By Nasir Abdulkadir
I saw how the media foot soldiers of incumbent Zamfara Governor tried desperately to undermine the political goodwill of Defence Minister, Brigadier-General Mansur Dan-Ali, who is now the new face of hope in the politics of the State. After reading the full-page advertorial containing vicious media attack against the Minister in Leadership newspaper edition of Tuesday, 18th September page 11, it was easy to detect from the venom spit by one Abdullahi Aminu Gusau, that he was hired to pull down Dan-Ali.
It was very clear from the write-up that Abdullahi Aminu Gusau was either a faceless man or a pseudonym used as a decoy in dirty media propaganda, designed to achieve a hidden political agenda. The writer pretended to be assessing the G-7 group leaders in comparison to his paymaster, the incumbent Zamfara Governor. In the introductory part of the venomous write-up, the faceless writer declared that any candidate for any political office in the country must satisfy the conditions laid down by the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act. I was hoping he would use the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act to justify why the seven Zamfara State governorship aspirants could be disqualified. But he didn’t do that. Over the next few paragraphs he, instead, devoted all his energy in trying to justify an obnoxious political “tradition” in Zamfara’s past history. He declared that “party elders” and “government officials” were the ones deciding who would contest what political position. As I read through to the very end of the write-up, I noticed how the writer conveniently ignored the provisions of the Electoral Act and the nation’s constitution and based all his analysis on Zamfara “elders” power to distribute elective offices among their anointed candidates. The other name for this fraudulent democratic culture is imposition of candidates on innocent Zamfara voters because constitutionally “elders” have no place in the electoral process of our nation. In any way let the Governor Yari be bold enough to tell the world who are the ‘’elders’’ and “government officials” he consulted before coming out with his list.
The writer ended up attacking the personality of all the seven Zamfara game-changers, including Defence Minister Dan-Ali. I was taken aback to see someone who claimed to be assessing the democratic credentials of candidates, now reducing the exercise to condemnation of the personalities, especially the Defence Minister. It was a very cheap way of de-campaigning the governor’s rivals, who are ready to make the needed sacrifice to rescue Zamfara from the pangs of hunger, rampaging poverty and alarming levels of insecurity.
For Dan-Ali, his efforts to save his State from notoriety for kidnapping and killings and attacks on villages under the watch of Governor Yari, is so glaring. It was Dan-Ali who ensured that President Buhari visited Zamfara at the thick of killings and arson in villages of the State. The President was evidently advised by the Defence Minister to approve the massive military operation that has now reduced drastically, the incidences of attacks on villagers.
Nigerians have not forgotten that the effort of Dan-Ali to engineer a prompt presidential approval for military action in Zamfara, happened at a time Governor Abdul Aziz Yari had forfeited his position as “Chief Security Officer” of the State. It happened when the Governor admitted in a live broadcast that he was unable to tackle the insecurity in the State and his inability to direct security agents to do the needful. Shortly after this embarrassing scenario, Dan-Ali worked out a quick-fix solution, inviting presidential intervention, which is still yielding amazing results today.
It follows logically therefore, that the media propaganda by the faceless Abdullahi Aminu Gusau was entirely misplaced, given the positive impact of the moves by Defence Minister Dan-Ali in reducing the banditry and sacking of rural communities of Zamfara. It is a well-known fact that Mansur Dan-Ali used his good office to impact positively on the security architecture in the state through the upgrading of the military facility in Gusau to a full-fledged Brigade with four battalions as against the only 1 base ordinance depot (which is not a fighting unit). Similarly he also established Nigerian Air force Quick Response Squad in Gusau to deal with the banditry. Mansur Dan-Ali also awarded the contac for the construction of Gusau Barracks to accommodate soldiers who were hitherto in rented quarters since a unit was established in Gusau after the civil war. This is in addition to the 8 Division created in Sokoto to cater for security needs of Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina and Zamfara states. In the area of educational development the Defence Minister has also established two special command secondary schools for boys and girls in Talata-Mafara and Gusau respectively. In addition General Dan-Ali also established Defence Health Management Limited Zonal office in Gusau to cater for the medical needs of serving and retired military personnel in the state and the host communities. Within the period he assumed office as the Honourable Minister of Defence Mansur Dan-Ali has organised 3 medical outreaches in Gusau to assist the less privileged citizens who could not afford medical treatment.
Significantly, Zamfara is today the worse example of underdevelopment not only in Northern Nigeria but the country as a whole. With collapsing educational standards, poor infrastructure; disturbing revelations about civil service welfare; rampant death of small-scale businesses; worsening healthcare delivery services and general frustration among the innocent voters of Zamfara, it should not be difficult to see how much damage mis-governance has done to the State in the last three years.
The kernel of the issue is that while Zamfara has been sinking with each passing day due to clueless leadership, it is not too late for the illustrious sons of the State to arrest the multi-faceted decay. And no amount of reckless personality attack in the media would stop Mansur Dan-Ali from taking the center-stage in rescuing Zamfara. The people of Zamfara have given tons of testimonials about the capacity of Dan-Ali to effectively play the role of their messiah for 2019. Rather than the pedestrian, infantile arguments by faceless foot-soldiers on the pages of newspapers, Governor Abdul’Aziz Yari should brace up for the hottest electoral battle for Zamfara governorship in 2019, with formidable aspirants like Mansur Dan-Ali. For now, we can only wish the incumbent governor best of luck, as very popular candidates like Dan-Ali throw their hats into the ring.
Abdulkadir, a member of Arewa Online Media Network wrote from Kaduna and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org