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How Wamakko won Sokoto gov election
The Sokoto State gubernatorial election was decided on February 18, with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP candidate), Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, emerging as the winner. Bello Gusau writes on the hurdles scaled by Wamakko on the road to a second term of office.
ONE can only reap where he sows.And where investment is made,profit is expected. These two phrases capture the victory of Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko in the February 18 gubernatorial election in Sokoto State. This is because the victory didn’t come to him on a silver platter, as it was the product of a series of calculated planning, organisation and implementation of his campaign strategy.
The re-elected governor deployed his political machine shortly after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary which was held on Saturday, 17th December, 2011. He formed his campaign organisation at the state level headed by the Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Mohammed Arzika Tureta. He equally formed campaign committees for the three senatorial zones, 23 local government areas as well as the 244 wards across the state.
During the inauguration of the PDP state gubernatorial campaign organisation, Wamakko charged the Director- General and members of the committee to identify with the people by attending naming and marriage ceremonies, in addition to attending burial and funeral ceremonies of the people as a way to show concern towards their cause.He also charged them to be open and sincere in their dealings with the people and to listen attentively whenever they approached them on matters of urgent attention.
Having read the terms of reference to the members of the state committee and, by extension, the members of all the campaign committees at the various levels, Wamakko ensured that they swung into action from January 18. The various committees together with members of the state Executive Council (EXCO) began campaigning at the zonal, local government and wards level across the state, though independent of the gubernatorial candidate. They also marked out time for door –to-door campaigns at polling units level with a view to selling the candidature of Wamakko. Even though the date stipulated for the election then was March 10, Wamakko still did not take chances, as his people were busy campaigning for him while candidates of other political parties were busy holidaying or doing their businesses.
However, the Supreme Court judgment which, on January 27, declared the tenures of Wamakko and four other PDP governors as having expired by May 29, 2011, caused a change in the date of the election from March 10 to February 18, a situation that caught opposition candidates by surprise. But Wamakko, who had been campaigning all along, did not have any cause for alarm over the change of the time of the election.
After the fateful court judgment, Wamakko returned to Sokoto on January 30 and two days later, re-started his campaign across the state, but this time around, with his running mate, Alhaji Muktar Shagari, in all the campaign outings. His arch-rivals were still yet to begin campaigns. In fact, the leading opposition party in the state, the All Nigeria Peoples party (ANPP) started its campaign outing barely 10 days to the date of the election.The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) started its own about a week to the election. At that time, the PDP had almost covered the entire state with its campaign.
But while all this was going on, the re-elected governor faced a critical challenge within his own party from a clique known as members of the old PDP who pitched their tent with two gubernatorial aspirants of the party, namely the immediate past sports minister, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman, and Senator Abubakar Umar Gada, all of whom Wamakko defeated during the December 17 gubernatorial primary of the PDP.
The defeat, which came through the boycott of the primary by the duo on account of their lean chances, threatened to break the party.
The aftermath of the primary was a war of words between the their camp and the Wamakko camp.
For fear of losing their support to candidates of other parties, Wamakko took a bold step to cushion the possible effect of that towards the realisation of his ambition by wooing to his fold, the erstwhile state chairman of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), Alhaji Umarun Kwabo, who is very popular but disadvantaged in the past because of the party in which he found himself and who, once in the right party, would be a ready tool for orchestrating electoral victory.
Sources close to the re-elected governor said it was the belief that Kwabo could make up for whatever loss would be incurred by Wamakko in the event that the defeated gubernatorial aspirants and their followers decided to defect to another party, as he could single-handedly deliver Sokoto South and Sokoto North local government areas which were the most densely populated areas in the state to the PDP.
Kwabo was received into the party a day to the presentation of the PDP flag to Wamakko by President Goodluck Jonathan in Sokoto.
However, the two aspirants and their supporters later on announced their desire to remain in the PDP and to support the success of the party at the elections. In what appeared to concur with the sayings “In every disadvantage, there is an advantage and in every disappointment, there is a blessing,” one thing that assisted the PDP to win the recently concluded governorship election was the judgment by the Supreme Court that terminated the tenure of office of Wamakko. This was because the new electoral act stipulates a time limit within which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should organise election to fill a governorship vacuum created by court ruling, which now forced the commission to draw back the date set aside for the Sokoto gubernatorial election. And doing so made it impossible for the INEC to apply the new voter re-registration exercise it carried out in the state to the election.
The INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, told a meeting of gubernatorial candidates and security agencies and the INEC in Sokoto ahead of the election that the change in time was necessitated by law. He further stated that due to the shifting of the election date, the commission could not satisfy the electoral law requirement to publish the new voter register for a period of one month before the election and, as such, it would not be deployed for the exercise.
Therefore, the old INEC’s voter register was the one used for the election. In that register, the PDP had more supporters. The opposition parties which had wished to have their new supporters registered for the exercise had missed the opportunity through the change of time of the election. This had put the PDP at more advantage than the opposition parties.
Needless to say, the power of incumbency enjoyed by Wamakko through the state acting governor, Right Honourable Lawal Muhammad Zayyana, whose loyalty to the re-elected governor is not in doubt, helped in no small measure to ensure the electoral victory of Wamakko. This followed through to the chairman of the 23 local government councils in the state who had in recent times been more up and doing in satisfying the wishes and aspirations of their subjects through interventions in areas of sinking of boreholes, construction of feeder roads as well as electrification of villages in their respective areas. These had eventually succeeded in persuading the rural dwellers who formed the vast majority of voters to cast their votes in favour of Wamakko.
One last thing that needs to be said about Wamakko’s electoral exploit is that the support shown towards the realisation of his gubernatorial aspiration by the women folk, who constituted the majority of the voters that exercised their franchise during the election, eventually led to the emergence of Wamakko as the winner of the Sokoto February 18 election.Share