The Tragedy Called Zamfara

Adams Oshiomhole

Last Friday, the Supreme Court dropped a bomb.The bomb that killed no one. But it paralysedmany, at least politically. The bomb that seemingly turned a giant killer. One of the giants so maimed is the outgone governor of Zamfara State, AlhajiAbdul-aziz Yari. He was an APC governor. He was the Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum. He was believed to have governed(?) more from Abujathan from Gusau, the state capital. He once accused his people of being too sinful and that was why God decided to punish them with Type C Cerebrospinal Meningitis. That was in April 2017.A year later, he had announced his resignation as the Chief Security Officer of his state, in the peak of mindless killings of his people by roving bandits.

But despite his abdication of his core duty, he yet wanted to be a senator, to represent his people.

He had perfected his political plan: after his eight-year rule as governor in the state, he would head to the senate, where he’d do another four, eight or even or more years. But as it turned out, politicians propose, Supreme Court disposes. And like a Shakespearan hero, in his falling, Mr Yari pulled down an entire political generation with him. Now he is on ground zero.

Not only did state the lose the prized governorship seat, it indeed became a political orphan in the state, as the Supreme Court ruled that all, yes, all the supposedly elected members of the party into the state’s House of Assembly, Federal House of Representatives, the senate and of course the governorship did not have the requisite basis for being elected. Therefore, their election have been invalidated and the second runners up, being the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have become the elected persons.

This is even a worse fate than that of Rivers State. Here, the APC had participated in the election, won, and was already warming up for assumption of office, when, suddenly, a new order was released , five days to the inauguration. And APC reclined to a zero point. It is a political tragedy.

The signs had been there. After a similar ruling had knocked off all candidates of the party in Rivers State, it was clear that the same fate would befall Zamfara State. But the political Machiavellians running the APC refused to see the signs. They wonkily railed on gra-gra mode, believing that they would “rough it out” eventually. The law was calm. The law waited for them, and last Friday, the long arm of the law caught up with them. And as they say, the rest is now history.

But before the history ferments, the lessons must be drawn out.

The resounding lessonis that the laws and procedures of an exercise must be followed and respected. They must not be circumvented by those who feel they own the game.

The failure to hold proper primary as prescribed by the Electoral Act is the cause of the loss, both in Rivers and Zamafara States.

The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubucaptured it succinctly when he said, “It is clear that properly-conducted primaries are cardinal to the proper internal functioning of political parties, the electoral process, and our democratic system at large”.

And that is the other lesson: we must allow internal democracy. It will go a long way in deepening and strengthening our democratic values and principles.

It is that attitude of undermining a process that has cost the party (APC) the loss of Rivers and now Zamfara States.

It hardly bodes well for the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. It does not portray him as a good and efficient leader.

He lacks the tool of rapproachment. He assumes it is always a “fight-to-finish” duel. He must realize this is not labour movement. It is a political party, laced with all kinds of interests. He needs a lesson in persuasion and stooping to conquer. It is his near abrasive style that has cost the loss of Zamfara, Imo and perhaps Rivers States. Someone had said he brought bad luck to the APC, when he was newly elected. His governance mechanism is fraught with errors. His acts are not together. If only Oshiomhole had the tact and charm to rein in the likes of Senators Magnus Abe (Rivers) and Kabir Marafa (Zamfara), the fortunes of APC would not have dipped this sharply.

Right now, the Zamfara verdict has altered the numerical calculations and reality in the National Assembly. The APC would be now in a tighter corner, as APC’s losses have become PDP’s gains.

Already, those who feel so hurt with this political tragedy have called for Oshiomhole’s resignation. Now the pressure will be on him. Would he buckle? Would he survive? Time will tell.