Days keep fizzling away towards the exit of His Excellency, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari as governor of Zamfara State. In just few months from now, his eight year tenure will be part of history. This part of history must in any case form a necessary component of the entire accounts of social and economic changes of the state as a geopolitical entity.
Governor Abdulaziz Yari’s administration is, perhaps, one that is most controversial, most castigated, most insulted and object of blame, simply because the administration chooses to adopt a leadership policy that will in the end, upgrade the socio-economic status of the state and place it on proper path of development. This is often the prize of leadership. It now appears fashionable that a leader who is morally willing to rescue his people from imminent economic difficulty, is in most cases the one most castigated and insulted.
The economic liberation, leadership policy adopted by the governor has apparently turned out to be ‘a Big Sin’ in the eyes of some elements whose sense of fair judgement is thickly beclouded by selfish interest and greed.
When Governor Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari assumed office in 2011, the general expectation was that it would be business as usual; the governor would maintain the status-quo. money from government coffers would carelessly be dished out for lavish spendings mindless of the deterioting and ever worsening economic profile of the state.
Little did it come to the awareness of the larger section of the citizens that Zamfara was facing imminent risk of remaining the most economically and educationally backward state among other sister states of the federation. To avoid this calamity, there was need for urgent, “radical change of attitude” closely guided by prudent management.
But then, there were many daring challenges the governor had to contend with. While the people generally misunderstood or deliberately refuse to appreciate the need for collective sacrifice that would add value and motivate the economy for the good of present and future generations, the governor ‘stubbonly’, as some antagonists view him to be, maintain a firm stand to rescue the state from imminent economic doom. And this, regrettably amounts to be his ‘Big Sin’.
One would probably adduce that on inception, the major worries of the governor were the complete absence of rural roads in all parts of the state, poor health facilities and decaying educational structures at both primary and secondary schools levels. Absence or very poor rural access roads was noted as part of major deterrents against effective security surveillance and detailed patrol by security personnel in the remote parts of the state. Thus rendering the areas socially, politically and economically less advantage.
Under this difficult circumstance, further compounded by a backlog of inherited dept liability, the governor had to also contend with another dilemma. The money coming as federal allocation was, on the surface, considering the manageable population size of the state, satisfactorily enough to shoulder the burden of expenditure and have surplus to add value to the capital development.
But the governor was soon to realise that a huge part of his statuary allocation was stealthily being lost to large number of ghost workers and other dubious ways of engaging large number of sit-at-home workers whose names appear on monthly payrolls as salary earners. Others have the money through undue contracts or political gatherings and associations.
Under the circumstance, Governor Abdul -Aziz Yari was faced with two options. He either had to take the bitter, bold choice of using relevant machineries to instil sanity in the public treasury and rid it of such carnivals, or fold his arms at the expense of the desperately needed economic, social and infrastructural development of the state.
His desire to upgrade the overall economic and social status of Zamfara compelled him to take the bitter option. He wasted no time in setting up relevant mechinaries in motion to screen the workforce. In the process, hundreds of ghost workers were exposed. Shocking discoveries were also made in which powerful politicians, top civil servants and other socially well placed persons have unjustifiably registered their wives, sons, relations, friends, political associates, on salary bills when they don’t even report to any public office. Paid abandoned contracts were forced to resumed. These also became one of the ‘Big Sins’ of governor Abdulaziz Yari.
The screening exercise to weed out false workers from salary bills saved a reasonable amount of fund for government to commit into the needed infrastructural development. Ironically, this is what many civil servants viewed as a threat to the state civil service, accusing the governor of sacking innocent workers and depriving them of livelihood.
Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari has of recent suffered series of media attack from some antagonists, and regrettably from a politically highly place personality, Senator Kabiru Marafa and Senator Sa’idu Dansadau, unfortunately joined the ignorant bandwagon in pointing accusing figures against the governor with shallow criticism and blinded arguments. But time has brought us to a time when their pure motive was seeing to be next governors.
There are numerous physical evidences as proven testimonies that the leadership contribution of Governor Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari has tremendously raised the social and economic profile of the state.
His administration has greatly transformed and upgraded the social and economic status of hundreds of rural communities across the 14 local government areas of the state. It is on record that the state government under the leadership of Governor Abdulaziz Yari, has so far constructed hundreds kilometer roads, comprising of both state and federal roads, in addition to the construction of at least 20 kilometers urban roads in each of the 14 local government headquarters to further motivate rural economy, enhance security and discourage rural-urban migration.
In the area of water supply, each of the 14 local governments has benefitted with six solar motorised boreholes fitted with over head tank with a capacity of holding volume of water ranging between 450,000 to 1.5m million litres, designed with a reticulation capacity of pumping water within three kilometer radius.
The governor has also improved the health services facilities with renovations and upgrading of many health centers to the status of general hospitals while others have become a referral centres.
These developments were unprecedented in the history of Zamfara State, particularly the mass provision of rural link roads which motivates rural economy, enhanced security, accessibility and reduction in rural-urban migration.
Will history vindicate Governor Abdulaziz Yari, or will it crusify him? This is left for fair judgement to decide.
– Gusau is a public affairs analyst
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