As Nigeria celebrated its 62 anniversary in a grand style yesterday, Zamfara State also clocked 26, but in absence of any official commemoration. Neither the governor, Bello Matawalle, nor his deputy, Hassan Nasiha utters a speech.
Located in northwestern Nigeria and sharing boundaries with Sokoto in the north, Kebbi in the west, Katsina in the east, Kaduna and Niger in the south, Zamfara was created on October 1, 1996, from Sokoto State during the military administration of General Sani Abacha. It was created alongside Gombe, Nasarawa, Bayelsa, Ebonyi and Ekiti States. Zamfara, according to research, is blessed with rich mineral deposits and vast fertile land suitable for agriculture with a predominantly Hausa/Fulani Muslim population.
While the Zamfara government remained silent yesterday, some of its mates commemorated their independence. For Instance, Gombe State celebrated its 26 anniversary at Pantami Stadium where the deputy governor Manassah Jatau, inspected the parade staged by operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps GosTEC and school children.
“Let me, on behalf of the Government and people of Nasarawa State, congratulate all Nigerians on this occasion of the 62nd Anniversary of our nationhood,” said Abdullahi Sule, the Governor of Nasarawa State in commemoration of Nigeria’s independence. “Today reminds us once again the agitation and patriotic favour which were the driving force towards the attainment of our freedom from the colonialists and the independence which we are enjoying today.”
Celebrating Nasarawa @26, the governor stated, “today also marks the 26th-anniversary celebration for the creation of Nasarawa State,” adding that successive administrations have endeavoured to contribute their quotas towards the realization of the dream of the founding fathers.
‘IT IS INSENSITIVE TO CELEBRATE’ — ZAMFARA
Speaking to WikkiTimes, Zailani Bappa, the Special Adviser to the Zamfara State governor on Media and Publicity, said, celebrating independence “is not necessary for every state.”
According to him, the celebration by the federal government had sufficed for all states. “But if a state government has anything to say, it is fine,” said Bappa. “We don’t have the luxury of celebrating because of what is happening now. We are squarely facing our security challenges.
“It looks insensitive when you start spending money to celebrate in grand style when people are being challenged,” he said, adding, independence in Zamfara was celebrated in a different manner. “We celebrated quietly,” Bappa told WikkiTimes. “All the Imams prayed in the mosques and all the Christians prayed in Churches, and we are also observing a public holiday tomorrow.”
ZAMFARA’S PATH TO BEING A STATE
Struggling for the creation of Zamfara State dated back to 1976. It smelled actualisation in 1991, but Kebbi State was favoured against it. The struggles continued until five years later.
Administratively, Colonel Jibril Bala Yakubu was the first military administrator of the state. He was succeeded by the first civilian Governor in May 1999, Ahmad Sani (Yariman Bakura), followed by Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi 2007-2011, Abdulaziz Yari 2011-2019 and Bello Matawalle 2019 to date.
At the time of its creation, Zamfara State has only nine (9) Local Govt Areas namely: Gusau, Tsafe, Bungudu, Kaura Namoda, Zurmi, Talata-Mafara, Maradun, Anka and Bukkuyum — with Gusau as the state capital.
Thereafter, Maru was created out of Anka, Birnin Magaji out of Kaura, Shinkafi from Sokoto’s Isa Local Govt, Bakura was split from Tureta and Kebbe was caved out from Gummi. Kebbe was retained by Sokoto State and Gummi was allocated to Zamfara state.
However, the state is currently marred with serious security challenges with bandits killing and maiming innocent people who they often abduct for ransom in some circumstances.