By Harande Yusuf Isah
THE Sokoto State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is preparing to hold its congress on May 26, 2022 with seven aspirants, including Ahmed Aliyu, Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir, Senator Abubakar Gada, Faruk Malami Yabo, Abdullahi Balarabe Salame, A. A. Gumbi and Yusuf Suleiman lined up ambitiously to bear the flag of the party.
On April 20, 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari, at the 11th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party in Abuja, cautioned the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at both national and state levels against imposing unpopular aspirants as candidates even the 2023 general election approaches.
Buhari’s call against candidates imposition
“I enjoin leaders of our party to avoid the imposition of candidates that cannot win popular elections. This dictatorial behaviour cost us many strategic seats in the past. In the recent past, this led to some of our strong members, unfortunately, opting to go elsewhere because of the unfairly oppressive behaviour of party leaders at the state level. I must caution strongly against any tendency towards developing cliques, infighting within the party. We want to win well not succumb to factions on account of personal desire to retain control at all costs. That surely is not the road to win,’’ the president had told NEC and party leaders.
Sokoto APC leadership’s obedience
Glaringly evident in Sokoto state is the leader, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko’s readiness to give vent for the party to win the general election, especially by allowing level-playing field for each of the aspirants to display his political acumen in generating higher number of delegates to become the flag-bearer of the party.
Pundits have posited that Wamakko’s stance in this regard is a welcome development and sheer display of the leadership qualities that is inherent in him. They also see Wamakko’s display of regard for Mr President’s call as well as tuning in with what Buhari expects of him.
Therefore, Senator Wamakko’s stance is generally not only important but also pertinent because if that doesn’t happen, the APC can only lose to the PDP or vice versa. There is no third political force. No third alternative choice. And, giving a choice, Wammako should want the PDP to lose to the APC.
The party leader, Wamakko is thus playing his part in ensuring that the APC wins governorship seat in Sokoto. What remains is for the aspirants to sheath their swords, drop their ego and ambitions and willingly, without prompting, work for a consensus candidate in order to strengthen the party towards success.
Aspirants cannot be faulted for aspiring to govern Sokoto state. But, although it is for their desire to serve that they are signifying their interest to contest, each and everyone of them has the responsibility of ensuring that they respect the overall interest of their party. In deed, it should be considered an unwavering sacrifice for the unity of the APC as the state approaches primary elections. Just know that the success of the APC in 2023 in Sokoto will depend more on aspirants’ capacity to know that selfish interest won’t work for the party.
It is therefore a responsibility on individual APC aspirants to not see the contest as a service to self but that of the overall people of the state; to see it as a responsibility withdraw their aspiracy for who they know will withstand any candidate that the PDP will eventually field; to put their individual efforts in support of a viable candidate. Doing this won’t reduce their status, but the society will rather look at you with honour. APC must succeed in Sokoto; failure is not an option.
But who is that APC viable candidate?
Beyond self-assessment and egocentricism, the people of Sokoto are talking; they are communicating and they are doing their own assessment against the backdrop of what they want. You fail only when you feel you are the best for the people; you however succeed when you allow the people to self-determine that you are the best for them based on their assessment of you.
Sokoto people, regardless of party affiliation, are talking towards Yusuf Suleiman. He may not be the best but he is certainly the most viable APC candidate that can wrestle power from the ruling PDP. On the lips of the youths, it is Yusuf Suleiman; women too are ululating and yearning for Yusuf Suleiman; the elites have seen their own in Yusuf Suleiman; even the traditional institution are yearning for their own – a Prince of Pride; the civil servants aren’t different – they want Yusuf Suleiman.
As things stand, Yusuf Suleman is the perceived winner of the governorship tickets under the APC through whichever method the party conducts its primaries – either direct or indirect primaries. It is true that the PDP is apprehensive that the APC may eventually field Yusuf Suleiman. The PDP has that fear to contend with because Yusuf Suleiman is the sure ticket to APC’s winning of Sokoto guber poll.
However, all things being equal, should all aspirants fail to step down for Yusuf Suleiman, all aspirants should be given room to test their popularity by mobilizing their supporters.
Isah, a Lagos-based Sokoto businessman sends in this piece from Lagos