By: Alkali Dan Tsoho
The purported ambition of Senator Ahmad Rufai Sani to vie for the No. 1 position in Nigeria has pitched him against some political gladiators in Zamfara State and other regions. His first baptism was the glitch to revalidate his APC membership in the ongoing nationwide revalidation exercise embarked upon by the party.
As the first civilian governor and Number One Citizen of Zamfara State, political analysts did not predict what looked as the voodoo to truncate his ambition. Foreseeing the game, the ace politician lamented over the alleged ploy to ruin his presidential ambition using the on-going revalidation and registration exercise of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in his state, as a tool.
However, Sani’s initial efforts to be revalidated, failed due to accusations of anti-party activities leveled against him by his detractors. Ahmad Sani popularly known to supporters and followers as Yariman Bakura deployed lateral thinking to outsmart his perceived political foes.
Yarima’s political ally, Junaidu Dosara, had acknowledged that when the registration materials arrived at the state capital, some people hijacked the materials meant for the polling unit of the former governor in Bakura, allegedly by those nursing grudges against him. Before now, Sani had stayed in Zamfara State for several days waiting to receive the committee assigned by the national leadership of APC under the chairmanship of Alhaji Karetu Lawal.
Later, Alhaji Muttaka Rini revalidated him at the Nigeria Army Command Guest House, Gusau, Zamfara State far removed from his polling unit or ward in Bakura Local Government Area. He, therefore, thanked the governors of Kebbi, Niger, Jigawa and Kano as well as the national caretaker chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni, for their amicable intervention to ensure that justice came his way.
The struggle to frustrate his membership revalidation stems from perceived clash of interest by those he brought up politically. Recall that among the 1999-2007 set of Governors at the return to civil, he was the only one who wilfully campaigned for his deputy of eight years to succeed him. At the time leading to the primaries in 2006, Abdullaziz Yari was his State Chairman in ANPP at his behest, but secretly had nursed ambition to be governor even though the outgoing Governor was from his senatorial district.
The choice of Maimuda Shinkafi did not go down well with Abdullaziz Yari who turned down a proposition for him to become running mate. He opted to go to the Federal House of Representatives since the Senate ticket was for the grab of the outgoing governor, Yariman Bakura.
Following the change of party platform by Shinkafi who jumped ship into the then Federal Government-controlled PDP, it was plausible to draft Abdullaziz Yari to rebuild the ANPP remnants with a view to taking over power in the state from Shinkafi. Thus at the 2011 governorship election, Abdullaziz supported by Yariman easily defeated an incumbent Governor Shinkafi.
Despite the seeming poor communication between Yari and Yariman in the running of government affairs, Yariman chose to support him for a second term as a mark of benevolence to deepen democracy expecting that his intern would reciprocate and show more transparency and accountability in governance. Thus, it was Senator Ahmad Sani who worked tirelessly to secure a second term for Governor Yari during the 2015 election.
The exit of the 2007-2015 set of governors paved way for his emergence as Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF). His image became larger than life and hardly remained at home for governance. The perception that as a former State party chairman he would organise the home-front was misplaced. His desire to be one and all ruined the party in the state. He wanted to go to Senate and still singlehandedly produce a successor.
The aloofness of Yariman to this wild goose chase may have angered him. Yariman had chosen a backseat as he had midway into the second term of Yari notified him of his intention not to seek a fourth term to the Senate, but offered to support Governor Yari if he wanted to be a Senator. The failure to make concession to others cost Abdullaziz Yari the opportunity to sit like his peers- former Governors- in the hallowed Red Chambers of the National Assembly having previously served in the green chamber.
The crisis that his recalcitrant tendencies brought upon the party led to a total loss of power for APC Zamfara State. His new quest is to aspire for the office of National Chairman of APC and sees the Presidential/Vice Presidential ambition of His Excellency, Senator Ahmad Rufai Sani as a personal threat to his political relevance.
The recent perceived reconciliation within the APC Zamfara between Abubakar Yari faction and Senator Marafa faction can be likened to what is written in the Holy Bible. Luke 23:12 states, And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.
The outcome from the appeal to the party leadership and leaders of Progressive Governors Forum seems to bear semblance with Luke 23:13-14, saying, Then Pilate… v14 said to them, You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him.
Indeed, Yariman Bakura is a known grassroots mobilizer. His meteoric rise to national limelight with massive followership from a humble civil service beginning speaks of his character and personal disposition to human relationships. From 2003 till date, he has helped stabilize national governments in Nigeria, little wonder why he is a target of the reactionaries. His current effort as a brand to drive followership across the country under the platform of Yariman Support Organization (YSO) is indeed an asset to the APC.
Yarima is one of several politicians in the North to express interest in running for president in 2023, and seems to have intensified efforts to actualize his dream. In fact, he recently said he is targeting more than 40 million votes in the 2023 presidential election.
Speaking with Daily Trust on why he wants to become president despite the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, being from the North-West, he replied, “I don’t believe in regionalism, saying that this man is from this side or that. Let’s have the best people who have much more better things to offer to Nigerians.
“Everybody should come up with what they want to do for Nigerians and how they want to move Nigeria forward. The contributions you want to make and such a person should be assessed by Nigerians whether he or she should be elected or not.
“If we are looking at regions, North-West has done, let’s go to South-South; which means anybody whether he is good or not but once determined by that zone should be elected.
“If it is not determined by constitutional arrangement, every Nigerian should aspire to be in elective position of government.”
On insinuations that President Buhari signed a pact with the National Leader of the Party (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to hand over to him in 2023, the former Zamfara State Governor said Buhari and Tinubu are free to make deals and even sign it with pens made of gold, but that does not mean they own the country.
He said, “I don’t think Nigeria belongs to any of them and I don’t think anyone in any position can determine what Nigeria should have.
Politics is about election – for people to decide what they want. So it is the majority of the people that will determine who they want.
“If he signed an agreement with Asiwaju, that agreement cannot be implemented even in getting the ticket. It cannot guarantee Asiwaju a ticket.”
A determined Yarima is wary of potential enemies to the throne, and sees the revalidation exercise as a potential threat. But Yariman who is a firm believer that power belongs to God Almighty and He gives it to whomsoever He pleases is marching on and expecting only God who controls the hearts of men to crown his efforts. His detractors will certainly fail in their falsehood.