The March 23, 2019 rerun governorship election in Sokoto State is perhaps the closest race in Nigeria’s political history. According to official results, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of the People’s Democratic Party won the governorship election by a small margin of 342 votes. Tambuwal polled a total of 512, 002 votes as against Alhaji Ahmad Aliyu of the All Progressive Party who polled 511, 660 votes.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on March 11, 2019, declared the state’s election ‘inconclusive’ and ordered a supplementary election in 22 local governments on the grounds that the margin of victory was less than the 75, 403 votes it cancelled across 136 polling centres.
While I congratulate Governor Tambuwal for winning a second term, I also extolled him for resisting the temptation to go out for a bloody electoral battle. Compared to what we witnessed in Kano, the supplementary election in Sokoto was, to say the least peaceful. However, his victory can be said to be somewhat of a mischance to the people of Sokoto state.
When Tambuwal was elected Governor of Sokoto State in 2015, rapture filled the hearts of all and sundry, thinking he had the denudation, and the bent to herd the wheel and pilot the state to the promise land. We were particularly blissful with the fact that the long-awaited redeemer of our dear state has arrived. Thoughtlessly we thought, but unfortunately, the reverse was the case.
Sooner were the elections won, it became clear that Tambuwal was not interested in providing principled leadership for the people who overwhelmingly rescued him from the political grave dug by his then PDP enemies.
Let me tell you this for free, Tambuwal was never known to stand for any edifying principles in politics. A typical careerist who lobbied his way to the top and one would strain without success to find any quotable sound bite from him. He was only lucky to be where he’s today due to the travails he suffered during the PDP leadership, the then Jonathan led notorious administration, which had an unusual efficiency in the manner it ridiculed members who fell out of favour, was all out for his head. The plight he went through then kindled sympathy and anger in the hearts of Sakkwatawa. A sympathy which created a huge wave of support for Tambuwal and the APC leadership provided him it platform to actualise his ambition. The people of Sokoto had an unshakable love for the APC due to Senator Wamakko’s and President Muhammadu Buhari’s unprecedented popularity. And so Tambuwal could ride on the crest of this goodwill, which he handsomely did all the way to Lodge Road.
Despite all this gesture, Governor Tambuwal couldn’t control the overambitious devil in him and instead of concentrating on his duties, he went ahead to focus his mind on the presidential seat, which at the end resulted in total neglect of the affairs of Sokoto State. Hence, building a reputation of being an insensitive politician who sacrificed the wellbeing of over four million people for his personal ambition.
The fact that Governor Tambuwal had to go into a rerun election with his ‘underdog’ former deputy, and only to win by the whisker, speaks volume of how unsought he is to the electorates due to his monumental underperformance in the last four years. And the credit for his recent victory should be given to the opposition APC. It’s hard to accept but the bitter truth remains that the All Progressive Congress (APC) and its leadership in Sokoto State are the sole architectures of their own failure. The party’s loss in the just concluded governorship elections can voluminously be hanged on its failure to field in the best candidate for the governorship elections, the APC candidate was imposed against the choice of the electorates and even party faithful by Senator Aliyu Wamakko, seemingly for same interest Kwankwaso fielded his Godson in Kano. But unlike Kano where I myself may consider Abba among the best option, Sokoto had far better options than Ahmad Aliyu. There’s no doubt Tambuwal would’ve by now become history had it been APC fielded the right candidate, it would have been a landslide victory for the APC since the governorship election of March 9, 2019.
Nevertheless, the APC still has a good case to present before the law as lawyers continue to debate on the appropriateness and legality of the just declared results in the state.
To those that are still celebrating the victory of Governor Aminu Tambuwal, I won’t stop you but have it at the back of your mind that it is not yet Uhuru.
Usama A. Dandare, a social commentator write from Sokoto