BY ZUBAIR ABDULLAHI SADA
Amidst the gale of defections ravaging the political atmosphere of our country, there have been indications from different quarters that Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state may have concluded plans to abandon the All Progressive Congress (APC) for his former political party, the Peoples Democratic Party. This development may not come as a surprise to political observers, but to the general public who are still shocked at the exit of one of the best vibrant governors from the ruling party, it is pertinent to reveal his grievances with the APC perhaps this might clear the air of misconstructions of his defections been fed to the public.
In 2015, it was indisputable that the Wamakko factor in Sokoto politics was visible and his structures helped Aminu Tambuwal to defeat Senator Abdallah Wali of the PDP to emerge as the state governor coupled with an undeniable fact that Tambuwal’s credible profile as an experienced parliamentarian, his nationalistic vision, detribalized lifestyle and popularity with people cutting across party, religion and ethnic lines were instrumental in making him a valuable asset to become the populace choice in the 2015 governorship election.
As a man with high political tolerance and listening ears, he understands the need to work with Wamakko’s political family who was resourceful during the electioneering process which as a result gave birth to a harmonized APC family in the state. Tambuwal believes greatly in exchange of ideas, working together for common good of the masses. Then, a united and forward-thinking administration sail off.
To show that he was a man of his words, prior to the election, Tambuwal allowed Wamakko to choose his current deputy governor Ahmed Aliyu and after the take-off of his administration, the governor conceded top cabinet positions to senator Wamakko political family. You would be surprised the Wamakko was given free hand to select virtually all-council chairmen in the state. Tambuwal indeed is a trustworthy and benevolent leader.
To give maximum respect and honoUr to the Ex governorship status of Wamakko, all subsequent appointments to departments, agencies and boards were all endorsed by Senator Wamakko, he takes the lion share in the distribution of these appointments.
In worsening the financial status of the state, Wamakko left an empty treasury with huge debt profile which the governor refused to disclose to anyone. Tambuwal is the only Governor in Nigeria who did not disclose the status of the state treasury when he assumed office in 2015. He turned a blind eye to the financial recklessness and fraud perpetrated by the last administration. He kept all these scandalous revelations to himself whereas Wamakko rose to a full-blown political Godfather.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was the numerous inherited and abandoned projects by Wamakko’s regime. In most cases according to an inside source, the funds for such projects have completely been paid for but not executed at all or partially executed. Tambuwal continued to pay debts incurred by Wamakko and surprisingly the contractors handling most of the project were allies of Wamakko, to the extent that the Governor could not initiate new projects of his own. Tambuwal’s administration at inception was loaded with ponderous financial burdens.
Unruffled by the awful scenario, the inside source reveals that Tambuwal still consults Wamakko on virtually all issues before taking decisions. For a respectful politician he is, he bows to greet Wamakko even in public, refers to him as his political leader and elder brother at every opportunity. Wamakko once told a gathering at his house that; ‘Tambuwal has been loyal and respectful to him beyond his expectations, and if Tambuwal were his biological son, he couldn’t have done better’.
It was also alleged that the governor’s supporters were disturbed by rumours that Tambuwal continued to bankroll Wamakko’s expenditure while serving as the senator of the federal republic. Can loyalty be more than this?
Historically, Nigerian political parties have largely revolved around individuals or Godfathers who parade themselves as the best people to dictate the political tune of their geographical territory. Unperturbed by this fact, Tambuwal had total trust in his political leader and pursued their agenda with committed spirit and zealousness.
Unknown to Tambuwal, Wamakko has an ulterior motive to kick him out from office. A reliable source said the senator has perfected plans to install his preferred candidate as the next number one citizen of the state in 2019 Faruk Yabo, a former commissioner of finance & local government or Ahmed Aliyu, the current deputy governor are the candidates been considered to replace Tambuwal. The plot began.
A source revealed that Ahmed Aliyu highly expects Wamakko to make him the flag bearer of the party in 2019 as supposed to Faruk Yabo. It is said that Aliyu and Yabo have not been in good terms for over the years to the extent that Ahmed prefers to pledge his loyalty and allegiance to Tambuwal than to support Wamakko to install Yabo as the governor.
Interestingly, Governor Tambuwal and senator Wamakko do agree on a lot on issues bothering Sokoto state at the federal level. The duo complained about the continuous neglect from the presidency over appointments, projects & other benefits to commensurate their effort that won the 2015 presidential elections. The Governor sought for FG’s intervention over the Goronyo dam depletion which put over 4 million lives at risk. After several failed promises by the Buhari led administration, the two state leaders agreed to cross carpet to PDP.
Luckily for Governor Tambuwal, his associates within the Presidency hinted him about several secret meetings between Wamakko and Buhari inner political circus, slandering and defaming the good name of the governor. It was revealed that Wamakko boasted he would singlehandedly deliver the state for APC in the upcoming presidential election in 2019 only if Tambuwal is taken out of the picture.
Tambuwal who is not A fan of political confrontation tried his best to seek an audience with the president to clarify the alleged rumours but it appeared that Wamakko had outsmarted him in the play of power politics.
It was unbelievable that the ever-peaceful state woke up to hear the news of the invasion of armed bandits killing 32 persons in Rabah local government two weeks ago. Saddened by this tragedy, Tambuwal frowned at the killings and blamed it on leadership failure.
According to Tambuwal, ‘the growing spate of mindless shedding of innocent blood has a brought a new reprehensible state of insecurity in the country. That is not what Nigerians voted for in 2015’’, Tambuwal stated.
The governor’s statement was the gun-powdered words Wamakko needed to ignite Tambuwal’s opposition stance to President Buhari administration.
Hours after his speech on advising the President on the need to rejig the nation’s security chiefs, Tambuwal came under attack from the host of presidency media forces questioning his audacity to challenge the GCFR over Rabah killings, he was labelled as an enemy of the state, even pro Wamakko civil society groups accused the governor as the mastermind of the attacks. It was obvious that Tambuwal was already in the black book of Aso rock power brokers. Wamakko succeeded in the plot.
It will come as a shock to many Sokoto indigenes and beyond that Wamakko could betray Governor Tambuwal who has served almost as his protégé since coming to office 3 years ago. Tambuwal has been loyal, respectful and submissive to his political leader to the annoyance and detriment of himself and his most loyal supporters.
But for those who are familiar with Wamakko political traits, his betrayal should not come as a surprise because of his history of betraying his political associates. History has it that he also backstabbed his former boss Bafarawa. It is also in history that in 2007, Wamakko ditched Buhari at the eleventh hour to join Obasanjo’s PDP after securing the APP governorship ticket, leaving them with no candidate to field due to time constraints.
Irked by the betrayal against the governor, Tambuwal’s supporters, loyalist and good people Sokotooto have assured him of total support in his next political move. As they say, every betrayal contains a perfect moment, a coin stamped heads or tails with salvation on the other side.
The time has come for Governor Tambuwal to take the bull by the horn and push back against Senator Wamakko and take his political destiny in his own hands and find refuge in another political movement that support his ideology.
One thing clearly stands out, Governor Aminu Tambuwal is fearless in the face of intimidation.