Alhaji Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi who hold the traditional title of ‘Wanbai Shinkafi’ is a former National Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and a member of the 2014 National Conference. Shinkafi served as a member of the Committee to find lasting solution to end banditry in Zamfara State chaired by the former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar which recently submitted its report and indicted five Emirs for complicity in banditry activities in the state.
In this interview, the firebrand politician spoke on many issues including the recently assented law stopping the payment of N10 million monthly upkeep allowance to former governors of the state.
As a member of the Committee for ending banditry in Zamfara, what do you think can bring total end to the ugly menace in the state?
Honestly, we did a good job because we left no stone unturned. We subjected all those who appeared before the committee to thorough scrutiny. I asked my Emir who bestowed on me the traditional title of ‘Wambai Shinkafi’ 68 questions during our sitting in Shinkafi; this is to show you that no preference treatment was given to anybody who appeared before us. Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle needs to implement the report submitted by the committee to end banditry in Zamfara State. Let us tell ourselves the truth; it is only when governor Matawalle acts on the recommendations of the committee by taking appropriate actions against those who are behind banditry in the state to serve as deterrent to others. Matawalle needs to implement the report, so that all those found to be involved no matter their status in the society are made to face the law of the land. Most of those indicted by our committee are amongst those who are now not happy about the current level of security brought about by the dialogue and reconciliation initiative of Governor Matawalle. During the committee sittings and investigations, we discovered that a lot of highly placed individuals and traditional rulers were among those supporting and fueling banditry which led to the death of 6319 people while 3672 were kidnapped with a ransom of over N2.8 billion paid in the last 8 years.
How would you react to the recent letter by the former governor which led to the repeal of the law granting huge amount as monthly pension and upkeep allowance to former governors and Speakers in the state?
I commend Governor Matawalle and the assembly for taking the bold step of repealing the obnoxious law. Though if the assembly had known that there is a court of appeal judgment that abolish the payment of severance allowances, pension, upkeep allowances to all the governors in Nigeria, they would have given the old law one touch and throw it away. Just three months to the end of his 8 years tenure, he got the assembly to do this wicked bill which is itching the masses of Zamfara State but the same House of Assembly has annulled the bill; the former governor assented the bill and the new governor also assented the bill repealing the old bill. It is very unfortunate for former governor Abdul’Aziz Yari Abubakar to be demanding for upkeep allowance just few months after leaving office after he emptied all the accounts of the state.
This present governor never inherited one kobo in all the commercial banks because the former governor left backlog of liabilities worth over N400 billion. I have fact and figures, I can prove it. Contractors are owed more than N251 billion, pension administrators owed N16 billion, banks N4.6 billion, workers pensions and gratuity N4.1 billion, Bank loans over N57 billion hanging on the necks of the masses of Zamfara State.
Bailout funds, excess crude fund, budget facility fund worth over N65 billion tied to ISPO are still hanging on the people of Zamfara State. SME fund is N2 billion, it is very unfortunate. Instead of this man to go and address petitions against him in EFCC, he is going up and down causing confusion in Zamfara State. The former governor who refused to pay 1400 young graduates who were enrolled into the civil service their salaries for 60 months is the same man now demanding pension.
This is the governor who refused to pay state and local government pensioners since 2012 up to this year 2019 when he left office; he refused to pay pension and gratuity and he is thesame governor now looking for pension and upkeep allowance.
This is the governor who refused to pay his predecessor, Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi for over 7 years, and he is thesame governor looking for pension and gratuity.
This the same governor who refused to implement N18,000 minimum wage, who is now looking for N10 million upkeep allowance. This is the same governor who promises to pay women N20,000 but refused to pay, and demanding for N10 million monthly allowance.
The same governor who refused to pay for NECO and WEAC , refused to buy vehicles for Emirs and principals, refused to promote primary school teachers and pay them promotion arrears but is now asking for N10 million upkeep allowance.
The former governor is self-centred, he is greedy and unholy.
You are a member of the opposition, why are you so concerned about the PDP-led state government?
I am a leader of APGA in Zamfara State and also a gubernatorial candidate of APGA in Zamfara State in 2019. I contested with this governor and also the governorship candidate of APC whose election was voided by the Supreme Court. I am an indigene of this state; I am the son of the soil, I am a major stakeholder in Zamfara politics and also Nigeria politics; even internationally, I have some friends who are now sitting presidents. President George Weah of Liberia is my personal friend and also the President of Sierra Leone, so I am not somebody who you can sweep under the carpet. As a major stakeholder in Nigeria politics, I was at the national confab in 2014 where we made over 600 recommendations on how to restructure this country politically, economically, socially, educationally and otherwise, so I cannot fold my arms and see things going wrong in my dear state. The judgment of Supreme Court is what gave birth to the present administration and as a Muslim I have faith, I believe in God, God gives power, God takes power. It is destiny, when God destine that you will be somewhere, you must be. I urge each and every one of us to take Matawalle mandate as God’s divine mandate and we should accept it in good fate, when it is time for politics in 2023, you should come to the field and market yourself. If the electorate accepts you, fine and good but we cannot compromise the peace we are enjoying now in Zamfara State.
What I want our people to know is that this is not time for politics but time for governance. You know my serious fight with this governor during the campaign period but now is not time for politics. We sat down with elders of this state and agreed to adopt Zamfara State as a political party and work for the masses to save our people from political slavery and political bondage and that is why I accepted to work for this government as for unity government and not as a member of the PDP. I am still in APGA as you can see around me; no shaking, no vibration, no retreat, no surrender. I am still in APGA but I will work for Zamfara State. The judgment of Supreme Court is what gave birth to the present administration and as a Muslim; I have faith, I believe in God, God gives power, God takes power. When God destines that you will be somewhere, you must be. I urge each and every one of us to take Matawalle mandate as God’s divine mandate and we should accept it in good fate; when it is time for politics in 2023, you should come to the field and market you; if the electorate accepts you, fine and good but we cannot compromise the peace we are enjoying now.