TAMBUWAL, WAMAKKO AND SOKOTO POLITICS 

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Monday comment1

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

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 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