By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
A presidential hopeful and former Zamfara State Governor, Ahmad Sani Yarima, weekend, said he has fulfilled all his past promises to President Muhammadu Buhari, and so deserves to lead the country after him.
Recall that Yarima, who was on the verge of emerging the All Nigerian Peoples Party presidential candidate in 2007, had during the party’s convention stepped down to clear the coast for Buhari to emerge the ANPP flagbearer in a Katsina derby against late Umar Musa Yar’Adua of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He had also promised to support Buhari’s political aspiration until he can no longer contest the presidential elections in the country.
The ex-governor, who said this during a press conference held at his Abuja residence, said it is not only convenient, but the time is also ripe for him to seek to replace Buhari in office.
He then requested for continuous support and commitment from the members of the All Progressives Congress with an assurance to win the 2023 presidential election and improve the legacies of the President Buhari, if given chance to battle the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, at the polls.
He said, “In 2007, when I completed my second term as Zamfara governor, I tried to contest for president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but had to stoop for the current president, Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari, at that time.
“The same period, the whole Northern elders from the Arewa Consultative Forum under Chief Sunday Awoniyi, to other elders who had a meeting in Kaduna, and later announced that the North then endorsed Muhammadu Buhari.
“So, I was asked to withdraw. I heeded their call, and at the ANPP convention venue, I withdrew from the race and made a promise, if you check the records, that so long as Mr. Muhammadu Buhari is interested in contesting for any office, I will not be seen contesting against him.
“In 2011, he (Buhari) presented himself, so I didn’t. In 2015, he presented himself again and won the election and he went for a second term in 2019 and won. Now that he is completing his second term, I find it convenient and also believe that all I the promises I made to him, I kept them.
“So, I have decided to offer myself to the Nigerian people to run for office of the president as well. My strength is that only God can give power.”
Speaking further, Yarima noted that Nigeria’s problems were dynamic, but maintained that he would ensure justice, equity and fairness in governance.
According to him, in spite of being the first governor to introduce a Sharia legislation in the country, Zamfara never recorded any religious crisis under his watch because of the wisdom with which he managed the ethnic and religious diversities in the State.
“During my days as governor, there was never a religious crisis in Zamfara, because even before I prepared the Sharia law, I had meetings with the Christian Association of Nigeria, we have all the videos, and they accepted the Sharia law,” he stated.
Continuing, the APC presidential aspirant said: “I have pledged to work on three very important problems of this country: insecurity, poverty and ignorance. We need to change our education system to make sure they are more efficient and effective.”
While rejecting the clamour for the ruling party to zone its presidential ticket to the South come 2023, Yarima said it was better to acculturate the people to perceive themselves politically as Nigerians rather than regional affiliates.
He explained, “People are yearning and crying for zoning when our Constitution, the document guiding our development and democracy, does not have anything called zoning in it.
“There are sections in the law which show the qualifications required for anybody who wants to contest any political office. You just have to be a Nigerian and possess the basic qualification and the age required.
“I believe zoning is a product of political ignorance or sheer mischief. All we need is to make sure the people imbibe the culture of citizenship. So that, no matter your ethnic group, once you are a citizen of Nigeria, you should aspire to be anything during elections. We must ensure that all the people first see themselves as citizens of Nigeria before any other regional considerations.”