It is obvious to most observers that of all the zones struggling for position of House Leader in the current dispensation, none deserves it more than Sokoto state in the Northwest. Virtually all the Northwest states, with the exception of Sokoto, have got what Senate and House positions they wanted. Zamfara and Sokoto people don’t even have governors at the moment and need to be compensated politically. The case of Sokoto state represents an opportunity to correct a few political missteps in power sharing. For instance, of the over 600 federal parastal in this country, Sokoto state has only two or three sons as their heads, up to this day.
Someone needs to quickly draw the attention of the ruling APC national leadership in the House of Representatives and many other relevant stakeholders, including the civil society to this political challenge confronting Sokoto state. As a traditional APC territory with die-hard lovers of the party, especially amongst the masses voting population, Sokoto state deserves something much better than what it presently has.
One cannot help but salute the people of Sokoto for remaining calm as positions under the democratic system get shared out to others. If it were other states that were so overlooked in the distribution of political offices, by now President Muhammadu Buhari, APC Chairman Adams Oshiomhole and other relevant stakeholders would have been the butt of vicious media campaign. The maturity of Sokoto political elite in the face of this seeming political neglect in sharing appointive offices is therefore exemplary.
Significantly, there is now a golden opportunity to give back to Sokoto people for their loyalty and replace their lost political opportunities under the ruling APC. The party leadership has played a commendable role in the emergence of senate presidency and speakership. To complete the cycle of this laudabe effort, the party leadership needs to go the extra mile by ensuring that Sokoto state is not left behind, with the well-deserved position of House Leader. In point of fact, majority of the states within the Northwest – Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara among others – have already had their fair share of appointive political offices, whether at the level of Senate or House of Reps. This leaves Sokoto like a loner. Interestingly, as I stated earlier, the time to balance this equation is right now, before it’s too late. Some may ask: what can be done for Sokoto people in the matter of the next House Leader? Permit me to remind you of the reality on ground.
One eminently qualified candidate for House leadership among the Sokoto state members of the House of Reps is Hon Musa Sarkin-Adar, representing Gada/Goronyo Federal Constituency. Unlike the others, this is the fourth time he is honourable member. Unlike the rest, he is not constrained by age barrier and better exposed to the modern art of law-making in democracy. We are obviously in a nuclear age and it would take years for old political bubble horses, who are 70 years and above, to catch up with the latest trends of law-making. Most importantly, we need a House leader, who can flow conveniently with the young ones and the old ones in our midst. The era of very old lawmakers serving as House leaders is obviously behind us, considering that even world leaders are today the young ones, notably President of France among a host of others. The trends have changed and so is the democratic space, not just in Nigeria but the world over.
Hon Sarkin-Adar, noted for his consistency, stood on the side of Hon Femi Gbajabiamila while contested for speakership in 2015, at the point many of the lawmakers in the struggle left. For standing by Gabjabiamila, Sarkin-Adar was expectedly punished by being denied even single chairmanship of any of the House committee leadership positions. He remained calm and obedient to House Rules till this day.
Therefore, there is no gainsaying that Sokoto state’s concerns over being left behind in the calculations of House leadership this era was due to a simple case of oversight that could now be corrected. There is already the growing consensus in the Northwest that it’s time to do the needful for Sokoto, which at the very least, is for the state to be allowed to access the seat of House leader. I am one with the majority of House members making the case for Sokoto state. It is indeed time to break the jinx and let this most-historically unique and politically-savvy state produce the new House leader.
Given the majority that are making the case for Sokoto, it would be all eyes on the new set of principal leaders of the House, the national leadership of the ruling APC and Mr. integrity (our President) to put their weight behind Hon Musa Sarkin-Adar for the position of House leader. Methinks they have a duty to do the right thing at the most auspious moment. They will all be definitely remembered by history as the responsible political and elder statesmen who stood on the side of integrity, fairness, the spirit of justice and balance. I pray they will.
Ainu is Chairman of defunct CPC in Sokoto state