Since the emergence of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the Sokoto State governorship flag bearer in 2015 general election, people have been asking wheter he can fit into the shoes of Wamakko or not if elected?
The fact remains that the people of Sokoto State are peace loving and sympathetic to whosoever they felt was wrongly and unjustly cheated. No doubt saying that Tambuwal enjoys similar gesture right from the beginning of the circumstances that brought him to the nation’s number four seat is only stating the obvious.
It is common knowledge that similar antecedents, coupled with his perceived generosity and philanthropy brought the incumbent governor, Aliyu Magatakarda Wammakko to power in the year 2007. He was seen as subjected to all sorts of humiliation, persecution and embarrassments by the erstwhile governor Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa whom he deputised from 1999 to 2006, in the then All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP. In 2007, Wamakko enjoyed solidarity votes from people of Sokoto as the PDP governorship candidate. Also, on two occasions his election was nullified by the courts but still he was returned by the electorate on both occasions.
In his first inaugural speech as governor, Wamakko had said, “the time has come to set aside and bring an end to the period of misplaced priorities, mismanagement, exclusive client-based leadership, which elevates self and mediocrity over and above selfless service and merit.” He has done so much to depart from that path in his eight-year leadership.
Frankly, and to be fair to the Magatakarda-led administration, he has done remarkably well in all strata of human endeavour across the state, whereby, projects with direct bearing on the lives of the larger part of the electorate were justifiably and indiscriminately sited regardless of political inclination or other trivial interests.
There is no gainsaying that ALU, as Wamakko is popularly referred to, has a large army of followers and was also described by political analysts as well as public commentators as the most accessible, sympathetic liberator of the common man who always puts the interest of his people first. His generosity has no boundaries, a typical example is how the less-privileged converge on weekly bases, at Gawon Name area where his personal house is located, to receive monetary and other assistance.
Similar gesture is often extended to the neighbouring states of Kebbi and Zamfara whenever he was billed to pay a visit there. This led people of Kebbi State to always demand in a jocular chant of “A yi kakara” meaning that Wamakko and Kebbi governor should swap states.
Thus, the question still remains, can Tambuwal fit in these large shoes of an experienced bureaucrat and politician at this material time? May be he can only find solace in the saying that “if you cannot do as the other man did, do it your own way.”
Tambuwal is also a liberal person with youthful exuberance and who has been representing Tambuwal/Kebbe Federal Constituency in the National Assembly since the inception of the present political dispensation in 1999. He has served in various capacities before finally clinching the exalted position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, and now governorship candidate of the APC, to slug it out in the February general elections with the PDP candidate, Ambassador Abdallah Wali, who hails from the same Tambuwal Local Government Area with the Speaker.
Though, Tambuwal’s blueprint for Sokoto State is yet to be made public if at all he has designed one; but the truth of the matter is that he has to work assiduously, tirelessly and become a bit more accessible despite the detachment of security details and sycophants that now surround him.
He should also bear in mind that the scope of work in his area of coverage has now been enlarged from a paltry two local government areas that he is currently representing in the National Assembly, to having additional 21 that would make up his new constituency. This is without prejudice to his speaker position. The journey maybe an easy or difficult one, depending on how the game is played by the principal actors.
The APC, has really gained grounds in Sokoto State; some observers express optimism that it could sweep every elective position being contested for in the forthcoming general elections if we are to have a free and fair elections. But it still has to do a lot of homework.
People are gripped by the fear of the power of incumbency at the federal level that might interfere in the electoral processes, citing the example of what happened in Bauchi State recently, where INEC ballot boxes were intercepted by security operatives, which was a clear testimony of subterranean moves by the PDP to undermine the freedom of Nigerians to vote their leaders.
Whatever the case maybe, the most important thing is to ensure that the game is played according to its rules and regulations so as to avoid any act capable of disrupting peace and harmony that already exists in the Seat of the Caliphate and the nation at large.
Dogondaji is a Birnin Kebbi-based journalist