Former Zamfara state governor, Sani Yerima, who is now Senator representing Zamfara West constituency in the Senate and also Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, says that President Muhammadu Buhari deserves to seek a second term in office after his first tenure has elapsed.
Yerima said this at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja yesterday Nov. 26th, 2015, while responding to a question as to whether he would be running for presidency in 2019, Yerima said:
President Muhammadu Buhari must re-contest election in 2019 because a single term of four years would not be enough for him to adequately tackle the fight against corruption and insecurity in the country. I don’t think there is any vacancy. As far as I am concerned, President Buhari must go for a second term. You see he has come back with something new; the man is incorruptible.”
Barely six months after the president mounted the sit and with the hard times being faced in the country presently, the senator is publicly voicing out with all confidence, PMB’s need for a second tenure.
According to him, while in office as Governor, he had to constantly engage the media in explaining the issue of Sharia policy as well as other government programmes and activities,
While in office as governor and before I came to the senate everybody knew I had to be talking and going round the country meeting the press in Lagos, London and everywhere. Most importantly while in the senate during the last two sessions I was a minority leader,” he added.
The senator who was at the helm of the controversy for the introduction of sharia legal system in his state when he was the governor denied any link between the Sharia he introduced and the current insecurity occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency. According to him, Boko Haram insurgency has nothing to do with the religion of Islam.
Speaking on the issue of fuel scarcity, rehabilitation of Nigerian refineries and turning things around based on the All Progressives Congress’ change mantra, Senator Yerima said:
“I have to inform you that these things don’t take overnight to turn around. Yes, there has been fuel scarcity, but Nigerians should be patient with the government to turn things around. They took long to decay, and will not just be fixed in one day.
If the refineries would be shut down for one year and after that we have no scarcity because we refine at home, then we didn’t lose much. We need to work together to assist the government succeed because if the change comes, all of us will enjoy it.
The price of petroleum is N87 per litre when oil sells at about $38 per barrel. Since we refine abroad, under normal market, we should sell a litre of refined oil at about N30. But we will still get there with time.
That is the reason we say that anybody that expects or wants Buhari to be there in four years and leave is not thinking properly. The problems with Nigeria won’t take four years to solve. If we really want change from him, we should make up our mind that he being there for eight years would make that difference. I mean it. He needs eight years.”
Based on his response above, it was assumed that he had already started lobbying for PMB’s second tenure. But he didn’t want it to be just an assumption, he responded, stating clearly without hesitation that there is no need to hide it, that it has started in earnest.
When the controversial senator was asked why he had remained relatively quiet for a while now, he said:
The simple answer is that you talk only when it is necessary. I felt I had had so much of limelight and there was no need for me to just keep talking when there is no need for that. I decided to do more work than talk and stayed away. But now, I think there is need for me to be heard again.”
Yesterday, he had an enlarged media interaction in Abuja, and when asked what could be the reason for such gathering especially as he had been shying away from the media in the past years, he said:
“You are right to say that I stayed off the media for some- time and it was intentional. I felt there was not much to discuss and especially after the much media presence I went through during my days as governor over the introduction of sharia and all the noise it attracted.
I will say sincerely that I introduced sharia with the best intentions as a Muslim because the legal system is acceptable to Islam. The intention was not to Islamize those that are not Muslims in Nigeria. I did it because I knew my people needed it to check the wrongs of the society.
Frankly, I never anticipated that the sharia introduction would attract such huge attention in Nigeria and internationally because it was just meant for the people of my state who are Muslims and wanted it.
But I was so surprised at the international outrage and attack of the system. It got so bad that in one week, I received not less than 5000 protest petitions against the introduction of sharia from the Amnesty International. And that was just part of the larger attention that came with it. However, I did not stop the implementation because I was sure the move was right and we needed the sharia legal system to correct errors in our state.
Now even after the anger and disagreements, about 12 states of the country today practice sharia and that has not caused any problem for either themselves or the other Nigerians even those non- Muslims that live in those states. The law is strictly for Muslims and never for those that don’t belong to the religion.
On the issue of his relationship with the man named Jangebe who stole a cow and was amputated according to sharia law under his regime, Yerima has this to say:
“Jangebe stole a cow and not goat. But I have to clarify that I had nothing personal with Jangebe. The enforcement authorities arrested and arraigned him under the sharia legal system for stealing, and the sharia is not meant only to punish or adopt punitive measures, but to correct and create conditions that would discourage crime and other wrongs acts.
Whenever the trial in a sharia court commences, the processes lead up to the Supreme Court for final decision. That means that anyone convicted by a sharia court has the right of appeal up to the highest court. Even during that time, there was the legal aid council in the state that was made of lawyers that defended people and provided them legal services when they don’t have money for that. For a reason I don’t know up till today, Jangebe was arraigned and refused the services of the legal aid council. He also pleaded guilty to the charge and also refused to appeal the verdict when he had the rights to that. Remember that the sharia court will only convict an accused with proven and flawless evidence, so when he pleaded guilty, there was nothing left to prove the case against him. When he refused to appeal, there was also nothing left than to execute the judgment.
In Saudi Arabia, after such conviction, the person’s hand is chopped off with a cutlass or axe, but I felt that that was too crude and harsh for a civilized world of today. So I directed the doctors to apply the professional approach of amputation where Jangebe was put under anaes- thesia before he was amputated but like in a surgery. There was another suspect that was ar- raigned and while still in deten- tion, the guards noticed that he commenced cutting his hand by himself. He was stopped and removed from where he was and incidentally, his trial just fizzled out. I can’t say if it actually con- tinued. I told you earlier that the essence of sharia is to cor- rect, I can assure you that after Jangebe’s issue, there was no other case of theft in the state.
He also claimed that Jangebe has been employed by the state as a way to rehabilitate his life.
He was also the same senator who was accused of breaking the law by allegedly marrying an underaged girl, believed to be 13 years old then. In response to this issue when it was raised again yesterday, Yerima said:
“That was another unnecessary issue, which I attributed to misunderstanding. The news went everywhere that I married a 13-year-old girl even when the girl’s age was not 13. I am a Muslim and I know the rules and requirements of marriage according to the religion. I saw a girl and approached her for marriage, which she accepted; I met the family and they agreed to the marriage and I did all that was required only for people to start a campaign that I married an underage girl. As a Muslim, my religion permits me to marry not more than four wives and I did not do any wrong in that. When the matter was brought to the Senate against me, the house looked at it and found that the senate cannot make laws or take decisions on maters of Islamic laws or marriage or customary marriages. That is how the issue was rested. So, I still did not know where I went wrong to marry the lady.