By Mohammed S. Umar
Aliyu Wamakko very well fits in as a grass root politician even before joining any known political party. Years back, while as a Teacher, Local Government Administrator, a Civil Servant and a Permanent Secretary, Wamakko was all through the years involved in anything good for the people. If politics is about mobilizing people, organizing people, working for the good of the people and improving the living standard of the people, then it is incontrovertible that Aliyu Wamakko practices politics in its true design.
Looking at the array of Awards of Merit conferred on Wamakko by various associations, organizations and corporate bodies it is enough to classify him as an individual who has paid his dues in the sphere of being a friend to all. It was natural that the then APP found him worthy of serving as its 1999 Gubernatorial running mate against the backdrop of his rich proximity to the people at the grass roots. As a humble gentleman, Wamakko was able to construct a formidable bridge of acceptance between himself and the people all over the State.
Party politics is about carrying the people along, Wamakko’s biggest asset is his humility, people want to be accorded due recognition and respect. His personal residence at GawonNama area in Sokoto metropolis is a Mecca of some sort, people troop their daily to interface with him for one favour or another; and he obliges all manner of visitors without grudges. Wamakko’s accessibility has earned him the respect and admiration of the commoners who see his residence as their own, as they have unfettered access to him anytime. It would be recalled that, the PDP in 2006 had to draft him as its Gubernatorial flag bearer as its last hope. That particular event was an eloquent testimony of Wamakko’s political worth and relevance in Sokoto State. He revived the PDP, nurtured it and made it vibrant through his unrivalled political sagacity.
All over Nigeria, the then Sokoto PDP under Wamakko’s pilot ship was the only chapter with 100% success story from the Local Government Councils to the National Assembly. As a further confirmation of his political dexterity, Wamakko very well balanced himself between execution of people-centered projects and empowering the people economically and socially. The popular slogan in Sokoto politics, ‘SAI ALU’ is not just a slogan but a slogan with a difference, it surfaced in 2006 when Wamakko contested against Bafarawa’s DPP. Despite the incumbency factor and the intimidating machinery of government at DPP’s disposal, Wamakko’s political worth came to bear heavily as the then PDP roundly trounced the DPP. The ‘SAI ALU’ slogan is still very much alive in Sokoto politics. The numerous court cases that trailed Wamakko’s defeat of the DPP, the annulment of his election and the fresh election which he won fair and square all testified to his political relevance and worth in Sokoto State and how dear he is to the people.
Wamakko’s defection to the APC was not self-serving as he and some Governors became alarmed with the trend of happenings in the PDP which proved unfavorable to the fortunes of the party. They left the party as there was no mechanism for making necessary amends. His defection to the APC with all the 23 Local Government Chairmen, State Assembly Members, all Commissioners and all special Advisers was another proof that Wamakko’s political calculation is very sound. Before joining it, the Sokoto APC had virtually no suitable office accommodation anywhere in the State; but today the APC is everywhere in all the words in Sokoto State. As a mark of his political acumen the national body of the APC mandated Wamakko to steer its maiden National Convention exercise. Perhaps, the national body of the party reckoned with the success recorded by the Sokoto APC in conducting its various congresses from the Wards to the State level. The Sokoto APC congresses were held successfully without rancour, unlike in some states where the congresses where mired in controversies, but later settled.
The APC at the national level wanted a taste of the Wamakko spirit at the convention, hence the choice of governor Wamakko to lead the exercise. The exercise turned out to be another success story for the APC. Again, the APC conceded the inauguration of the North West Zone executive council of the party to Sokoto State as a mark of honour and trust to Governor Wamakko. The Inauguration was a huge success as all the Seven states within the zone were massively represented. That singular feat has gone extra miles to illustrate Wamakko’s mobilization and organizational abilities.
Today, APC is on its way to forming the next government in Sokoto State come 2015, because all the requisite signs are there with the undying Sokoto SAI ALU slogan still renting the air. The bottom line is, Governor Wamakko has not betrayed his people, so the people are solidly behind him, he understands what democracy is by carrying everybody along.
Now that the leadership Newspaper had found Governor Wamakko worthy of its prestigious award as its politician of the year, it is another loud testimony of his ever – rising profile as a politician worth his salt, a politician who knows his onions, a politician who knows politics inside out and a politicians’ politician. It is normal to bestow honour where it is due, recognizing governor Wamakko as an indefatigable politician is appropriate as this will further spur him to greater feats politically as we approach 2015.
Mohammed S. Umar via Solid2007@yahoo.com