Yarima declares for 2023 Presidency, dismisses zoning arrangement by APC
The former two terms governor of Zamfara State, Ahmed Yarima has declared his ambition to contest for the 2023 presidential election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), insisting his ambition is guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Yarima who spoke with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday denied knowledge of any agreement to zone the party’s presidential ticket to any zone during the pre-merger for APC ahead of 2015
He said: “I don’t think there is anything like agreement. You can ask Mr. President, he led the group, Asiwaju (Bola Tinubu) was there, I was part of it. There was no meeting I didn’t attend or any meeting that I attended that there is such an agreement. The agreement can’t be verbal; it has to be written. In any case, any agreement that is contrary to the laws of this country is not an agreement.
“The Constitution is very clear, the Constitution of the political parties, the Electoral Act. We are in a democracy and democracy is governed by processes and procedures and bye-laws. So the Constitution of Nigeria doesn’t recognize anything called zoning and likewise, check APC Constitution. If there is that agreement why didn’t we put it in the Constitution?
“So, nobody will just come and say that there is an agreement, take your Constitution and amend it, but that agreement if there is then nobody will come from another side and work against the Constitution.
“As a democrat, as a citizen of Nigeria, I can aspire based on the laws of Nigeria. The Nigerian Constitution has given rights and privileges to every citizen which believes he has something to offer to aspire for any office, irrespective of his state of origin, his tribe, ethnicity, religion; you have right, the Constitution has given us guarantee to participate in the political process.
While justifying the possibility of him succeeding President Buhari who is from Katsina, a North-West state when he is from Zamfara, also a North-West state, Yarima said: “Can I give you an example of America, George Bush (Snr) was President, George Bush (Jnr) became President. They form the same family not from the same state, not from the same zone. This is a democracy, if Nigerians decide to vote for Yarima, so it be”.
He also denied the rumour that he is reviving the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and rallying his colleague 1999 governors for his presidential ambition by saying the ANPP is defunct.
“You see, we have the APC and the merger is being consummated and we’re operating a political party. ANPP is gone, Nigerian Governors Forum, 1999 to 2011is an association of people that have shared interest. In politics, you will not be surprised, James Ibori who is in PDP is a very close friend of mine, he can support me. So, once you are contesting you reach out to all shades of opinion and people from all walks of life in Nigeria, explain to them your ambition, explain to them your programmes and what do you want to achieve, what do you want to offer for Nigeria, if they share the same opinion with you they can be in another party and they can vote for you.
“Right now, when I started this mobilization I developed an application which I will show you after this interaction, and that application is being downloaded in android or iPhone and I have forms that are printed carrying the same information that we need to upload to the system. My objective of doing that is to see that before I officially declare, I will have at least 30 – 40 million supporters and I assure you I have the capacity to achieve that. I already have very close to two million people all over the country. I have more than 4000 supporters in Imo, I have more than 7000 supporters who have declared their interest to support me in Enugu State, I have over 400,0000 supporters in Katsina State, different states, PDP, APC.
“That’s why I said your ability to mobilize Nigerians across the party to vote for you. It’s not your party members that support you. You will see some people who are senior leaders of a political party coming to support a candidate that they believe have something to offer”, he said.
On how he would change Nigeria for the better, the APC Chieftain said: “You can see today Nigeria is facing a lot of challenges in security but as one of APC stalwart, I have an opportunity, always, if I want to meet Mr. President and give my own piece of advice. However, I can still say that these challenges can be overcome through concerted efforts.
“First of all, you need to improve the welfare of the security agencies, the Police, the DSSS, the military, Civil Defence, all other people working to bring peace and security of our people you have to make sure that their welfare is improved. In fact, not wages and salaries, you have to make sure that their family is adequately taken care of; their future, their education, their health facilities, their retirement benefits. They have to be very comfortable so that they can give out their lives in the struggle to ensure that we are secured. You also have to give them the equipment.
“When I was Governor, I had an arrangement in Government House where the security, the Commissioner of Police and the Director of DSS have some communication center were from every corner of the State where security agencies can communicate with each other. But today, unfortunately from one checkpoint to another the Police can’t communicate themselves. I have been seeing it when you move around, I travel from here (Abuja) to Zamfara, Kaduna, you will see checkpoint can’t communicate to the next checkpoint. This is terrible. They have communicated. If there are any attacks and the modern equipment that we have today, you can install facilities that you can even see the movement of people around the country. You can detect where the bandits or insurgents are and communicate between themselves and surround them and take necessary actions. So we need to do a lot in the area of security.
“Then, welfare, poverty is a very terrible problem that can cause not only insecurity, all these drug addictions by youths and women, the problem of crimes and other things are caused by poverty. Every citizen of Nigeria should be given access to education, not only quantity education but quality education. You should have free education at least at the secondary school level. For tertiary institution, you need to make an arrangement like the United Kingdom and United States of America where you give some brilliant students scholarship but should have what I call school soft loan where every child who is from a poor family can have access to loan so that he can finance his tuition fees, his maintenance allowances and when he graduates and starts doing something he can start to pay in 10, 15 to 25 years. This is what is obtainable in the Western world. The type of education we are giving our children is also nothing to write home about because every child now will be targeting to have a certificate just to get employment. That is not a good one. You have to give them education if somebody, for example, is going for a degree in Agriculture he should specialize in poultry, fishery, crop production, animals husbandry and any area of agriculture so that he can have access to a loan when he graduates from Development Bank, Bank of Industry so that he can establish a small business that he can even employ others. So, these are the kind of areas that one can touch. It seems simple but it needs a lot of effort, bringing talents together so that you can have a team that can drive these issues. Security of lives and properties, and improvement in the welfare of citizens”.