Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulhaziz Yari, is serving the last five months of his tenure. Due to internal crisis within his party – the All Progressives Congress (APC) – it will not be fielding a governorship candidate for the 2019 elections. And now, Yari suddenly wants a state of emergency to be declared in his state over the rising insecurity.
Backstory: Yari in a press briefing addressing newsmen in Gusau, the state capital, after returning from Saudi Arabia where he went to perform the lesser hajj, said he supports a declaration of a state of emergency on the state. While he was away there was yet another round of killings in Tsafe town which led to protests by hundreds of youths.
“I am also in support of the declaration of a state of emergency if it will save the lives of the people of the state,” the governor said.
Yari blamed the insecurity issues on informants who, he explained, were people within the community feeding information to these bandits which in turn attacked and kidnapped residents.
“It is sad to know that some of the people involved in the kidnappings are close relatives or associates of the victims, which is part of the reasons the problem is persisting. We must all come together and expose anyone or group that is part of these hoodlums, we should also pray for Allah’s intervention,” the governor said.
He said that both the Zamfara and Federal Governments were doing their best best to end the troubling situation.
“Before Buhari’s administration, we had few security personnel in this state, but today we have about 4,000 security personnel including Army, Police and Civil Defense,” he said.
He warned politicians against milking the current situation in the state for their own benefit by politicizing the disturbing security situation.
Why it matters: Even though the governor is advising against politicising the insecurity in the state, his comments raise several questions. How is it that he is only just recommending a state of emergency so close to the end of his tenure when the situation has persisted for so long? And if indeed the state and FG have done their best, what is the guarantee that a state of emergency would solve the problem?
The worst part is the governor’s hypocrisy. This is the same governor who threatened a committee sent by his party to conduct the guber primaries in his state simply because they cancelled the primaries as a result of the harassment, intimidation of voters and snatching of electoral materials by thugs “sponsored by politicians”. In response to the cancellation, here is what the governor said, “I am warning members of that committee that they should never come to Zamfara, they should never put their legs in this state, and anything that happens to them, Adams Oshiomhole should be held responsible.”
Yet he is blaming “informants” for the violence in his state.
One Theory: Former Ekiti governor, Ayo Fayose, has a theory on why there are suddenly calls for a state of emergency in Zamfara. “This is their response to insistence of INEC not to allow APC field candidates for the 2019 general elections in the state. With the emergency rule, there will only be Presidential and National Assembly elections in Zamfara in February next year while governorship and state House of Assembly elections will be postponed till May,” he tweeted.