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Sokoto’s demystification of godfathers

A long time from now, the story of the 2019 governorship election in Sokoto State will be told by different chroniclers of past events of human significance. That’s talking of the historians who dwell on empirical facts in presentation of the processes and dialectics of events in the election and its outcome. Scholars will surely reckon with the exercise simply because of its potential of turning out to be a watershed or, a historic turning point in the political annals of Sokoto State.

There were several features and dynamics that stood out Sokoto State in the context of this year’s governorship elections in the country. Not least of these was the unprecedented uprising of a people, hitherto generally seen as docile and complacent, against a seeming entrenched, formidable order. Represented largely by Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, for sundry and very salient reasons, people of Sokoto rose up to throw off a burdensome yoke of a particular form of political leadership. It was an amazing, uncoordinated and spontaneous mass revolt even without stoking or guidance by a leadership.

The demystification of the phenomenon of godfatherism in the emergence of political leadership in the state, the failure of massive deployment of money and other kinds of material inducements to sway the electorate as well as the whipping up of primordial sentiments of religious sensibilities were among other features of this year’s election that should demand scientific analysis by future writers.

Yes, in 2019, those who pride themselves as political demigods or, godfathers woefully failed to deliver victory to their anointed who flew under their wings. Stupendous sums of money were used in winning over prospective voters, community and opinion leaders in the build up to the election just as was the case in the buying of votes at the polls. But at the end of the day, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the candidate without a godfather, clinched the coveted gold medal. Significantly, the factor of monetary inducements as magic wand to electoral victory did not work the old way. In this regard, we should give a thumbs up for Sokoto people over what amounts to a new dawn in their political firmament.

In concrete terms, for the moment, number of points can be deduced from the just concluded governorship election in Sokoto. For one, the election may have resoundingly and permanently put the wind out of the political voyage of Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko. Even though, he can beat his chest for having “delivered” the state to his APC in the preceding presidential and National Assembly elections, the abysmal outing of the APC in the governorship election dealt a blow to his political stature. His loss to Tambuwal will also rebound on his political fortunes and calculations both at home and at the national stage.

Wamakko, from all indications, did not reckon with Tambuwal as having the wherewithal to wreck his boat on the voyage. An avalanche of dizzying blows dealt by Tambuwal at the polls which looked like leading to a technical knockout luckily resulted in the newly-introduced verdict of an inconclusive encounter. The rerun or the supplementary election was expectedly, preceded by fever pitch anxiety. The days appeared longer as a dark thick cloud hovered over the firmament. While the ordinary folks clustered in debates permutations and haggling, the gladiators went back to the drawing board, reviewing strategies as they reached for more arsenals in obviously depleted war chests. Of the theatre of the ‘war’, Kebbe LGA was especially the focus, because of the 75,000 votes at stake, about 20,000 were concentrated between Kuchi village and Kebbe, the council headquarters. Nothing could stop Senator Wamakko from going to Kebbe; It was critical as it was crucial for the entire essence of his political enterprise and, very significantly, his legacy in the sands of time.

In spite of all that was put into the fray, Wamakko was sent packing by the time INEC declared the pulsating, breathtaking battle over. It was a win by a mere 342 votes, but a win is a win even if it is just by a point! Like Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo, it looks like, for Wamakko. The curtains may have been drawn on a long, otherwise glorious political expedition, thanks to the epochal battle at Kebbe in the 2019 Sokoto governorship election. But as it is, while Napoleon did not rebound from his fatal outing in Waterloo, the erstwhile ‘Colossus’ of Sokoto political landscape may be riding off into the twilight of his political life in the Senate.

Ahmad wrote in from Kaduna.


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