Although the All Progressives Congress (APC) is yet to fix a date for its national convention, Abdulaziz Yari, a two-term former governor of Zamfara State has indicated interest to succeed Governor Mai Mala Buni who is the caretaker chairman.
Yari is a former chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF).
He was in April detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged illegal financial dealings and misappropriation of funds.
In February 2021, Yari was arrested and grilled by EFCC operatives in Lagos, while the Federal High Court in Abuja had, on January 26, 2021, ordered the final forfeiture of funds belonging to Yari, domiciled in Zenith and Polaris Banks.
The judgment followed investigations that Yari had suspicious monies stuffed in his bank accounts including the sum of $56,056.75 reportedly lodged in his account with Polaris Bank; N12.9 million, N11.2 million, $303 million, N217,388.04, and $311.8 million said to be kept in different Zenith Bank accounts in the name of the ex-governor and his companies.
A source had told SaharaReporters that there are at least two solid cases of financial misappropriations for which the former governor and NGF chairman is being investigated.
The first was the investigation which opened in February 2021 centering around over N300 billion he allegedly attempted to move from a corporate account linked to him in a commercial bank.
The invitation letter dated April 6, given to Yari to report at the Sokoto EFCC office, was signed by the EFCC’s Director of Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkol.
It stated that Yari’s interrogation would be based on “conspiracy, diversion of public funds and money laundering.”
SaharaReporters gathered that Yari is also being investigated for his alleged role in the judgment debts around the Paris Club refunds as claimed by some private firms.
His handling of the proceeds of Paris Club refunds from 2017, when he was the NGF chairman, to May 2019 when his two-term as governor ended, is being investigated.
A court document was filed by the EFCC in 2017 which reveals the suspicious nature of payments by the Yari-led NGF to consultants and firms who were said to have helped the forum to recover funds with the London and Paris clubs loan between 1995 and 2002.
In the document, the EFCC had stated that it received intelligence in January 2017 alleging “conspiracy, criminal misappropriation of public funds involving the sum of N19,439,225,871.11 out of the Paris Club refunds made by the Federal Government in favour of the 36 states of the federation.”
The commission had in the court filing, sought an order of forfeiture of N500 million and $500,000 allegedly recovered from Yari.
In a post promoting Yari for the ruling party's chairmanship position, which was seen by SaharaReporters, the former governor was described as a “loyal and committed member of the party, not driven by hunger or lust for money but can even sacrifice his personal resources to lift the party".
"One who is not proud and arrogant but accessible to all members of the party,” it also said.