara masses. Some of them expressed dismay over the manner the government handles state finances, and looking back with nostalgia to the Mahmuda Shinkafi era, when they said, development was the priority even though the Shinkafi regime too is also accused of mismanagement owing to the infamous activities of aides like Musa Zubairu Nasarawa Mailayi etc.
According to the former aide of ex-Governor Shinkafi, “it was obvious that the impressive edifices of development the Shinkafi administration left behind all over Zamfara State continue to attract fervent prayers for his return. Even school teachers and pupils in the state, who were liberated from unpaid salaries and dilapidated structures and boosted with teaching aids and hitherto scarce text and exercise books have been dedicating songs to the glory of the Shinkafi administration, while the youths cannot thank him enough for the skills acquisition centres he established across the state”.
However, this paper gathered that these pleasant recollections of better days gone by have also been triggered by the apparent lethargy and administrative limbo that has characterized the Abdulaziz Yari government since it came on board. The people who ushered in the unknown ‘Saint’ Yari cannot give reasonable answers to the blunder of initiating a negative change that only returned Zamfara to square one of the infamous Yarima era when there was government but no governance, budget but no economic development on ground and charity at the expense of state treasury.
In the words of a close associate of Senator Kabiru Marafa who according to the people has deserted them since he won the senatorial election under his new party, ANPP, “the Zamfarawa are facing the paralysis gripping the Yari government which is traceable to the over-bearing interest of its political godfather, Senator Yarima, who is again neck deep in converting our state into their cash cow and launch pad for yet another presidential campaign project in 2015 just as he did in the build up to 2007. This is because he couldn’t do that during Shinkafi and now he wants to achieve it through Yari. In the rest of Nigeria where such political godfathers ruled the waves there has been massive realignment to eliminate them and situate political power directly in the hands of the masses. It is only in Zamfara and under Yari that an ex-governor, Ahmed Sani will sell his house at a whooping N500million to government and get same house as a gift for a so called policy to provide decent accommodation to ex-governors even though Shinkafi was denied same unreasonable privilege. While the people of Zamfara continued to lament bad leadership and lack of commensurate development since the inception of democracy in 1999, the nagging question many are asking is will Zamfarawa break the jinx of corrupt, focusless and visionless leadership in Yari?
With additional report by Maryam Musa
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- No Boko Haram members among arrested suspects in Enugu – Police (vanguardngr.com)