By Sahabi Garba
Since the return to democracy in 1999 political contests in Sokoto state have between those desiring to serve and those crafting for personal relevance in Abuja. PDP falls in the latter category. Indeed, the makeup of PDP in Sokoto shows a collection of folks that are far removed from the masses. In 1999 the party rode on personality showmanship and greed that witnessed massive appropriation of means of mobilisation. That resulted in shameful defeat by progressives in the then All Progressive Party (APP) that later became All Nigerian Progressive Party (ANPP).
The emerging government of APP proved itself in execution of projects that impacted in modern trend. Younger generations were brought on board for governance of the state. The first tenure of that government was development focused in economic and social lives of the people. The masses of Sokoto State rallied in continuous support of the peoples-oriented government. Obviously, PDP continually depleted in strength. Expectedly, the top members of the party pitched their tents in Abuja in chase of contracts and membership of boards of parastatals. However, things started to drift apart mid-way into the second term of Governor Attahiru Bafarawa’s government. The problem was a perceived rising profile of Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko who was deputy governor. There was increased plot to rubbish him out of that government to stop his emergence as successor to Governor Attahiru Bafarawa.
At the national level crisis rocked ANPP because of dictatorial tendencies of some members of the party. It culminated to split of ANPP. A group led by the former governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, broke away to form Democratic Peoples Party (DPP). Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko remained in the main stream ANPP. The heat of frustration by that government and the need to maintain peace convinced Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko to resign as deputy governor. He was presented as governorship candidate of ANPP and enjoyed mammoth support of the Sokoto progressives. The trail was certain of victory against the candidates of PDP and DPP towards the 2007 general elections. PDP aware of imminent decimation after eight years of irrelevance in Sokoto desperately entered into merger contrivance with ANPP with Alu as governorship candidate. The arrangement resulted in victory for PDP as the winning party in Sokoto and emergence of Governor Wamakko. The Abuja men returned to home base to demand greater relevance in spite of the fact that their presence created unnecessary litigations against overwhelming victory of Governor Wamakko. In any case, Governor Wamakko continued the work of the progressives in massive development projects. Sokoto State as a whole has witnessed real economic transformation in the tenure of Governor Wamakko.
The crisis that rocked PDP last year necessitated a rethink about the continued dominance of the party in the national governance. The progressives in the party wanted some reform to reflect the mood of the nation in the 21st century, but the leadership of the party maintained a very consecutive stance that exhibited archaic philosophy. Governor Wamakko though at the receiving ends of that bad leadership calmly and patriotically employed every reconciliatory arsenal to broker understanding in the national interest but hit stone wall. When all entreaties to amicably sustain the party through concrete reforms failed the progressive group decided to join All Progressive Congress (APC). APC as a mega party has in its fold ANPP major stakeholders that still hold Governor Wamakko in high esteem. Therefore, it is home coming for Governor Wamakko.
In accordance with APC arrangement Governor Wamakko became the leader of the party in Sokoto State. His leadership position has ensured effective and efficient mobilisation of the masses to support the party. APC as a party of progressives is now formidable to win elections in various offices in Sokoto. It could not have fared better without the leadership of Governor Wamakko. The progressives are certain of a mass appeal governorship candidate that shall ensure their retention of Lodge Road, Sokoto.
On the contrary, PDP is now a confused pack of strange bed fellows. The defection of ex-governor of Sokoto State to the party compounds their woes. This is a man that intimidated them for eight years. The bossy nature of this group shall definitely spell doom for PDP. There are speculations of flaunt “original” PDP and joiners. There is also in-fighting as to which group will produce governorship candidate for 2015 elections. The Abuja fronts are mobilising as usual for the spoilers’ game. It is going to be interesting melodrama that shall ensure smooth contest for the progressive APC to continue provision of dividends of democracy.
The greatest problem of the Sokoto PDP which has deprived it of cohesion and unity is greed and personal ambition of members. This has become its greatest undoing over years and would continue to haunt them. Sokoto State masses are wiser to vote the party of the people, especially the grassroots. Moreover, it is becoming clearer that Governor Wamakko is in full control of Sokoto politics that PDP merely benefitted from his winning charisma. He had consistently won 100% victory for PDP in Sokoto.
Garba resides at 301 Abdullahi Fodiyo Road, Sokoto