By Murtala Maikano Bilbis
In what appears as illegitimate power of Governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar of Zamfara State, who is currently facing critical challenge from the former Governor of the State, Alh. Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi in the ongoing tribunal proceedings, one of the adhoc officials who was employed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and posted to Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State to serve as Presiding Officer in 2015 Governorship Election, and who also pleaded anonymity, has revealed to DESERT HERALD how they were forced to rig in favour of the serving Governor Alh. Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar who is seen as a political godson of the former Governor of Zamfara State Alh. Ahmad Sani Yariman Bakura.
According to the source, while they were working to ensure that they complied with INEC directives of using card-reader to verify the electorates in the morning, some government officials loyal to the serving Governor came to the polling unit asking APC agents about what was going on; and when they realized that the card-reader will definitely help the opposition party, they started urging the INEC officials not to use the card-reader because, according to them (Yari supporters), it would take long before the election will take place.
The source said: “when we resisted their suggestions they went back and later came in the afternoon at about 1pm when real voting started, they also tried to bribe us and we refused because we knew that when people realize that their votes would be manipulated, we will face negative repercussions from the electorates.
“When they realized we were not yielding, they decided to force us to leave the place and replaced us with some people in order to save their governor from the impending failure. They asked us to leave the area or we must comply. We were therefore forced to comply with their demands, because we realized we were in danger and they can do everything to harm us. They took us somewhere and thumb printed the whole ballot papers against the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”
The source added that as far as popularity and acceptability are concerned, Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi was far ahead of the serving Governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar.
When asked why, he said “I am an indigene of Zamfara State and I know the state in and out. I am now living here in Kaduna, serving as a house guard of one of Yari’s closest associates. I have experienced the leadership of Shinkafi and that of Yarima then now the leadership of Yari. I knew who they are. Shinkafi to the best of my knowledge is the only politician who served 8 years as Deputy Governor and four years Governor and still he owns no house in Abuja and Kaduna and he spent his four years as a Governor without diverting a kobo of any local government in Zamfara State. Therefore, people need to return him to rescue them from the current leadership of Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar.”
The source also accused Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar of inflicting artificial poverty on workers, pensioners and others in Zamfara State, even as he said there are some workers who collect N7,000.00 as state government salary.
On the issue of insecurity, he said it could be remembered that there were some commissioners who automatically resigned due to the total failure of Yari most especially in terms of insecurity. For example, Alh. Malami Aliyu Yandoto is one of the best politicians in Zamfara State who served in many capacities. He has decided to resign his position because of the continuous negligence and silence of Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar on the victims of armed bandits, who suffered from the activities of the terrorists in Zamfara. Yandoto served as a running mate of Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi in the 2015 Governorship Election.
The INEC Official, however, traced back the dividends of Shinkafi’s leadership with some major projects aimed at building and boosting the economy of the state in order to compete with other states that have developed, where he made mention of Cargo International Airport, Gusau and Zamfara Mineral Processing Company and commended the former Governor for maintaining government treasury while serving as Governor of Zamfara State.
He then advised President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to fish out credible people like Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi and work with them in order to save Nigeria from the corrupt politicians who hide under the umbrella of religion and cheat the masses.