By: Engr (Dr.) Abdullahi A.Tsafe
•Since the emergence of Nigeria as a sovereign independent entity in 1960, many leaders have come and gone, with each of them contributing his/her best to the development of the Nigerian nation within his capability. Those leaders came from religious, ethnic, business, military, educational and political backgrounds. While history has been fair to some of them by writing their names in gold to be remembered with nostalgia till the end of time due to their positive impact on the lives of their people, others have their names and images taunted for lack of any meaningful contributions to the development of the extractions they led. One interesting thing to note is that quality leadership is a trait inherent in a leader which he subconsciously possesses, but apparently manifests in the positive development that he is able to bring to his people. Academic qualifications, physical structure and affluent background, among others, are merely additives to the quality of good leadership. Suffice it therefore to say that good leaders are born and not made.
•Against the foregoing background, this write-up will be dedicated to extolling the leadership qualities of His Excellency, Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar, who was born on 28th September, 1968, in Talata Mafara town, Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State. Having come from a modest Muslim family, the young Abdul-Aziz started his educational pursuit by acquiring basic Islamic education at tender age. In order to be attuned to modernity, he was further enrolled into Township Primary School, Talata Mafara, for his Primary School Education. That training impacted positively on his life by exposing him to the rudiments of both Islamic and western education. Thus, he became morally upright and ideologically strengthened. Thereafter, Yari obtained other academic qualifications ranging from secondary school certificate, National Diploma, Higher National Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma.
•The leadership qualities of Abdul-Aziz began to manifest at his younger age when he was a mere holder of Grade II Certificate and started working as a Classroom Teacher under the Talata Mafara Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) between 1987 and 1991. At the return from military rule to civilian administration in 1999, Abdul-Aziz Abubakar Yari disengaged his teaching career and joined politics. He held the position of Secretary, Zamfara State Chapter of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). He remained in that capacity up to 2003, when he became the Chairman, Zamfara State Chapter of the Party, through to 2007. Due to his political clout, acumen and followership, Yari doubled as the Chairman of Ahmad Sani (Yariman Bakura) 2003 Gubernatorial Campaign Coordinating Committee. That election was won with a resounding victory. He was also appointed as the Chairman, Governing Council of Abdu Gusau Polytechnic, Talata Mafara, where he held that position from 2004 to 2007. In addition to that, Abdul-Aziz yari served as the National Financial Secretary of the ANPP in 2007 from where he contested and won election as Honourable Member of the House of Representatives, representing Anka/Talata Mafara Federal Constituency. He held that position through to 2011.
•In 2011 General Elections, Abdul-Aziz Abubakar Yari was fielded by the ANPP as its gubernatorial candidate for Zamfara State to compete with the then Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s sitting Governor, Alh. Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi (Dallatun Zamfara). The State witnessed the hottest electioneering campaign ever in its history. However, by the special grace of Almighty Allah (SWT), he swept and won the election in a landslide victory.
Having exhibited good sense of wisdom, foresight, courage and political will in executing people-oriented policies and programmes in the State, despite all the prevailing socio-economic, security as well as political challenges in the State and country at large, Governor Yari re-contested for the 2nd tenure in Office, where he gallantly won the election by a whopping 716,964 votes against same contender of 2011 who scored 201,938 votes. To crown up this feat, Governor Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar was unanimously adopted as the Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) where he attends to not only the primary problems of his dear State, but also those of other thirty-five (35) States of the Federation.
•Abdul-Aziz Yari was falsely and maliciously accused by his detractors, for political reasons, of being insensitive to the lingering security challenges in Zamfara State. However, his unequalled efforts in this regard, as the Executive Governor of Zamfara State, include but not limited to:
- Provision of the necessary logistical support to the State Commands of Conventional Security Agencies as well as the State Chapters of Non-Conventional Security Organizations through periodic provision of brand new operational and utility vehicles as well as repairs of existing ones. From 2011 to 2015, over 427 brand new Toyota Hilux were procured and allocated to the State Commands of various Security Agencies;
- Provision of Office Accommodations used by all the Conventional and Non-Conventional Security Organizations in Zamfara State by the Governor Yari’s Administration. This was in addition to the residential accommodations used by the State Heads of these Agencies;
- The Nigerian Senate had deployed some of its members, in 2017, to Zamfara State on oversight function to investigate the spate of insecurity in the State and the efforts being made by the State Government to arrest the situation. The Senators were received by a Committee appointed by Governor Yari, under the chairmanship of the then Rt. Hon. Speaker, Zamfara State House of Assembly, Alh. Sanusi Garba Rikiji (Dan-Iyan Maradun), where the then Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Abdullahi Muh’d Shinkafi, was a member. Voluminous documents were produced on the subject matter and the State Government substantially facilitated the exercise;
- In addition to Zamfara State’s local security arrangements, a coordinated approach to security operation was entered into by Governor Yari-led Administration, in 2014, and the Governments of the neighbouring sister States of Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina, Niger and Kaduna under the chairmanship of His Excellency, Mal. Nasiru Ahmad El-Rufa’i, with a view to combating the prevailing cross-border armed banditry bedevilling the States. At the inception, Zamfara State Government made financial contributions to support the Joint Operation Squad. Soon after, the Frontline States’ Security Forum requested the participating States to make monthly contributions to support the special operation tagged “Operation Sharan Daji”. By the special grace of Almighty Allah (SWT), this initiative has yielded fruitful results that were severally and widely publicized in print and electronic media;
- Abdul-Aziz Yari maintained the record of supporting Joint Vigilante Committee (JVC) Operatives who complement the efforts of the Officers and Men of the Conventional Security Agencies. The Operatives are drawn from the 14 LGAs in the State, because Security Administration and Management should be a joint venture between the State Government and the 14 LGAs. The JVC is made up of the following groups: Nigeria Legion, Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria (ARPON), Retired DSS Officers Association, Vigilante Group of Nigeria, Red Crescent, Boys Scout of Nigeria, Local Hunters, and Man O’ War Bay Club;
- In November 2018, Governor Yari approved the engagement of 8,500 youths as members of Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) to join conventional security agents in combating crimes. The JTF members were drawn from all the 17 emirates of the State who were planned to receive paramilitary training in order to equip them with the skills of fighting crime. This was in addition to 850 motorcycles allocated to each emirate council under the custody of the Emirs for the operation of the JTF. In the same vein, operational vehicles (Toyota Hilux) were distributed to the state commands of security agencies to support their counterterrorism campaigns. A total of 457 vehicles were provided in 2011; 2,250 in 2012; 77 in 2014 and 50 each in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
•In spite of the spate of armed banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping of innocent citizens by the criminal elements in Zamfara State when he was the Governor, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar was able to mitigate the menace of infrastructural deficit in the State by constructing Township Roads in all the 14 Local Government Areas in the State; Industrial large well Boreholes, Primary Healthcare Centres and Blocks of Primary Schools across the 147 Wads in the State; and Rural Electrification Projects across the State, by the Yari-led Administration from 2011 to the end of his tenure, including construction of a good number of Federal Roads in Zamfara State.
•The infrastructural turnaround brought by Yari still remains an indelible edifice in Zamfara State for anyone who cares to investigate.
•In terms of national politics, Yari has played an enviable role in the 2015 Presidential Elections victory, which saw the election of His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari as President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Indeed, the success story of the APC in the 2019 elections which saw the re-election of His Excellency, Muhammad Buhari, GCFR. for the second term office as President will be incomplete without mention of the role he played.
•Indeed, it will not be a misnomer to refer to His Excellency Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar as one of the greatest political icons of our contemporary Nigeria, given his antecedent leadership achievements, which is hoped to be sustained to even greater heights if he is assigned to handle future national assignments of consolidating the gains achieved by our great party, the APC, in managing and piloting the nation’s affairs under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. This is particularly in view of Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar’s doggedness in fighting wars for which he has great conviction.
•He is a reliable, trustworthy and dependable individual that is always ready to come to the assistance of the needy without any form of discrimination. Those who had the privilege of dealing with him will attest to the fact that he is a man with zero tolerance to gossips, idle talks or character assassination of friends, subordinates or even political opponents. He is a straight forward person, unassuming and courteous to the core. Above all, the Shattiman Zamfara is an exemplary character.