Intrigues and prospects of APC in Sokoto 2019 guber poll, by Abdullahi Isa

With his decision to go for the presidential contest, instead of seeking a second term, effectively, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State is not in contention as far as the 2019 governorship election in Sokoto is concerned.
Similarly, with the recent surprise defection of Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman from the PDP to the APC, the political landscape of Sokoto has literally become bereft of any tangible and serious opposition political party and therefore, more or less, a one-party state.
This seeming sweeping assertion is hinged on the undisputable, empirical fact that, few if any, of the rumps of persons still presently within the PDP fold has the needed political muscles and electoral war chest required in a serious, demanding encounter as that of the governorship election.
Before now, Yusuf Suleiman had been truly, the last man standing as far as the PDP family in Sokoto is concerned.
In view of the unfolding political equation and balance of forces, the impending political contest, is essentially an in-house affair and feuding between the incumbent Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu and Alhaji Farouk Malami Yabo, a former Commissioner, variously, for Finance and for Local Government and Rural Development.
The two aspirants have bought their APC expression of interest and nomination forms during the preceding week.
This development followed the failed efforts and horse trading aimed at having one of them emerged as the party’s consensus candidate.
The strong man of the APC and by extension of Sokoto Politics, Senator Aliyu Magatarda Wamakko, could not succeed in his spirited attempt to arm-twist either Farouk Yabo or Ahmed Aliyu to step down for the other.
The former two-term governor is said to have hit the brick wall in the consensus – building project, basically on account of Yabo’s refusal to accede to his mentor’s prodding to let go the ticket in favour of another of his protégé Ahmed Aliyu.
Wamakko, who reluctantly had to settle for a primary election between the two, is widely known to have been more disposed towards the incumbent Deputy Governor.
The Wamakko’s well-known mindset and predisposition has given rise to the questions making the round in political circles in the state: will he superintend a fair and free primary election by playing the objective and impartial umpire? Also being asked is: will delegates at the APC Primary election enjoy the free reigns to go for a more popular candidate in the context of the prevailing and visible preference of the wider electorate? As a former Commissioner in a number of ministries in the Cabinet of then governor Aliyu Wamakko and now Deputy Governor under Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Ahmed Aliyu is not as such, a political push over.
The youthful and zestful politician is however, widely seen as yet to garner the requisite clout and reach that make him an easy sell in the serious business of governorship election.
In the circumstance that the he gets the fly the flat of the APC, not a few political pundits, call them uncharitable cynics if you like, have permutated that the generality of Sokoto people are wont to turn their backs on the party at the polls.
The situation will be more dicey and precarious for the APC if, as it is being speculated, incumbent Governor Aminu Waizri Tambuwal makes a volte face by deciding to go back on his presidential ambition for a more realistic and plausible pursuit of a second term as governor.
That is, even beside remarks by some observes that, the APC might inadvertently be giving on a platter of gold, victory to a candidate of APGA or APC, as the case may be! On the other hand, Farouk Malami Yabo is regarded in several enlightened political circles, as possessing more of the wherewithal to easily win the race for the APC.
Otherwise a self-effacing personality with the character traits of humility but, one cast in a magnanimous and generous heart, Yabo has come a long way on the state’s political terrain and popularly perceived as having made his marks.
For instance in 2007, he went in for the election into the House of Representatives but, was stopped midway into his campaign by the then governorship candidate Aliyu Wamakko.
In 2011 and 2015, he was similarly stopped by governor Wamakko from going the whole length in his campaign for the Senate and the governorship respectively on the calculation of certain expediencies that were not as such in his own interest.
In other words, Yabo has antecedents and experience in political activism, campaign and mobilization and therefore has on the ground, political machinery that can be easily revived, oiled and expended.
Yabo also has in his favour, political assets in the achievements that were recorded and manifested while he was firstly Commissioner for Finance and later, Local Government.
As Commissioner for Finance, his diligent and deft management of the state’s finances has remained a reference point, especially among the elite.
In-fact, not a few of the elite are in the know of the critical role he played in the initiation and actualization of the projects and programmes that have remained till date, the major defining legacies of the Wamakko’s administration.
Those who yearn for infrastructural upliftment of the state by way of innovative government involvement or through private sector participation and investment will be attuned to the prospects of a Farouk Yabo’s victory all the way from the primary to the general election.
This is because, many see in him an astute business man with national and international connections that he would utilize in driving investment and economic development of the state.
Perhaps, with a long-hauled vision to the future, Farouk Yabo seemed to have also consciously gone out of his way to leave indelible foot-prints at the grassroots while he was Commissioner for Local Governments and Rural Development.
The myriad of skill acquisition, poverty eradication and rural transformation schemes that he initiated and implemented are still being enjoyed and applauded by the people.
Various international agencies and nongovernmental organizations, NGOs within the country and outside, have recognized and garlanded him for his feats in the socio-economic development of rural communities in Sokoto State.
To the extent that, the people are those who ultimately decide with their votes those who emerge as their political leaders, to that extent is Farouk Yabo appear a valuable arrow head in the coming governorship election in the state.
Be that as it may, Senator Aliyu Magatarda Wamakko, no doubt has the ace card in his hands with regards to which direction the tide will flow.
While so, he has nothing to fear in terms of assurance of the continued loyalty of who becomes the victor between Farouk Yabo and Ahmed Aliyu because, the two of them have more than demonstrated absolute loyalty to him in multiple ways.
To Wamakko therefore, it is win-win scenario wherever the pendulum swings.
Isa is an Abuja based media consultant

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