By Badamasi Sanusi Illela
ON May 18, 2022, one Mainasara Shehu Ahmad published an article in about 15 news platform with the title: “SOKOTO 2023: X-RAYING APC GOVERNORSHIP ASPIRANTS FOR A GUIDED CHOICE”. In the article, Ahmed stressed the importance of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to embrace rotation in its consideration of who should bear its flag in the forthcoming 2023 general elections. In his purview, the seat should be rotated to Sokoto East senatorial district after giving a rundown of previous governors who had come from, first East (Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa); Central (Sen. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko) and now South (Rt Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal).
According to Ahmed, “…It is only logical therefore that the APC should look inwards and garner massive votes from both supporters of the party in Sokoto East zone and supporters from other parties by ceding the seat to Sokoto East senatorial zone.” While I do not fault Ahmed in his argument because he has the right to his own thinking as well as trying to sell who he believes in, his hypothesis of singling out one and portraying other aspirants as “less popular or unsalable candidates” is not only annoying but also myopic.
The APC leader in Sokoto state, Sen. Wamakko sees all aspirants that have so far signified their interests to contest as popular and salable in their own various rights. He does not discriminate against any and stands to allow each one of them to test their popularity and salability. He would also welcome any collective decision to reach out for consensus. Wamakko is not a dictator; has never been and will never be.
Ahmed postulated that “Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko should ensure that there is no repeat of what happened during the last election. He should paste is ears on the chests of party supporters and feel their pulses regarding who the best choice should be, if the party should win the 2023 governorship election. In doing this, Wamakko SHOULD not ignore where the public opinion tilts towards; he MUST not be selfish and MUST, as he is known to be – be the people’s person. Whatever he referred to as “repeat of what happened during the last election” is wrapped in widened imagination because, if Ahmed is referring to Ahmed Aliyu’s contest against Governor Aminu Waziri, then he does not have firm grips on what transpired during that election.
In the first instance, if the writer was inferring that Ahmed Aliyu lost to Tambuwal because the former was less popular, he would need a political scientist to understand what vote difference actually makes the difference in calculating percentage of popularity. To refresh the writer’s memory, at the very point that INEC declared that election inconclusive, the vote margin was 3,413. The results were then read as Tambuwal polling 489,558 against Aliyu’s 486,145. Results were cancelled in 136 polling units across 22 of the state’s 23 local government areas, which had 75,403 registered voters. The writer refers to Aliyu as unpopular with this margin? And, after the runoff in those polling units, Tambuwal was declared winner with 342 vote margin. You still call this an unpopular candidate? In the face of Nigeria’s electoral process, who knows what happened – and many do.
Furthermore, Ahmed’s seeming advise that “He (Wamakko) should paste is ears on the chests of party supporters and feel their pulses regarding who the best choice should be, if the party should win the 2023 governorship election”, is another underrating by an analyst that should study the political pedigree of Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko. I beat my chest to say that, in the political history of Sokoto, even when Niger, Zamfara and Kebbi were joined to it, there has not been any political figure, so vibrant both in thoughts and people-centered mannerism like Wmakko.
Today, Wamakko stands out as one of the most outstanding politicians in Nigeria. In fact, he is a single politician in Sokoto who listens to what some people refer to as downtrodden with rapt attention. His listening posture is a result of what you see when you go to his house; the caliber of people you see in his house without security barricade; people you see around him when he goes out around town. Only a listening leader sees and meets with the people, unhindered. And his love for everybody informs his ‘no-choice-for-specific-aspirant’. For Wamakko, whoever emerges as the party flag-bearer, is the people’s choice and every one of the aspirants is important, popular and sellable. Unlike some who are identified as leaders, Senator Wamakko earned the leadership of the party by notably assuming those leadership qualities and credentials. That Ahmed Aliyu is Wamakko’s close associate does not deprive the later of such rights to seek elective office. As a leader, Wamakko shares the belief that everyone, including Ahmed Aliyu is deserving of his rights and privileges. Wamakko does not trample on the rights of people for being their followers. He does not take advantage of the weaknesses of persons he interacts with to grow.
That “Wamakko SHOULD not ignore where the public opinion tilts towards; he MUST not be selfish and MUST, as he is known to be – be the people’s person” is certainly what the Distinguished Senator knows how best to do. Over the years and under his watchful leadership of the people, he has allowed the will of the people to prevail over selfish interests by them electing Ahmed Aliyu, whose mandate was however stolen. He allowed the opinion of the people; he was never selfish and that is what he has ever been known to be.
The writer tried to single out Yusuf Suleiman among other seven aspirants, including Sen. Abdullahi Ibrahim Gobir, Sen. Abubakar Gada, Amb. Faruk Malami Yabo, Abdullahi Salame, Abubakar Gumbi and Ahmed Aliyu, who are vying for the seat of governor under the All Progressives Congress (APC) to be his favourite candidate. However, as a leader, Wamakko is for all and will support any one of them that scales through to become the party’s flag-bearer.
The writer’s irrational arithmetics of rotation, rather portrays him as a non-politician who is also not conversant with the workings of party politics as well as the knowledge of APC rules and guidelines. As it is, even the national headquarters of the APC has not taken decision on rotation. Should the party at the state level jump the gun? No, we won’t.
Wamakko is the leader of the APC in Sokoto not as a result of preference of individuals over others but by loving all, listening to all and working together.
Illela writes from Sokoto