TAMBUWAL, WAMAKKO AND SOKOTO POL­I­TICS

Kas­sim Afeg­bua writes that there are ques­tions beg­ging for an­swers in the state’s ad­min­is­tra­tion

THISDAY - - COMMENT -

There has been some kind of ding-dong af­fair be­tween the for­mer Speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and cur­rent Gov­er­nor of Sokoto State Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and his pre­de­ces­sor in of­fice and cur­rent Se­na­tor Aliyu Wamakko. This is partly as a re­sult of the de­fec­tion of Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal to the op­po­si­tion Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) fol­low­ing failed prom­ises and lead­er­ship in­er­tia of the All Pro­gres­sives Con­gress-led fed­eral gov­ern­ment. Not want­ing to be seen as a Tambuwal’s lackey, Se­na­tor Wamakko has been go­ing all over the place as the nu­mero uno of Sokoto State, try­ing hard to im­press his new po­lit­i­cal as­so­ci­ates that he would de­liver the state to APC.

At first, he en­sured that his choice Deputy Gov­er­nor nom­i­nee de­clined to move to the PDP with his prin­ci­pal, Aminu Tambuwal. Se­condly, he or­ches­trated a wel­come home rally to make the point that his po­lit­i­cal struc­ture and mileage are very much in place. He ral­lied sup­port­ers from all the states of the North-West to en­sure that he had a suc­cess­ful rally. Hav­ing con­vinced his spon­sors that he is very much on ground, the en­tire APC struc­ture in the state was handed over to him. He nom­i­nated his for­mer com­mis­sioner as a gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date, and en­sured that all his po­lit­i­cal god­sons oc­cupy one po­si­tion af­ter the other. In Sokoto State presently, Wamakko is the party, and the party is Wamakko. That has kind of given him the ul­ti­mate elixir he needed to con­front a Tambuwal that has be­come a po­lit­i­cal bull­dozer in try­ing to res­cue the po­lit­i­cal econ­omy of the state from the grip of god­fa­thers and their ex­u­ber­ant thugs.

Tambuwal, a suave, dogged, rugged and quin­tes­sen­tial po­lit­i­cal player has a Mi­das touch that has con­tin­ued to con­found his op­pres­sors and fol­low­ers. Eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble with an in­fec­tious hu­mil­ity and sub­lim­i­nal ori­en­ta­tion, Tambuwal is gen­er­ally a jolly good fel­low who pos­sesses an un­canny abil­ity to cul­ti­vate the sup­port of all no mat­ter their po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions. A team player ex­tra-or­di­naire with the panache to con­nect with the or­di­nary folks out there, Aminu Tambuwal has since built a cult-like fol­low­ing in Sokoto to the con­ster­na­tion of those who hith­erto thought they held the big­ger chunk of the po­lit­i­cal ba­ton in the state. His lead­er­ship of the state is one that has shown a re­mark­able de­par­ture from the busi­ness-as-usual ap­proach of his pre­de­ces­sor. Seen as a pro-masses leader who ven­tured into seek­ing the pres­i­dency of Nige­ria, Tambuwal’s fin­ish­ing as run­ner-up at the Port Har­court pres­i­den­tial con­ven­tion has opened a new page in his po­lit­i­cal tra­jec­tory as the new won­der kid on the block.

Tambuwal’s po­lit­i­cal growth and na­tional ac­cept­abil­ity would ex­pect­edly draw flaks from a Wamakko who feels he de­serves to be wor­shipped as the sole po­lit­i­cal fac­tor in the caliphate. Hav­ing gone their sep­a­rate ways, fol­low­ing the re­fusal of Tambuwal to dig into the pub­lic till to ser­vice the whims of self-ac­claimed god­fa­thers, the state

SEEN AS A PRO-MASSES LEADER WHO VEN­TURED INTO SEEK­ING THE PRES­I­DENCY OF NIGE­RIA, TAMBUWAL’S FIN­ISH­ING AS RUN­NERUP AT THE PORT HAR­COURT PRES­I­DEN­TIAL CON­VEN­TION HAS OPENED A NEW PAGE IN HIS PO­LIT­I­CAL TRA­JEC­TORY AS THE NEW WON­DER KID ON THE BLOCK

is be­gin­ning to wit­ness a par­a­digm shift in its po­lit­i­cal econ­omy. For rais­ing some queries over the prof­li­gate ad­min­is­tra­tion of Wamakko, al­beit re­luc­tantly, Wamakko has drawn raw blood against the Tambuwal lead­er­ship. It is on record that Wamakko has some ques­tions to an­swer as a con­se­quence of his eight-year ad­min­is­tra­tion of the state.

For ex­am­ple, he is yet to re­spond to the litany of queries over the way he han­dled some projects in the state dur­ing his ten­ure. The Col­lege of Agri­cul­ture at Wurno was re­port­edly launched as com­pleted when in­deed it was just 45% com­pleted even though the to­tal con­tract sum was fully paid. The ex­ten­sion of the state sec­re­tar­iat project was also mired in fi­nan­cial reck­less­ness. While the project was stalled, the con­trac­tors re­port­edly took the Wamakko ad­min­is­tra­tion to court on charges of pay­ment and re­vo­ca­tion of con­tract. It is also on record that the state gov­ern­ment un­der Se­na­tor Wamakko al­legedly se­cured a N4b loan from Fidelity Bank to cater for farm­ers and traders, but the ac­tual sum al­legedly dis­bursed falls short of the to­tal sum pro­cured.

Not want­ing to be seen as tak­ing up arms against his pre­de­ces­sor, Tambuwal in one of his pub­lic out­ings sent a word of cau­tion to his pre­de­ces­sor. “That we have re­mained quiet is not a mark of weak­ness. That we have re­mained hum­ble should not be taken for granted”. He seemed to have con­cluded that Sokoto State would de­mand an­swers at the ap­pro­pri­ate time to the less than no­ble con­duct of his pre­de­ces­sor in of­fice. One of those ques­tions that de­mands an­swer will be how the Mur­tala Mo­hammed Hos­pi­tal was launched as com­pleted when in fact it was just 40% com­pleted, yet over N2b was al­legedly ex­pended on the project. An­other ques­tion beg­ging for an­swer is the money ex­pended on the In­de­pen­dent Power Project with an ini­tial quoted fig­ure of N1b but al­legedly in­creased to N9b when the reins of power was handed over to Aminu Tambuwal. This also ap­plies to the Goronyo Flood Vic­tims Hous­ing Units with an ini­tial con­tract of 400 hous­ing units. At the end, only 170 units were said to have been com­pleted even though full pay­ments were said to have been paid for the en­tire 400 units. The peo­ple of Sokoto State have been mount­ing pres­sure on Aminu Tambuwal to com­pel his pre­de­ces­sor to an­swer to these queries, rea­son why Se­na­tor Wamakko has pitched his tent with the fed­eral might for pro­tec­tion. As the Fe­bru­ary 2019 elec­tion draws near, and fol­low­ing Tambuwal’s over­whelm­ing pop­u­lar­ity across the state, it is in­struc­tive that the state gov­ern­ment in­ter­ro­gates some of these al­le­ga­tions for the over­all good of the state. That will be one way to en­sure that the wrong peo­ple are not given op­por­tu­nity to gov­ern the state by proxy, es­pe­cially those who still have ques­tions to an­swer. Prince Afeg­bua wrote from Abuja

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