Three days after the Zamfara governor, Abdulaziz Yari, backed a call for a state of emergency in his state, his deputy, Ibrahim Wakkala, has accused him of sidelining him in the running of the state.
Back story: Speaking to newsmen in the state capital of Gusau on Sunday, Wakkala said not only has he been sidelined from the government’s activities, but funding to his office has been cut off by the governor.
“For months now, several of the legal funding that are supposed to be made to my office have been stopped and I have been completely sidelined by the state government,” he said.
Reason: In Wakkala’s opinion, his ordeal is as a result of his declaration to run for governor some months ago in the APC.
“If my crime is my declaration, then what about my supporting staff made up of casual staff, feeding of security personnel, fueling and servicing of vehicles attached to my office, what have they done to have their allowances stopped?” he said. “I know that nothing stops me as a citizen from contesting for any elective position, so I want those concerned and responsible for the implementation and interpretation of the constitutional provisions that accorded me rights and privileges to explain to me why I am being treated this way.”
The speaker as deputy: Eyebrows were raised when Yari who was leaving the state recently, handed over the reins to the speaker of the state house of assembly, Sanusi Garba Rikiji, instead of the deputy governor who was available. The speaker has also joined Gov. Yari in some recent state activities, with the deputy no where to be found.
Wakkala said he was not even aware that the governor was travelling until he heard about the handover to the speaker via the media, and also when the state Commissioner of Information made it known that he was being sidelined because he belonged to the G8 group.
Yari’s response: The state governor while addressing his deputy’s claim, stated that “my main concern in the state now is how to tackle the security situation and see our people living without any threat to their lives, businesses or property. We can only discuss this issue when we begin to talk politics.”
The governorship race: If the deputy governor is being punished for his interest in the governor’s office, then right now neither he nor his boss would be smiling. That’s because the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has ruled that the APC did not meet its submission deadline, and so would have no candidate in the governorship election.
Rising Insecurity in Zamfara: This political drama is occurring at a time when the state is experiencing a high rate of insecurity.
Killings have been on the rise in the state with 17 confirmed dead in an attack on Magami Village, Faru District of Maradun Local Government Area of the state on the 22nd of December, and a recent attack on Saturday in Doburu, Zumi Local Government Area which left several soldiers injured with an unspecified amount of casualties.
Bottom line: Both Yari and Wakkala are birds of the same feather. Only special interest is tearing them apart now. They have jointly presided over the state’s affairs with unprecedented incompetence in the past eight years. The state is consistently in the bottom rung of most development indices. Yari, in particular, is quick to use religion as a foil for his failings like when he attributed a meningitis outbreak in the state to God’s punishment for fornication.