ZAMFARA CENTRAL SENATORIAL ZONE CONTEST: A war of ‘political Gladiators’

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BY: IFEANYICHUKWU NWANNAH

There is no doubt that the political temperature in Zamfara politics
is very high charged, with tension, actions, muscles and intrigues.
There is every indication that the factor of incumbency may not be
allowed to show case as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is set for
the grand duel against the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). This
time PDP is out for a revenge mission. Desert Herald beams its search
lights on Zamfara Central Senatorial Zone where two elephants from the
National Assembly will engage in another political war, war of the
elephants.

The elephants are Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa who went to the Senate
in 2011 on the platform of the defunct ANPP representing Zamfara
Central Senatorial Zone and the chairman, House Committee on ICT,
House of Representative, Engineer  Ibrahim Shehu Gusau who also went
to the lower chamber of the National Assembly in 2011 on the platform
of ANPP. He contested the PDP governorship primaries with former
Governor Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi and lost. But there was internal party
arrangement for the former Commissioner for Agriculture and natural
resources, Dr. Mallami Aliyu Yandoto to relinquish his senatorial
ticket to him while Dr. Yandoto takes over the deputy to Shinkafi.

Political pundits see the arrangement as welcome development because
Engineer Ibrahim Shehu Gusau has invested a lot in the state chapter
of PDP within the little time he decamped to the party as a result of
uncertainly confusion that trailed his return to the National
Assembly. He has empowered several women and youth for self reliance.
Investigation carried out by his medium revealed that he has no
confidence in APC as Governor Abdulaziz Yari and Senator Ahmad Sani
Yarima have turned the APC to their personal properties, hence he
decamped to PDP.

Dr. Mallami Yandoto got the senatorial ticket on consensus before he
relinquished it to Engineer Ibrahim Shehu Gusau for the position of
Deputy Governorship to Shinkafi. That makes Zamfara Central politics
interesting especially when the sitting Senator Kabiru Marafa and
Engineer Ibrahim Shehu Gusau are in the National Assembly and have a
lot of supporters.

For Dr. Malami Aliyu Yandoto, it is a time for reckoning, a revenge
mission. According to him he declared his interest to the senate in
2011 claiming that he was denied by Senator Ahmad Sani Yarima and
Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari and anointed Kabiru Garba Marafa for the senate.
He said the movers and shakers to APC in the state promised to crown
him the Emir of Tsafe if they form government in Zamfara State. When
they eventually formed government in 2011, they did not honor their
promises instead they compensated him with commissioner for
agriculture and natural resources, a position he held until he
resigned.

As for Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa, he is a very notable politician in
Zamfara central who is also loved by the youth and women. His struggle
of marshaling out a game plan that manifested in Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari
becoming the State Governor in 2011 was always in various degrees. The
political prowess of the senator has indeed justified beyond
reasonable doubt that he is a force to be reckon with in Zamfara
politics. The thinking is that the intimacy between Governor Yari and
Senator  Kabiru Marafa would not be questioned in any way, putting
into consideration the efforts advanced by the senator to achieve real
success for Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari in 2011. But the thinking of many is
that Senator Yarima’s political dynasty is broken.

But Senator Marafa’s political philosophy accounted for the acceptance
of ANPP in the entire Zamfara central for a block votes. Far away from
the analogy of many that Senator Ahmad Sani Yarima was the brain
behind Abdulaziz Yari’s success as the State Governor in 2011
election, no, Senator Kabiru Marafa and his political associates were
instrumental to Yari’s election victory. Senator Marafa single
handedly did the home work and implemented his political policies for
Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari to enter Gusau Government House.

Unarguably, Senator Kabiru Marafa is strongly rooted in Zamfara
politics and needs a strong politician to uproot his political might.
As it is said and believed that politics is a game of numbers, Senator
Marafa has got the number. But it is not clear whether he may be
judged by the Abdulaziz Yari’s style of governor.

It is a well known fact that former Governor Shinkafi missed the
opportunity when he miscalculated by rejecting Kabiru Marafa as the
PDP Senatorial candidate in 2011 to favour Senator Hassan Muhammed
Nasiha who was not favoured by PDP elders, delegates and supporters.
They all protested and were prepared to give Senator Marafa all the
necessary support but former Governor Shinkafi imposed Senator Hassan
Muhammed Nasiha on them. As a result, Kabiru Marafa and his teaming
supporters dumped PDP for the defunct ANPP where Senator Ahmad Sani
Yarima did not waste time in anointing him as the senatorial candidate
on the platform of ANPP. Kabiru proved himself and delivered Zamfara
central to ANPP which gave Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari the power to unseat
former Governor Shinkafi and his PDP.

The fact must be stated that every job has its risks. Booming is one
of them. Booming does not wound. But setting buildings, lives and
political offices and vehicles can hurt. They represent unacceptable
mode of ventilating one’s own views. Violence changes it gear
according to time, circumstances and responses. These were inexistence
in Zamfara politics many years ago.

Both the APC and PDP are now set for fire for fire especially in the
Zamfara Central politics where they have declared wars against each
other. Senator Kabiru Marafa was alleged to have warned that Dr.
Malami Yandoto should stop insulting the person of Governor Yari on
campaign grounds rather than to convince the electorates to vote for
his party. It is not only war of words but actions, not only booming
each other but setting ablaze campaign offices and destruction of
campaign vehicles.

The campaign offices of Engineer Ibrahim Shehu Gusau was set ablaze
recently in the struggle for power, it was alleged that it was burnt
down by the APC thugs. Again the campaign vehicles of Senator Kabiru
Garba Marafa were destroyed beyond repairs which it was also alleged
that the PDP supporters were the brains behind that. The state police
command has invited all the leaders of existing political parties in
the state for a meeting.

But Zamfara was identified as one of the most peaceful states of the
federation, but the political malaise has reared its horrid head in
the state. Though the APC claimed that the Governor of Zamfara State,
Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari was embarrassed on several occasions by
Shinkafi’s Deputy, Dr. Malami Aliyu Yandoto. Even though the police
has been alerted.

As the campaign for various political offices get into a higher gear,
the politicians especially in Zamfara central, violence and threat of
violence have got the effect of discouraging decent, peaceful people
from joining the fray, leaving the field open for only hooligans.

Even though Senator Ahmad Sani Yatima is said to be adamant over the
anointment of Senator Kabiru Marafa but political pundits said Senator
Yarima is instigating Governor Yari to ensure that no APC member
contest the senatorial ticket with Senator Marafa ahead of 2015 and
the Governor perfectly obliged. Most of these strategies may not have
been unconnected with the ambition of Governor Yari to get block votes
from Zamfara central through Senator Kabiru Marafa, thinking that
Senator Marafa is still a powerful figure he can rely on to resurface
again at Gusau Government House. But then PDP is planning seriously to
wrestle power from All Progressive Congress (APC) to get the mantle of
power not only in Zamfara central but in Zamfara as a whole.

Series of plots have started gaining ground with different schools of
thoughts to ensure that the PDP forms government after 2015 election.
Former Governor Shinkafi, Hon. Bello Muhammed Matawalle, Engineer
Ibrahim Shehu Gusau and Dr. Malami Yandoto are in the front line of
change to remove Governor Yari and Senator Ahmad Sani Yarima as the
back bones of APC permanently, saying that Zamfara people deserve a
good and selfless leadership and not a government of waste, without
focus and direction.

Dr. Malami Aliyu Yandoto was the most unexpected contestant for deputy
to Shinkafi, the PDP governorship candidate because he had already won
the Zamfara central senatorial ticket on the platform of PDP on
consensus. But internal swaving brought Dr. Malami as the deputy while
he relinquished the senatorial ticket to Engineer Ibrahim Shehu Gusau
who lost the PDP governorship primaries to Shinkafi, backed by several
forces, analysts foresee the success of PDP in 2015 elections. The
analysts contend that their views are very frank, convincing and
explosive, adding that in the art of governance APC led government in
the state has left many things undone, questions unanswered. These
they said have no doubt corroborated the impression that APC has
failed woefully and need no further trial.
Political pundits seem to accept the insinuation that Zamfara people
have more trust in PDP than APC owing to the fact that APC government
in the state has failed to deliver the expected democratic dividends
to the people. It is against this background that a change is not only
necessary but compulsory. There is no smoke without fire. As far as
Dr. Malami Aliyu Yandoto and Ibrahim Shehu Gusau concerned, joining
forces with others to wrestle power from APC would be to their
advantages.

The treacherous plan that brought Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari to power in
2011 is enough for the PDP to prepare for the unknown even tough every
body is very much aware of Senator Mafara’s potential and political
capacities in Zamfara central political stratification. It is
therefore very imperative for the PDP leadership to resolve their
differences and work together for the growth of the party in the state
as the masses have started revolting against the APC led government.
Recent political development has exposed the inability and weakness of
APC led government which Zamfara now needs a divine intervention.

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