By Saidu Idris Dibis (COACH)
Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State seems the most unjustly spited public officer since the beginning of armed banditry-bred humanitarian crisis ravaging the larger section of Nigeria’s Northwest geopolitical zone.
In the last fortnight he intervened for the release of 344 students of the Kankara Government Science Secondary School in Katsina State abducted by armed bandits a few days earlier.
The release of this colossal number of abductees from their captors earned the fame of the most-celebrated case since the beginning of terror-orchestrated humanitarian crisis in the country twenty years ago.
The entire number of the abducted Kankara boys breathed the air of freedom after a few days in captivity without the government, reportedly, offering any dime as ransom to their captors, while, to this day, about 100 of the about 300 Chibok school girls abducted by Boko Haram in Borno State in 2014 are still in captivity – dead or alive.
The bandits reportedly whisked the boys to the bushes of neighbouring Zamfara State, thrusting on Governor Matawalle a very heavy burden of responsibility as a politician and public officer, and the most-trustworthy neighbourliness as a governor suffering the same devastating banditry-bred plight with his fellow Northwest governors, to take the major plunge into the search for the boys.
With Zamfara State being the epicenter of terro-banditry, Governor Matawalle took over a terror-tattered state in dire need of special tact and strategies in combating the transborder global-scale crime before it crushes the state to the most-pathetic state of economic inconsequence in the Nigerian federation.
He immediately came to grips with the stark reality that there is no better option to explore than the carrot-and-stick option suggested by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the former Presidents Umaru Yaradua and Goodluck Jonathan on Boko Haram in the Northeast, in combating the Zamfara situation.
This, he is convinced, is the most imperative thing to do to enable his administration squeeze out even if the barest security to guarantee the conduct of essential economic activities for human existence and the survival of the state.
Under the prevailing Zamfara situation, to every concerned stakeholder in the prosperous existence of the Farming-is-our-pride, natural resources-rich Northwest state, and every dispassionate assessor of the terror-bred Nigerian humanitarian crisis, Governor Matawalle’s deployment of the carrot-and-stick option in dealing with the bandits is the most responsible and wisest thing for him to do.
With the occurrence of the most-appalling act of terror since the beginning of banditry in the Northwest – the highly daring abduction of the Kankara boys, and their whisking to his state, Governor Matawalle, incontrovertibly moved by a historic human and good-neighborliness passion, most responsibly, and earnestly, deployed the required tact and strategy fashioned out of the carrot-and-stick option to negotiate the release of the boys.
The boys were released to global applause.
For dispassionate assessors of Nigeria’s terror and humanitarian crisis situation, Governor Matawalle deserves an award in the class of the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the achievement of the globally-rare feat of the release of the 344 Kankara school boys from terrorists.
Alas! He was, instead, pelted by the National Spoke Person of All Progressives Congress (APC), the party of which I am a member, with the most-incriminating allegations of sponsoring and sustaining terror-banditry in the Northwest region.
Governor Matawalle’s unprecedented and, thus, unanticipated, success in securing the release of the boys stampeded them into blindly, and most-unjustly, branding him an entrepreneur of terror-banditry, alluding to his marvelous ability to secure the release of the boys.
This is a most politically-lethal weapon deployed against a governor achieving feats in the security and development of his state, amidst the raging terror-banditry.
This is most unexpected and unfortunate of whoever mischievously schemes to kill the political personality of Matawalle.
To exonerate Bello Matawalle of any complicity in the Northwest’s terror-banditry, and, consequently, appreciate whatever role he played towards the release of the boys, one has to dispassionately review the history of the globally-rated crime in Zamfara and the entire Nigeria’s Northwest region.
The armed banditry rattling Northwest was ignited by a normal farmer-herdsman clash in 2011 in Zamfara State, from where it flared out it torched four other states in the Northwest – Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi and Kaduna and, most recently, Kano and Jigawa; and, currently, two other North-Central states of Niger and Nassarawa.
Over 20 million people in these states are reportedly exposed to insecurities bred by the terror unleashed on the population by the bandits.
It reportedly escalated to a global-scale appalling point and, thus, acquired global infamy during the administration of the former Governor Abdul-aziz Yari which, reportedly, suffered severe poverty of ideas and commitment in combating the then worsening situation, in 2017.
Governor Bello Matawalle, therefore, inherited a state gasping for breath under the massive weight of a global-scale security challenge that, to this, requires specially crafted tact and strategies in accordance with the peculiarities of Zamfara within the national and international legal framework to combat.
This is what he is legally deploying. This is why he is succeeding in the banditry war.
Saidu Idris Dibis CoachNo7b Bajju Street, Kawo New Extension Kaduna.