As the February 18, 2012 date of the Sokoto State gubernatorial election gets closer, the nation once again hold its breath in anticipation of the victor in this age-long tussle for political dominance in Sokoto State. The former Governor of the state, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, a one-time stooge of another former Governor of the state, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, appears set to return to the Government House in Sokoto but for the fall-out between him and his political master, Bafarawa. He has tried several times to discredit what Bafarawa, who was born on October 4, 1954, achieved as the governor of Sokoto State between May 29, 1999 amd May 29, 2007.
Bafarawa, an astute politician who started his career as a local government councillor in charge of Education in the then Sokoto State, has always been steadfast at attempting to reclaim the seat at the caliphate. He was a member of the Great Nigeria Peoples Party. In 1997 he co-founded the United Nigeria Congress Party and later the All People’s Party. He was the caretaker chairman of the ANPP, the sole financier of the Democratic Peoples Party and a co-founder of the Action Congress of Nigeria.
The international community attests to the contribution made by the Bafarawa administration to the development of the state. To corroborate this, Wikipedia holds in its record that Bafarawa’s government made significant improvements in the quality of roads. Schools were upgraded and enrollment greatly improved due to assurances that all pupils would be educated. Water supply was improved through construction of boreholes.
Less than two months after Bafarawa left office, the state’s attorney-general forwarded a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission asking for the investigation of his actions in office, a campaign of lies and deceit instigated by Wamakko. It was shocking to the nation that the EFCC failed to question Wamakko’s involvement in the alleged financial misappropriation since he was part of the alleged Bafarawa Cabal that ruled Sokoto State for seven years at the time. At this point, a Sokoto State Commission of Inquiry was set up by Wamakko solely to discredit Bafarawa.
Bafarawa was subjected to humiliating restrictions targeted at his political credence. His passport was seized, he was put in the dock a few times by the agents of the then Czar of the EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri, who was later sacked on suspicious grounds bordering corruption. In order to deliberately frustrate Bafarawa, his court cases were often held on days when crucial political meetings or congresses are slated for. This was the norm particularly during the last gubernatorial election in Sokoto State and also during the presidential election held in April 2011.
The decision made by the apex court of the nation to unseat Wamakko has yet again given the Independent National electoral Commission the authority to schedule a new time for another battle for the hearts and minds of the people of Sokoto State. A battle line is already drawn between Wamakko (PDP) and Alhaji Yusha’u Muhammed Ahmed (ANPP), who is Bafarawas candidate. It is of general belief that by the ruling of the Supreme Court as it affects the oath of office and oath of allegiance, Wamakko is not supposed to contest election as governor again. He, however, is slated to contest again after successfully winning the PDP primaries in the state.
The time is set yet again. The players are rapidly seeking votes all over the state. Will life reshuffle the deck of cards with the shield of the caliphate coming out victorious? Time will tell.
Adegoke wrote from [email protected].