In this report, ANKELI EMMANUEL writes about how the Sokoto State chapter of the All Progressives a Congress (APC) was able to hold congresses devoid of rancour unlike what played out in some states where parallel congresses were held.
The popular slogan that ‘in unity we stand, disunity we fall’ played out very prominently in Sokoto State as witnessed in the just concluded congresses of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Though most observers would certainly have their interpretations to how Sokoto state APC congresses went on without encumbrances, that, however, does not underscore the fact that, mutual understanding does not play critical role in human endeavours, politics inclusive.
No doubt, the ward, local and state government congresses have come and gone, leaving behind bitter tales in some states. But, for many political historians, the 2018 APC congresses in Sokoto State will continue to remain a reference point because of the unimaginable peace that was achieved with ease.
It is a known fact that the genesis of the bitter crisis that followed APC congresses in most states remained a battle of supremacy between either predecessors and successors or political gladiators in the party.
This is more so that in the Nigerian political clime, he who controls the party structure is seen to have pocketed the power and decides who gets what and when as well.
Therefore, the scheming over who controls party structure has ever been a very fierce one and will remain so until a certain level of fairness can be guaranteed courtesy of political maturity.
For Sokoto State in particular, speculations were rife but divided from the onset that, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal would want to change the existing party structure using the congresses.
Others were of the opinion that, hence, government is a continuous process, and because the duo of Tambuwal and and his predecessor, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko hold each other in high esteem, there would not be any need for the governor to start thinking of a new structure.
While speculations continue to go viral, others weighed the options from the scale of disbelief to say, after all, the governor would not be bordered about state congresses much hence, he is alleged to have been engaged in nocturnal meetings with political heavyweights from across the federation concerning 2019 presidency.
But the governor seems to have proven those with such political notion wrong not only because he stayed back in the APC until the congresses but equally admitted that the APC congresses so far held in Sokoto under his watch remained the most peaceful across the federation.
As expected, Tambuwal, whom many described as a political mathematician and a super moderator in calming threadbare nerves, however warned APC faithful to admit dissecting voices in any given party politics as part of the system.
The governor, who is the immediate past Speaker of the 7th National Assembly, had forewarned that it’s not time for political squabbles in Nigeria.
In his appeal to the party members across the federation, Tambuwal warned that they should embrace peace so as not to heat up the already existing multiple challenges confronting the nation.
Looking visibly happy with the turnout of party loyalists in his country home during the APC local government congress, the former number 4 citizen acknowledged that dissenting voices must surely come from within hence all that matters is the ability to reach an agreement.
The governor further rated all the APC congresses held in the state as the most peaceful in the federation because, according to him, it was a display of political maturity via unanimous consensus.
“The congresses in Sokoto state have been very, very peaceful. Party men and women have been very orderly. And like we did during the ward congress, we have agreed to go by consensus which I believe was what was carried out in virtually all the 23 local governments in the state. So, I believe it’s being quite peaceful.
“Well, I am appealing to all APC members to embrace peace. This is not time for political squabbles in Nigeria. We need a lot of peace in this country. We are already having enough challenges in the country; hence we don’t need to add up political heat to that”
“I think if you may recall, I cautioned against early electioneering campaigns about 5 months ago. I really warned our leaders in the country not to submit to the cajoling of people coming to say you must contest; you must do this or do that. Because when you open up that, that is what you get and that is what we are facing now in APC.
While reiterating that only God gives power, Tambuwal said, as Nigerians, it should be a collective responsibility towards ensuring a peaceful nation.
“Therefore, I am appealing to Nigerians and members of the public to continue to believe in God. It is only God that gives power. No one else. And once you have that believe and conviction, you will just be yourself and whatever God has destined for you, you will come and have it.
“So, I appeal that we should try as leaders in the interest of this country to ensure that we have a very, very peaceful political campaign”, Tambuwal noted.
In the same vein, the same consensus was reached in the election of the State Executive members as mere voice confirmation was the determining factor that led to their emergence.
Registering his shock over the political maturity exhibited by the people of the state, National Election Monitoring Committee Chairman, Brig. Gen Joseph Okonkwo Jude, admitted he has never seen such politics without bitterness.
According to him, he is now better convinced on why the successes or otherwise of any politician in Nigeria is tied to the support he or she gets from Sokoto state.
Those elected include Hajiya Hadiza Abdullahi as Women Leader, Abubakar Yaro as Youth Leader, Nafiyu Bello Basakwacce as deputy youth leader, Alhaji Mukhtari Maigona as Vice Chairman while Publicity Secretary was clinched by Yusuf Abdullahi Ilarus.
Aminu Liman Bodinga emerged Financial Secretary, Legal Adviser goes to Mukhtar Mamuda Yabo and Bashir Isah Jabo became the Organising Secretary while Haruna Adiya emerged as Treasurer, among others.
Not oblivious of the fact that consensus cannot be reached without striking some cord of disaffection, Tambuwal had earlier appealed to all party members to exhibit the spirit of sportsmanship.
“Even in the family, you have dissenting voices but what is important is to ensure that we listen to everybody and all the concerns and fears that such people raised are addressed and everybody assured of equity.
“For me, I think it’s very normal in a political environment to have such dissenting voices
“My appeal to the new party ledgers is that they should continue to work in harmony with members of the party. They should make sure that they carry members of the party along, open more doors for more members to join the party. That is very clear and fundamental hence I believe that as a leader if, you listen to your followers, you will always have them on your side.
“They should always listen to members of their party. They should be very fair, equitable, and just to members of the party”.
For Gen. Joseph Okonkwo and other national observers, their puzzle was beyond the voice affirmation to cover the degree of patience exhibited by party faithful that Saturday midnight.
Ordinarily, the state APC congress was to hold within the hours of the day. However, for the mutual understanding of party loyalists and the governor, it was rescheduled for 9:00pm.
And for party loyalists to have waited patiently in their thousands till late into the night just because of a state congress, was beyond comprehension, as explained by most observers.
As expected, all those that mattered politically in the party ranging from the Deputy governor, Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto; Senators Abdullahi Danbaba Danbuwa, and Abdullahi Gobir, APC North-West Zonal Chairman, Bar. Inuwa Abdulkadir amongst others were all seated.
Amusingly, however, the presence of all the dignitaries never elicited ovation from the patiently waiting party loyalists because according to them, they were all waiting to see their idol, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko who was dazzlingly absent.
For the crowded delegates, Senator Wamakko’s presence meant everything to them. The expressions in their faces despite the darkness would prove to any sensible observer that something was missing.
Having looked at the sea of party loyalists that gathered in the Giginya Stadium that Saturday night for the state congress and how worried they were because of the absence of Senator Wamakko, Tambuwal opened up on the brain behind the success of the congress.
Tambuwal, who divulged that the entire consensus was arrived at in consultation with Senator Wamakko, added that, the Senator was actually on his way to Saudi Arabia for the Lesser Hajj that same day.
Speaking on how he holds Senator Wamakko in high esteem, Tambuwal tendered unreserved apology on behalf of the Senator, stating that he has gone on a religious obligation.
The mere mention of Wamakko by the governor went a long way in calming the crowd. However, they gathered in clusters to express their feelings in hush tones.
When SUNDAY LEADERSHIP interacted with most of the patiently waiting crowd at about 10:00 pm that fateful day, some of them expressed disappointment that Wamakko was not physically present.
The visibly worried crowd freely opened up on why a good number of them exhibited such patience by saying, it was simply that they wanted to greet the former governor.
In the words of one Bello, who said he was from Tureta local government area, which is about 50km from the metropolis, he would have not even come had he known that Wamakko would not be in the congress.
When asked his reasons for such conclusion, Bello sighed some relief and said, Senator Wamakko meant everything for everybody in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states.
According to him, apart from the late Northern Nigerian Premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello, (Sarduana of Sokoto) they have not had any other politician that holds the masses in high esteem like Senator Wamakko in the region.
Bello who, said, though, he was told about Sir Ahmadu Bello’s leadership qualities by his parents because he was not born then, added that, amongst the most appealing qualities of the late Premier which Wamakko possesses in excess was humility, hospitality, tolerance and selflessness.
“Senator Wamakko’s compassion, commitment, pro-activeness, zeal and ever consuming passion to put the people first, over and above self, led to his introduction of several measures to make the government closer to everybody including people living with disabilities.
“For those who must have gone to the Holy city of Mecca; and are familiar with the terrain. Especially, the Ka’aba that is strategically placed at the middle of the prayer grounds they would have little or no doubt describing the personal residence of Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko as a miniature Ka’aba in Sokoto State.
“This was simply because, every single day, Senator Wamakko whom is fondly called ALU receives uncountable number of visitors in his personal residence that is strategically located around Gawon Nama area of the state metropolis.
“The fascinating aspect of the Senators receptive acme could not only be from the testimonies of those who throng into his house on daily bases to get succor but thousands including youths, women and the aged that come to get relief.
According to 32-year-old widow, Umi Abubakar on that fateful night at the Stadium, life has been very miserable for her after the death of her husband until the day she followed other widows to the house of Senator Wamakko who gave them money with which she used to start her petty business.
“I bet you that, if you are going to spend just one week in Sokoto, just endevour to visit the Gawon Nama area of the state metropolis within the weekend and f you see it for yourself how uncountable number of people from far and near will continue to throng Senator Wamakko’s personal house.
“In short, you will realise that, he is the only Senator we have in the State, because he is the only one that comes back every weekend to see his people.
“And he is the only Senator whose mobile phone number is known to almost everybody in the State unlike others”, she observed.
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