A published article under the above caption came to us in Sokoto not as such, with a bang or a surprise. For those of us used to their trademark antics, political pranks and abracadabra, the authors were just simply out with their well known, well worn game of obfuscation and, perhaps, desperation. We can only wish to appeal to the Honourable Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), not to be bothered by the recent petition against the Sokoto State Resident Electoral Commissioner, sent by a group calling themselves “31 Political Parties in Sokoto State”. These shadowy elements are working at the behest of their retainers, the Sokoto state APC and by extention their leader, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko.
It is indeed an irony that the current petition was sent to you, the same INEC chairman that Senator Wamakko and his cohorts in the recent past tried to discredit over recent visit to the Sultan of Sokoto in Kaduna, alleging that you and the Sultan were plotting to favour the PDP in the state over an election that had at the time been concluded and they had instituted procedures to challenge in court. Addressing their latest petition to the same INEC chairman confirms either their previous or current allegation to be mischievous and false; Or else, how could they demand justice from the same person they had earlier accused of conspiring to favour their opponent, thereby casting aspersions on his credibility?
Typical of desperate Nigerian politicians, who must win elections by all means fair or foul, Senator Wamakko and his co-travellers regard any official in the line of duty, who does not pander to their blind ambition as an agent of the opposition.
Sadly for Wamakko and his motley of fellows, no amount of pre-emptive propaganda against INEC, its officials or indeed the State Election Petition Tribunal members, who may be his next target, if he is not checked, can turn back the hands of time and allow him to realise his ultimate delusion of being the Emperor of Sokoto state, ruling by proxy, through the prostrating posture of his hand-picked stooge.
With the benefit of hindsight, it is pertinent to recall that in the course of 2019 general elections in Sokoto state, considerable number of politicians who pitched tent with the APC did that mainly to take advantage of the federal might which they hoped would be brought to bear to guarantee victory for the party. They were fair weather comrades, who barely positioned themselves to benefit from President Muhammadu Buhari’s bandwagon followership, especially in the Northern part of the country.
Most of them ignored the fact that the average voters are gradually becoming more sophisticated, enlightened and discerning. The voters in Sokoto know those who went to APC to secure sanctuary from possible EFCC probes of monumental corruption against them. It was indeed instructive that the people ignominiously rejected the cronies of those discredited politicians, who were propped up to run in the governorship election in the state.
In spite of glaring deficiencies, they made efforts to coerce, harass, intimidate and induce public officials charged with the responsibility of ensuring successful elections in the state to pander to their wishes. Most of the security agencies had to redeploy their heads from the state obviously on account of allegations of bias levelled against them by the same APC .
The governorship election was eventually declared inconclusive after a clear victory of the PDP, which was a reflection of the wishes of the generality of the electorate of Sokoto state. Fervent and sustained prayers across all local governments of the state preceded that inconclusive declaration. God answered the prayers of the populace and in spite of the antics of the APC, supported by massive deployment of human and financial resources from the neighbouring states of Zamfara and Kebbi, PDP emerged victorious with a slim margin of 342 votes!
Coming face to face with rejection at the polls and the resultant loss of the privileges he enjoyed for being with governments in power for 20 years, Senator Wamakko led his co-travellers to the elections tribunal to challenge the election victory.
It, therefore, beats the imagination of all decent and peace loving Nigerians why APC has refused to patiently await the outcome of its case in the court. Meanwhile, their state party chairman, the DG of their campaign and several top officials of the APC have been conducting themselves in total disrespect for the tribunal by granting press interviews that are subjudice to the ongoing case. Even their current petition against the Sokoto State Resident Electoral Commissioner is an unnecessary and vindictive diversion from the process at the tribunal. Otherwise, if APC were certain of their current accusations against the Resident Electoral Commissioner, they should have made them part of their case at the tribunal.
All in the know in Sokoto are aware that meanwhile, their supporters and more importantly, campaign fund creditors are since the beginning of the trial being preemptorilly assured of the inevitability of victory, on the assuaging and easily to sell even as it is unintelligibly impracticable assurance of“federal might”.
It is expedient by way of illustration at this stage to draw attention to Senator Wamakko’s seeming penchant for being at the centre of controversies that threaten the integrity of constituted authorities and due process. Inference can be made to his role in the inglorious Justice Ayo Salami saga of 2008 which perilously put the image of the judiciary in serious jeopardy. It captured the intrigues and scheming to literally blackmail Justice Salami out of an otherwise outstanding judicial career, among other collateral casualties, solely motivated by a raging ambition to rule Sokoto stare, by any means necessary. Now, the same individual has launched what comes across as a palpable reckless misadventure against the entire electoral system, in which our hallowed judiciary and revered traditional institution are possible casualties.
Say, that is vintage Aliyu Magatarkarda Wamakko, but fact is the rest of us are wiser today.
Comrade Adamu writes from Rujin Sambo, Sokoto