By Aminu Mohammed
Just like in ancient history, contemporary history also has instances of the rise and fall and rise again of many kingdoms and empires as well as kings and emperors.
In West Africa we have read in history books of how the likes of Songhay, Kenem-Borno, Ghana and Mali empires rose and fell and rose again to greatness. We have also read of their great leaders like Sundiata Keita, Sonni Ali, Mansa Musa Kankou or Kankan and many who had places of glory in history.
In contemporary Nigeria, the likes of Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the Great Zik of Africa all had political challenges before they could rise to become heroes.
It is not in doubt that in contemporary political history of Sokoto State, the next most powerful politician that has the closest to Talakawa after Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna is Senator Aliyu Magatakardan Wamakko. Before he became governor in 2007, he had already established a foundation known as Magatakarda Foundation through which several developmental projects such as feeding the needy, giving out scholarships, assisting the poor and other humanitarian services were rendered.
He allied himself with the Talakawan Sakkwato by attending important and not-so-important functions mixing with the high and low, the rich and the poor, able bodied and disabled thereby endearing himself to the majority. Unlike other politicians who are arrogant and miserly, the greatest factor that made him so popular during the 2007 gubernatorial campaigns was his magnanimity. He was for the rich and have nots, young and old, lettered and unlettered, in short in 2007 there were only TWO Gubernatorial candidates in Sokoto, Wamakko and others.
His eight-year tenure witnessed so many developmental changes in the state in almost all the major sectors of government. When he was sworn in his slogan was “a government with a listening ear” and by the time he left in 2015, Sokoto was a model. Apart from his excellent performance in the education sector by giving Sokoto a State University, he established a College of Legal Studies, College of Agriculture, School of Nursing and a boarding primary school in each of the 3 senatorial zones.
It was under his administration that a standard orthopedic hospital was built in the state while the permanent NYSC camp was also put in place. Talking about welfare, he is second to none as both civil servants and the business community benefited immensely during his administration. The provision of water and drugs to our hospitals was a necessity.
The Wamakko administration in Sokoto was an administration that had human face as it gave priority to welfare by coming out with different programmes for youths such as the Skills Acquisition Programme which captured more than 90 percent of youths in the state.
In 2015 when it was time for him to step aside he found it very easy in bringing in the then House Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who took over from Wamakko on a platter of gold. However, when Tambuwal left the APC in search of the presidential ticket under the PDP in 2019, Wamakko had to shop for a credible replacement and the mantle fell on Tambuwal’s deputy, Ahmed Aliyu who gave Tambuwal his greatest political challenge so far.
To the majority of voters, Wamakko’s APC was their choice but manipulations and horse-trading denied the party its victory at the polls.
Apparently not satisfied with the election verdict, the APC and its gubernatorial candidate headed for the courts where justice was sought but in the end judgement was given. The 3 – tier court verdicts would continue to generate national discourse for a very long time to come with so many Whys and Hows. This judgement has not tampered – one-bit, with Wamakko’s towering influence on the Sokoto political firmament.
Forty-eight hours after Supreme Court’s judgment on the 2019 Sokoto state gubernatorial election, Wamakko returned to Sokoto and the crowd that welcomed him clearly proved that despite the temporary hiccup, he is still a politician like no other at the Seat of the Caliphate and beyond. For the fourth time in 12 years, Sokoto stood still for the Sokoto political last don whose APC lost to the PDP at the supreme court in very suspicious circumstances.
In 2008 when the Court of Appeal in Kaduna annulled his election and ordered for a re run, his return to Sokoto witnessed one of the most crowd pulling receptions which rattled the opposition but the 2012 airport reception was the mother of all receptions as the aircraft carrying him had to maneuver several times before it could land since airport security could not control the unprecedented crowd.
In 2012, it took Wamakko and his entourage six hours to arrive at his residence and eight years after, this politician like no other is still controlling the political environment at the Seat of the Caliphate and beyond.
The Supreme Court had on January 20, 2020 gave a judgement, which would for a very long time to come remain as a national discourse with the how and why still remaining mysterious.
For political analysts, winning or losing election does not measure a politician’s worth, value and popularity but how firm he has grip on the electorate. This, the former governor has proved to his political opponents that, judgement could be twisted to go the wrong way but you cannot take away the love the electorate have for him.
The reception given to Wamakko on January 22, 2020 just two days after the mysterious APC loss at the Apex court is a further testimony that, the PDP in Sokoto has administrative power but the real political power, (PEOPLE) belongs to Wamakko’s APC.
Interestingly, a former, Kaduna-based aide to Wamakko hiding behind the veil of a pseudonym – Abdullahi Abubakar Majema, came up with a failed revisionism on the massive support Wamakko has sustained amongst Sokoto’s masses. In his charade, published by Blueprint newspaper, the apparently idle former media aide sought to use a special kind of propaganda brush to paint the political dominance of Wamakko in the negative. In league with the confused Tambuwal camp, which has only the office of the governor to show and not the endorsement of the masses, they have been working unsuccessfully to change the narrative about their waning popularity.
The writer, in what is apparently a failed attempt to pull a blind wool over the eyes of innocent Sokoto elite, by mischievously using the name of the Sokoto Sultanate in the mix. Sultanate has itself become an extension of the executive arm in Sokoto State. It is this negative public perception of the Sultanate’s meddlesomeness with decidedly partisan issues that explains the current anger with the Sultanate itself.
If the respect of the Sultanate is becoming increasingly low, it should not be difficult to see the emergence of Tambuwal as governor in the most questionable election in recent history. Historians would readily admit that the political history of Sokoto State has never been this bad, with royal fathers allowing themselves to be openly loyal to one political party, to the detriment of the well-being of the masses.
It is clear that the former Wamakko media aide, who availed himself to a cheap propaganda to pull down his first-ever benevolent benefactor, confirms the story of Judas. Backstabbing, like riding on the back of a Tiger is ephemeral. It won’t be long before Tambuwal and the hack attacker go for each other’s jugular. Jot it down, because any relationship anchored on the basis of the destruction of the political empire of a politician already endeared to the masses cannot hold water.
- Aminu Mohammed wrote from Sokoto