The recent defection of Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, from the All Progressive Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2019 general elections is no longer news. It is obvious that the governor’s move has altered political calculations already established by some political analysts and is now of keen interest in relation to unfolding events, especially the governorship race.
Reports say that the former Speaker of the House of Representatives may seek the presidential ticket on the platform of his new party. At the moment, his defection is still the talk of the town among his political supporters and admirers both in and out of the state.
The governor was not alone on the defection card, as 18 members of the House of Assembly led by its Speaker, Hon. Salihu Maidagi, also jumped the ship with him. He also garnered support of a Senator representing his Senatorial zone, Alhaji Hassan Danbaba Dambuwa two members of the House of Representatives who represent Yabo/Shagari and Tambuwal/Kebbe constituencies, few former commissioners and few party executive members, among others.
While making his declaration, Tambuwal had informed party supporters that issues of good governance, and economic wellbeing of his people were part of the reasons for his defection to PDP. He said his return into the party he left in 2015 was done in clear conscience, pledging his resolve to contribute towards improving the lives of Nigerians and expanding opportunities for the youths.
“In line with the best tradition in any major political decision, especially by a serving elected governor, I have painstakingly consulted far and wide if the present political is a viable vehicle for achieving the aspiration of our people. I am convinced that no nation can thrive while there is inequity and bad governance; because I am saddened by the fact that lethargy, incompetence and sustained denial of obvious leadership mis-steps have become the major raw materials with which the Nigerian State is being run today.
“And above all, my I am totally unable to reconcile myself to a national leadership that offers no redeeming moral beacons I am here with you today; to announce withdrawal of membership of the All Progressives Congress and the return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)” Tambuwal further explained.
However, it appears his reasons were not substantial enough to convince a few of his political associates such as his predecessor and political benefactor, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, his deputy, Hon. Ahmad Aliyu Sokoto, the APC state chairman, Hon. Sadiq Achida among other big names, as it may have fallen on their deaf ears.
The new development, done is seen by political watchers as not-too-good for the governor political calculations ahead of the elections in the state. They argue that having known that political weights of Wamakko and his structure could either pull or push any politician aspiring for elective positions within and outside the state.
On the other hand, Tambuwal’s camp and PDP members believe that the time has come to establish a new political frontier that could accommodate some fresh and aspiring politicians who may not share Wamakko’s ideology.
But while Tambuwal’s supporters are still in a celebratory mood over the defection, his predecessor whom many consider as the undisputed godfather of Sokoto politics, was quick to dismiss Tambuwal’s political move and saying that he would need to prove his political worth before the presidency and electorate in the state. Perhaps his strong and chosen words against his erstwhile political son (Tambuwal) are a strong indication of his ally current relationship Buhari’s political movement.
Wamakko said the purported crowd that converged at the governor’s rally should be considered a “mere joke”.
He said: “Whatever crowd you might have seen or told, just take it as a mere story. As a matter of principle, it is not in my character to abuse people, but, what I am assuring is that, Sokoto State is an APC state.”
“But, maybe something else is guiding his decision. This is the worst decision he has taken in his life. At his age, he should not be in a hurry. He is a fine young politician; I have a lot of respect for him. If he had considered of the people he is representing, the people of Sokoto State, he should not have gone into the PDP.
Not satisfied with his chosen words on Tambuwal, the former governor went ahead to stage a welcome home rally in the state. Which was considered the biggest in recent political activities in the state, caused a heavy and long traffic jams. The motive, according to some observers was to enable both the presidency and electorate assessment his political supremacy over the incumbent governor.
The mega rally drew APC supporters from within and outside Sokoto State. The sea of heads of party supporters, associates and perhaps loyalists of President Buhari that followed Wamakko’s motorcade from the Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar III International Airport to his Gawon Nama residence.
It took about five hours for the heroic politician and his supporters to cover the seven kilometers distance between the Airport and his residence where he later addressed them. Without mincing words, Wamakko used re-election bid of President Buhari in 2019 general elections as a rally point of his support for APC when addressed the crowd.
Speaking at the event, the former governor said his support for President Muhammadu Buhari is gear to bring the dividends of democracy at the doorsteps of Sokoto people. He also dismissed insinuations that, the President has not executed any meaningful projects in the State.
The lawmaker who was overwhelmed by the number of the supporters that converged on his residence assured that, the state completely belongs to the APC, while the people of the state are solidly behind President Buhari.
On the recent defection of successor from APC to the PDP, Wamakko clarified before the crowd that the political battle is not a competition between himself and Tambuwal, but, between APC and the PDP.
Others who spoke at the mega rally include the state chairman of APC, Hon. Isa Sadiq Achida who maintained that, the people of the state are solidly behind President Buhari and Senator Wamakko. According to him, Senator Wamakko’s eight year tenure as Governor between 2007 and 2015 had greatly bolstered the state’s even socioeconomic development.
Also speaking, Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir said he and seven, of the 11 members of the House of Representatives from the state were firmly behind President Buhari and Senator Wamakko, based on mutual respect and trust.
The spokesman of some House of Assembly members who have remained in the APC, Sani Alhaji Yakubu, representing Gudu constituency, also said that some of the 18 members of the House who defected to the PDP were striving to rejoin the APC.
Former Budget and Economic Planning Commissioner, Alhaji Bala Kokani, recalled than that, Senator Wamakko was more accessible as Governor of the state, c than what obtained recently when they were members of the state executive council.
A former Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Muhammadu Maigari Dingyadi, said President Buhari been keeping to his campaign promises, to revive the nation’s economy, tackle insecurity and fight corruption.
A frontline gubernatorial aspirant of the APC in the state, Alhaji Faruk Malami Yabo, who was also a former Finance Commissioner in the state, also vowed that the current tempo of support to the party would be sustained until president Buhari is reelected in 2019. Those who graced the event include the incumbent Nigeria’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Ambassador Sahabi Isa Gada, and the former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Morocco, Ambassador Abubakar Shehu Wurno, among others.
Given these and many more other factors there is no doubt that the actions and inaction of both Tambuwal and his predecessor have definitely altered the political dynamics of the state.
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