Editor's note: Sulaiman Ahmad, a public commentator from Gada Biyu, Gusau, the Zamfara capital, in this piece, argues that Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa is the right person to lead the northwest state due to what he described as the bad leadership it is currently witnessing.
If you are to ask any well-informed Nigerian to mention the three most troubled and underdeveloped states in Nigeria, Zamfara would very likely top the list. This is despite the fact that Zamfara is endowed with abundant and unharnessed human and natural resources capable enough to transform the state into an enchantingly beautiful subnational.
But as the wise men said:
“The real value and beauty of a raw gold will remain hidden and untapped without a goldsmith.”
This “goldsmith” is what Zamfara state is currently lacking to prosper.
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Many Zamfara citizens have/or are about to give up that Zamfara’s multidimensional problems mainly caused by poor leadership are beyond repairs. But I believe, with capable and responsible hands spearheading the affairs of the state, our challenges are not insurmountable. No state would develop beyond the quality of her leadership.
Looking closely – with much alacrity – at the credibility of the people aspiring for the position of the executive governor of Zamfara state and situations at hand, I found Senator Kabir Garba Marafa as the right person capable of rescuing Zamfara from her woes. Zamfara state needs someone with proven integrity and honesty; focus and determination; knowledge, experience, and patriotism to judiciously and efficiently manage her affairs. With the likes of Senator Marafa who was tested and never found wanting or lacking, all hope about prosperous Zamfara is not lost.
The immense contributions of Senator Marafa towards the development of Zamfara state in his capacity as commissioner in Zamfara state, Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and as a private citizen could not be overemphasized. I cannot keep the count of the number of times Senator Marafa stood like a lion in the forest roaring on the floor of the Senate about the devastating security challenges bedeviling Zamfara state seeking help and proper attention from the federal government as if he was the only Senator from the state. Most of his legislative commitments are geared towards finding lasting solutions to our security challenges. This is a clear manifestation of what Senator Marafa always prioritize – the security of lives, property, and well-being of the people which are the most aching issue in Zamfara today.
In 2019 while the red chamber was considering the 2019 budget, Senator Marafa deployed a bipartisan mechanism and ran helter-skelter to the extent of convincing majority of his distinguished colleagues to approve N10 billion as special intervention funds for rebuilding Zamfara state which they graciously obliged.
The funds according to Senator Marafa:
“Will help in resettling the IDPs and other persons affected by the activities of armed banditry, to cater for their wellbeing, provision of water, shelter, basic education, basic welfare (especially for wounded, children, and rape victims) and others.”
To ensure the suitability of the intervention, Senator Marafa ensured that the Senate acted on his motion and passed a resolution for President Muhammadu Buhari to establish a Presidential Initiative on Zamfara state (PIZAMS) for an initial period of ten (10) years and also urged the incoming senators from Zamfara to “maintain the tempo” to ensure that funds are appropriated annually to sustain the initiative. Unfortunately, those senators and Zamfara state government led by the incumbent governor, Bello Matawalle have shown very unimpressive commitments towards the actualization and sustainability of PIZAMS. As of today, our senators from Zamfara and the state government failed to follow up and lobby for the release of such funds despite the fact that the governor along with almost all federal and state lawmakers from Zamfara have been smuggled into the ruling APC.
The generosity and kindness of Senator Marafa is exemplary. Only recently, he spent about N70 million in the purchase of food items for distribution to the less privileged as a humanitarian intervention to provide succor to Zamfara citizens who are also affected by the flawed security measures that affected their livelihoods. This intervention could not come at a better time. This is just one of the many humanitarian, education, and health interventions he had been silently rendering to the people of Zamfara without the camera rolling.
Senator Marafa's unmatched popularity in Zamfara state would not be unconnected with his truthful nature and his doggedness to always adhere to the rule of law and due process in his professional and political career. It will also not be unconnected with his humility and democratic principles of due consultation in decision-making in order to carry everybody along – young and old, men and women, reach or poor. He treats everybody fairly believing that the only capital for a politician is his teeming supporters and that is why he never takes their divergent interests for granted.
These unique qualities and popularity of Senator Marafa are giving his political rivals sleepless nights. Their traumatic situation worsened after his reconciliation with the former governor of Zamfara state, Hon Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar after addressing the internal issues that kept them apart in the build-up to the 2019 general elections. This reconciliation has now produced a very formidable team of competent patriotic bigwigs capable and ready to salvage Zamfara state from the hands of those opportunists in the state that has neither focus nor clear direction.
As the election year 2023 is fast approaching, Zamfara people are very eager to support the rescue mission for a better Zamfara. My sincere view is that all hope is not lost with a personality like Senator Marafa; new Zamfara is very possible. Just waiting for time!
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