Ahmed Rufai Sani Yerima popularly known as Yerima is a Nigerian politician. In this article, we are going to tell you about Yerima — his early life and education; age and his political career. We will also tell you why Nigerians are so much against his presidential bid.
There have been so many questions regarding the person of Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima.
Many people who do not know about him are also wondering why many Nigerians are strongly against his presidential bid.
In fact, someone asked me of recent, “Is Ahmed Sani Yerima the founder of Sharia law in Nigeria?
Well, this article will answer all of your questions concerning Ahmed Sani Yerima.
Birthday & Age: How old is Senator Sani Yerima
Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima was born on the 22nd of July 1960. So, he is currently 60 years old.
Early life and Education
Yerima was born on in 1960 in Anka town, Zamfara State. In 1978, he completed a matriculation course at the Sokoto College of Arts and Science.
He attended Bayero University, Kano, and graduated with a B.Sc in Economics in 1982.
In 1983, he began his career in the Sokoto state civil service as an economic planning officer in the Ministry of Finance.
He went on to acquire a master’s degree in economics in 1987 from Bayero University, Kano State.
He also taught at the Borno College of Basic Studies, Maiduguri, during that period.
From 1988 to 1990 he worked with the National Directorate of Employment. Thereafter, he worked with the Central Bank of Nigeria between 1990 and 1993.
Then in 1994, Yerima returned to the Sokoto state civil service where he worked in the Ministry of Finance as the Director of Budget.
He held the position until the creation of Zamfara State in October 1996.
After the creation of Zamfara state, he was appointed Director-General of Lands and Housing. He later became the Permanent Secretary in that same department.
In September 1998, he left the civil service to pursue a career in politics.
Yerima is currently a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as of the time of this article.
He began his political career in 1999 when he became governor of the then 3-year-old Zamfara State in 1999.
He became governor again in 2003 for a second term, which ended on the 29th of May 2007.
Thereafter, Yarima became Senator representing Zamfara West constituency for the All Nigeria People’s Party in April 2007.
In the April 9th 2011 elections, the people re-elected him and he served for a second term.
He was also the Deputy Minority Leader in the Senate.
Yerima was to be the ANPP candidate for the 2007 presidential election.
But he withdrew from the contest to support former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari.
Ahmed Sani Yerima and Sharia Law
During his tenure as the governor of Zamfara state, he enforced the sharia law in the state — becoming the first northern governor to do so.
Yerima began the push for the institution of Sharia at the state government level in 1999 after he became governor.
He set the pace for other Northern governors to follow. The sharia law came into effect on 27th January 2000.
The state’s Muslim majority welcomed this with so much enthusiasm.
To celebrate this, thousands of Muslims gathered on the streets of Gusau shouting “Allahu Akbar” meaning “God is great”.
Zamfara established Sharia implementation bodies, including the Council of Ulama; Hisbah Commission, Zakat and Endowment Board, Sharia Research and Development Board, and the Preaching Commission.
However, Yerima reiterated his commitment to Nigeria as a multi-faith society.
All non-Muslims in Zamfara are able to choose civil law rather than Sharia law when faced with legal proceedings.
Also, the state secured and reinforced the rights of non-Muslims to pray, preach and build places of worship.
However, some of the changes which came with the sharia law affected all citizens of the state, for example, the sharia law banned sale and consumption of alcohol and prostitution across the state.
Huri-Laws, a Nigerian human rights NGO, and a Christian citizen from the state challenged the introduction of Sharia in Zamfara in courts.
But the Zamfara State High Court dismissed both cases, ruling that the law did not violate the rights of either appellant.
Ahmed Sani Yerima Child marriage scandal
The senator made the news in 2009 after he married a 13-year-old girl. As expected, Nigerians dragged him for marrying an underaged.
The bride’s parents received a dowry of $100,000 before the wedding took place in Abuja.
And even though the wedding took place in the capital city, Abuja, where it is illegal to marry under the age of 18, nothing happened.
Because many northern states in Nigeria have refused to recognize the law that makes a marriage for people under 18 illegal.
They say that ban against child marriage is against the teachings of Islam.
About two years ago, a photo of the senator with a woman and a child was posted on Instagram and many were of the opinion that the woman who looks all grown up in the picture was the child he married in 2009.
Yerima responds to critics
Responding to the backlash, Aljazeera quoted him as saying, “If there’s anybody who’ll tell me that what you did contradicts Islam, I‘ll submit – and I’ll do whatever they ask me to do.
He told the BBC’s Hausa Service by telephone from Egypt, “I consider all those complaining about this issue as detractors, because since 1999… many people have been waging different kinds of wars against me.
The senator said he had followed “standard rules for marriage in Islam”.
“I don’t care about the issue of age since I have not violated any rule as far as Islam is concerned,” he said.
“History tells us that Prophet Muhammad did marry a young girl as well. Therefore, I have not contravened any law. Even if she is 13, as it is being falsely peddled around.
“If I state the age, they will still use it to smear Islam,” he continued.
“As a Muslim, as I always say, I consider God’s law and that of his prophet above any other law,” Mr Sani added.
According to the BBC, Senator Yerima was reported to have married a 15-year-old girl in 2006.
Yerima wants Senate to back underage marriage
The senator while speaking to other senators during plenary stated that the Islamic law said that any woman who is married is of age.
So according to what the senator is saying, once a 1-year-old-girl gets married, then she is of age.
Senator Danjuma Goje, former governor of Gombe state was also in support of Yerima.
The senator further noted that a section of the constitution directed the National Assembly to steer away from Islamic marriage.
So any attempt by the National Assembly to counter that Islamic order would be a violation of the Islamic marriage law.
Quoting Premium times, in an article written July 2013, “The former Zamfara State Governor and current Senator, Sani Yerima, whose marriage to a 13-year-old girl drew widespread outrage in 2009, literally pressed the Senate to reverse a vote that appeared to outlaw underage marriage, almost marring a crucial constitution amendment vote Tuesday.
The above paragraph simply means that the former governor interfered with a crucial constitutional amendment that sought to address matters that affects the country with his bid for underage marriage approval.
According to Premium Times, he said, “The constitution says the National Assembly shall legislate on marriage except those under Islamic rites.
The Police arrested Senator Yerima on 9th March 2013 after taking part as a guest in a live Hausa radio programme broadcast by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.
Yerima said that if INEC refused to register the then newly formed All Progressives Congress, the party would begin a peaceful protest to the Eagle Square, Abuja.
The Kaduna State Police Commissioner arrested the Senator shortly after the programme for making ‘inciting’ comments.
However, the police released him three hours later after questioning.
2023 Presidential bid
Senator Yerima has declared his interest to run for the 2023 presidency.
He made the announcement in Bauchi state.
Why many Nigerians are against Ahmed Sani Yerima’s presidential bid
Unlike other presidential aspirants, Yerima’s declaration to run for the presidency has met widespread backlash and opposition even before the election.
Nigerians, especially on Twitter, says he is a religious and ethnic bigot. And is also the founder of Sharia law in Nigeria.
According to them, he is not fit to govern Nigeria, a multi-ethnic and religious country because he will turn Nigeria into a sharia country.
Below are some of the tweets from Nigerians opposing his bid for presidency:
Now you know who Yerima is. Do you think he is the right candidate to make Nigeria a better country? Please leave a comment below and tell us what you think.