Governor Aliyu Wamakko
Politics & Issues
The governorship ambitions of some members of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Sokoto State for the 2015 election has begun to cause ripples in the party, writes Mohammed Aminu
Things are no longer at ease in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Sokoto State. There is an unhealthy rivalry over ambition by some members of the party ahead of the 2015 governorship election. The aspirations of the members have fragmented the party into various groups with each working behind the scenes to ensure that its benefactor emerges the party’s flag bearer when the race fully begins.
The acrimony within the ranks and file of the PDP was further worsened by the rumours making rounds that Governor Aliyu Wamakko of the state has anointed, Alhaji Faruk Yabo, the current Commissioner for Local Government and Community Development to succeed him.
Yabo is a close confidant and associate of the governor and because of the rumour making rounds that Wamakko might field him in 2015, some groups have started placing posters of Yabo in the Sokoto metropolis and had embarked on subtle campaigns with the aim of selling him to the electorate.
The pasting of Yabo’s posters was meant to draw attention of the public to his possible aspiration and also launder his image. Already, Yabo’s residence and office had been turned into a ‘Mecca’ of sorts, as hangers-on, politicians, religious leaders, various groups now mill around him for one favour or the other.
In fact, it was gathered that even the executive members of the PDP in the state have been fragmented to a very large extent as some were said to be rooting for Speaker of House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal. Also, there are those working behind the scenes for the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mukhtari Shagari. Besides, the ‘old PDP’ is said to be rooting for former Minister of Sports, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman.
But worried by the development, Wamakko was said to have asked all those nursing governorship ambition to desist forthwith and stop over heating the polity. The governor was irked by the fact that such aspirations might derail his administration and distract him from meeting the yearning and aspirations of the people.
Thus, Yabo has mandated his supporters to stop their campaign activities.
In a statement, Yabo called on individuals and groups pasting his posters in the Sokoto metropolis for political purposes to desist forthwith. The statement drew the attention of people and groups to the fact that it was not yet time for political campaigns.
It maintained that such activities were against the law, hence the need for them to refrain. The statement also urged the people of the state to continue to support Wamakko in order to meet the development needs of the people.
"Yabo wishes to identify himself with the purposeful leadership of Governor Wamakko in all aspects of governance and is doing his best to meet the yearnings of the people,” the statement read in part.
Speaking with THISDAY, state Secretary of PDP, Alhaji Aminu Bello, described as untrue, rumours making the rounds that Wamakko has anointed Yabo to succeed him.
Bello described the rumour as mere distraction, adding that Wamakko was focused on meeting the development targets set by his administration and would not be derailed by such rumour.
“As you are aware, the PDP is solidly behind Wamakko’s laudable initiatives aimed at fulfilling the campaign promises made to the people of Sokoto. We are not bothered about such rumours because they are mere idle talks and distraction,” Bello said.
Pundits, however, view the development as premature and disruptive, noting that had Yabo not dissociated himself from such campaigns, he would have exposed himself to political misfiring.
In fact, it would have put him on direct firing line by Wamakko’s opponents in the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) who without doubt are formidable and are waiting for any loophole to reap political gains.
Such development, observers believe, could also create room for other aspirants to start indicating interest, a move that might weaken the PDP against the backdrop of a rumoured alliance by the opposition parties, especially the ANPP, CPC and DPP, coupled with the fact that the raging acrimony between the old and new PDP members in the state is yet to be resolved.
Many however believed that the governor was uncomfortable with the situation and moved swiftly to contain the tide. Observers believed that if the governor had remained quite; the premature jockeying for 2015 could have been seen as subtle endorsement of the activities of his commissioner which might encourage other aspirants to throw their hats into the ring, thus creating confusion in the party.
Observers also believed that the litany of awards that are recently being bestowed on Tambuwal have further enhanced his image in the state.
Wamakko, at the last Sokoto Merit Awards, had extolled the speaker for ensuring harmony among the three arms of government.
“This award ceremony is a testimony of our commitment to upholding progressive leadership traits and it is noteworthy that Tambuwal won the broad based acceptance of the members of the House in recognition of personal traits and professional pedigree.
“He is straight forward, humble, tolerant, progressive and a team player. I must say without equivocation that we are deeply proud of this public officer particularly for being a worthy ambassador of the culture and tradition that define the enduring legacies of the seat of the caliphate in the evolution of the nation,” he said.
There are those who believed that such honour done to Tambuwal was another subtle endorsement by Wamakko and could be part of moves to sell him to the electorate ahead of 2015 elections.
But some have argued that Shagari might emerge the dark horse when the chips are down. This is because it was his ticket that was handed to Wamakko in 2007.
Shagari had won the PDP primary and was the party's candidate before the national secretariat of the party substituted his name with Wamakko’s, who was then ANPP governorship candidate in the state. The decision was not unconnected with the merger between the ANPP and PDP prior to the 2007 governorship election.
As a result, there is the belief in some quarters in the state that it could be payback time for Shagari for his unflinching loyalty to Wamakko over the years and as such, should be compensated for sticking with the governor during his travails, especially during the raging acrimony between the old and new PDP prior to the February 18, 2012 governorship election.
Importantly, PDP’s main concern is how to field a formidable candidate that would be acceptable to both the old and new members if it must checkmate the marauding influence of former governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa.
Even at that, Wamakko's biggest dilemma will be in deciding on a candidate out of many political titans aspiring for the coveted seat in 2015. This, however, is a herculean task that could give the Governor and the party leadership sleepless nights in the journey to 2015.