Weekly Trust

2011: When aspirants turned heat on Gov Wamakko

Ahead of the 2011 elections, the heat is now on Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto State as it were. Wamakko’s ‘enemies,’ as his supporters are wont to refer to those opposed to his style of leadership, are within and outside the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which he defected to shortly before the 2007 elections.
Among those who are angry with the governor is a former party chieftain, Alhaji Ibrahim Magaji-Gusau, who is being accused of creating discord among party faithful in the state. He said the disunity in the party began from the time Governor Wamakko decamped.
Alhaji Gusau, a former Deputy Registrar of the Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto (UDUS) and one-time Sole Administrator of Sokoto North Local Government Area, said at a press conference recently in Sokoto that since the governor decamped from the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP) to the PDP and its members whom the governor met, he referred to as the old PDP members, have not had peace and there is no level playing field for them.
“I have spoken many times, issued press statements which were carried in various newspapers on the marginalisation of the original members of the party by the state government. We made representations to the National Headquarters at Abuja but nobody seems to be responding.
“Today, we have seen how nomination forms are being sold and handled by the party under the directives of the government. It shows that a large number of the original PDP members will not be represented in the forthcoming contest. Even incumbent elected members have their hands on their chests because already the government has chosen those to be given the tickets,” he said.
Alhaji Gusau alleged that Governor Wamakko and those he decamped to the PDP with, have, in a desperate move to take over control of the party in the state and impose candidates loyal to them to contest all the elective positions in the state, decided to manipulate the sale of the party’s nomination forms, adding, “some elected members chose to present their nomination forms in Abuja to avoid being embarrassed or their forms not cleared (if they submit them in Sokoto).
Alhaji Gusau said before Governor Wamakko decamped to the PDP ahead of the 2007 elections, he (Gusau) had won the primary election to contest as a Senator in the state after paying N1.1million to the party to obtain a nomination form. He said when Wamakko joined them in the PDP, there was an agreement between the Wamakko-led decampees from the ANPP and the PDP in the state.
He said when Wamakko was to contest the governorship election under the PDP, the party’s original candidate, Alhaji Muktari Shagari, was to contest as his running mate. He said as part of the merger agreement, two of the three senatorial seats in the state were to be given to members of the ANPP who decamped to the PDP along with Wamakko.
However, Governor Wamakko, in a swift reaction, said he has no favoured candidates in the state for the forthcoming PDP primaries.
“From the position of a councillor to that of governor, I don’t have any favoured candidates as only the qualified ones will emerge. All the party members are equal to me and to the party and they have the same equal right. I take everybody as my own,” he added.
Governor Wamakko spoke in his private residence in Sokoto when he addressed hundreds of PDP supporters who gathered to welcome him to Sokoto from a two-day trip to Abuja.
Making references to recent allegations of marginalization of some PDP members in the state by Alhaji Gusau Governor Wamakko said, “God gives and takes leadership from whomsoever He wishes at the time He likes.
“There will be open, transparent and credible primary elections of the PDP in the state and God will be my witness. I urge the people of the state to desist from making provocative pronouncements during the forthcoming campaigns. The political tempo is gathering momentum across Nigeria and the state in particular and we should all be mindful of what we say.
“We should always concern ourselves with issues and not individuals,” the governor said.

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