By Ibrahim Badamasi
Since its creation in 1996, by the late Sani Abacha administration, Zamfara, which pride itself as state of farming and Sharia has metamorphosed into reckoning following its modest development, but certainly, yet to reach its full potential.
Successive administrations, particularly the pioneer military governor, Col. Jubril Bala Yakubu (rtd) laid the template of modern Zamfara and dissipated energy and resources for the full take off of the young state.
The mantle of leadership fell on Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima, the first civilian governor of the state from Zamfara west zone, and drafted Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi as his deputy, who incidentally came from the northern extraction of the state, Shinkafi town to be specific.
It is no longer news, that Shinkafi succeeded Yarima in 2007, but an attempt by Shinkafi to seek re-election in 2011 was unsuccessful. The details of how he lost to Abdulaziz Yari would be unveiled in future.
Little wonder, and considering the agrarian nature of the state, Yarima did not waste time as he hit the ground running with various human capacity develop programmes as a catalyst for growth.
Few examples will suffice; Zamfara Agency for Poverty Alleviation (ZAPA), Zamfara Comprehensive Agricultural Revolution Programme (ZACAREP), Zamfara State Integrated Development Programme (ZASIDEP) among others.
Indeed, it is to the credit of Yarima administration, the massive welfare programmes aimed at bringing succour to the citizenry, which according to watchers of Zamfara politics, no administration has surpassed.
However what brought the state to global attention was the re-introduction of Sharia legal system launched on 27th October, 1999 at the Ali Akilu square in Gusau.
The late former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela of blessed memory postulated “we could be trusted, we could be saint, we could be regarded as hero, but whoever thinks he has monopoly of wisdom, would create more problems that he could solve”.
Perhaps aware of the Mandela’s hypothesis, Yariman Bakura as he was fondly called constituted various committees and saddled them with terms of reference for the accomplishment of his blue print for the new state.
Meanwhile, I will stop at this juncture after highlighting just few of the gains of the pioneer administration, vis-a-vis the take-off of Zamfara State at inception and shift focus to the 2023 gubernatorial election.
It is not the intention of the author to x-ray the performance of successive governors after Yarima’s administration, but rather I will delve on the geography of the state and the zones that had produced the state chief executives after Yarima and the ‘silent’ agitation of the zone which had never tasted power since its creation.
Curiously, Zamfara for administrative convenience is stratified into, West, Central and North. While the West and northern zone had in the past produced the state chief executives, namely, His Excellency Yariman Bakura (west), his Excellency, Mahmoud Aliyu Shinkafi (north), his Excellency Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar (west), his Excellency, Bello Matawalle (west), sadly, the central zone attempt at clinching the governorship has suffered setback.
Cumulatively, the western zone, comprising of Bakura, Talata Mafara, Maradun, Anka, Bukkuyum and Gumi, at the end of the tenure of Governor Bello Matawalle in 2023 would have held power for 20 years.
Yarima served two terms of 8 years, Yari two terms of 8 years and Matawalle would have made it 20 years at the end of 2023.
In the recent past, it is on record that efforts by the central zone to clinch the seat, personified by Muktar Shehu Idris (Koguna) was marred by political complexities, the rest is history. It is against this background that stakeholders are stunned that the central zone where the voting population of the state is domicile is yet to have a taste of power since its creation.
Expectedly, the emergence of Dr. Dauda Lawal Dare, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may be preparatory to fill the lacuna in 2023, since nature they say abhor vacuum.
Today, Dauda Dare has rekindled the hope of the teeming population of Zamfara Central zone ahead of the 2023 polls.
Investigation revealed that the women folk, youths and indeed the entire population that make up the Zamfara central zone and by extension, the north and Western zone are elated that a messiah has finally landed to emancipate the Zamfarawas, as the people of the state are known historically from time immemorial.
Dauda Lawal Dare, academic prowess cannot be faulted, a holder of PhD. stakeholders are eager for his emergence as Zamfara governor in 2023, as they argue that he would be the first PhD holder to clinch the office in the state if elected.
A former banker, Lawal Dare was born 2 September 1965; indeed, he is known to be an established leader in the Nigerian Banking Industry. He was known to be one of the key players in the financial sector of the Nigerian Economy, as he served as the executive director, Public Sector North, of First Bank of Nigeria Plc.
This track record may have informed the wide agitation for the son of Gusau town, in the person of the former banker to bring his wealth of experience and salvage Zamfara state. The slogan in Zamfara state, particularly among the youths, who constitute large number of voting population, is “it is the turn of Gusau people” in 2023.
Historically, Lawal graduated from Ahmadu Bello University in 1987 with B.Sc. in political science, he obtained an M.Sc. in political science/international relations from the same university in 1992, and holds a PhD in business administration from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto before going further to develop himself by taking courses at prestigious universities, including the London School of Economics, Harvard Business School, Oxford University Business School and Lagos Business School among others.
An encounter with Lawal Dare, during interview session with the media was marvelous, his understanding of contemporary world views is excellent, and particularly his deep analysis of the socio-economic dynamics of Nigeria is fascinating.
The Gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in Zamfara state, parades very rich curriculum vitae, an x-ray of Lawal Dare professional career is germane; it shows that he started his working career in 1989 as a political education officer with the Agency for Mass Mobilization for Social and Economic Reliance Nigeria. In 1989, he joined Westex Nigeria Limited as an assistant general manager. In 1994 he was appointed as an assistant consular officer (immigration), and later chief protocol officer, Embassy of Nigeria, Washington DC, US.
Dauda Lawal joined First Bank of Nigeria Plc in May 2003; as relationship manager, commercial banking, and was at various times senior manager, Abuja Area office, business development manager, Abuja, principal manager, group head PSG II, assistant general manager (business development manager), Maitama, deputy general manager (business development manager), Maitama/group head public sector, Abuja.
Between October 2010 and September 2011, Lawal was elevated to the position of executive vice president, public sector, North of First Bank of Nigeria Plc. In September 2012 he became executive director, Public Sector North, of First Bank of Nigeria Plc.
He has to his credit, FirstBank CEO Merit Award for Outstanding Performance as the “Best Business Development Manager” in 2006 and “The Most Enterprising Staff” in 2009.
“In politics, trust is the coin of the realm. The essence of primary elections is to elect the best for the job, a person generally admired and close to the hearts of the electorates. For that, the Zamfara chapter of the PDP deserves accolades settling for the best in its primaries the erudite former banker emerged.
“To govern states facing numerous humanitarian challenges especially in modern bureaucracies is complex, but with competence and dexterity it becomes easy. For the first time in the history of Zamfara State there would be on the ballot a man with highly consistent character like Lawal.
“Good character is the single most important attribute of a successful and worthy life. The Zamfara PDP gubernatorial candidate, Dauda Lawal holds this principle so dear, and that is why he strives for excellence and touches lives anywhere and, in any position, he finds himself”.
Conclusively, if the overwhelming support by the people of Zamfara central zone and the agitation for power shift to the zone in 2023 is a yardstick, one can safely deduce that Lawal Dare is coasting home to victory.
Ibrahim Badamasi a Journalist, Public Affairs Analyst, writes from Abuja, can be reached on 07058093022