BELLO GUSAU writes on the battle of wits geared towards the governorship ticket of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Sokoto State in 2015.
The national secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recently appointed a 16-member caretaker committee for Sokoto State under the chairmanship of Alhaji Abdullahi Shantali Bida. The committee was received in Sokoto at a big ceremony held at the state party secretariat on Ilorin Road in Sokoto.
In a welcome address, the first state chairman of the party and former Minister of Communications, Alhaji Muhammad Arzika went down the history of Sokoto politics.
He said with the inauguration of the caretaker committee members, there was the need for them to embark on re-registration of Sokoto PDP members who had added in size through the defection of Bafarawa’s to the party.
Speaking, the state leader of the party and deputy governor of Sokoto, Muktar Shagari said with Bafarawa supporters and old PDP members coming together as well as with the support of Allah, the PDP would win the 2015 governorship election and the general elections.
He said he had told a supporter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who visited him in his house recently that the mistake the APC leadership made was allowing Bafarawa to decamp to the PDP.
He charged Sokoto PDP members to practise politics that is devoid of acrimony with a view to winning the 2015 general elections. The Sokoto deputy governor told the caretaker committee members that the success or failure of the Sokoto PDP depended on them.
When called to speak, the former governor, Bafarawa said in view of the herculean task before the caretaker committee members there was supposed to be an endowment fund for them with which to operate and take the party to greater heights.
He thus presented the committee with a N10 million cheque and four Peugeot 406 cars. He said one car should be used by the secretariat, while one should be given each to the three senatorial zones in the state.
Bafarawa challenged all the stalwarts of the party to donate to the committee so as to enable it succeed. He appealed to the people of Sokoto to desist from mixing politics with religion, saying that the same Malams being used to preach against others will be the same people who will rally round those who emerge victorious in 2015.
Battle for Sokoto PDP ticket
The Sokoto deputy governor was the first to respond by donating N1 million cash, a 16-seater bus and a pledge of N2 million monthly to the committee for the period of its assignment.
Expectedly, the deputy governor was supposed to come to the aid of the committee as the state leader of the party and as gubernatorial contender, especially given the understanding by the national secretariat that all deputy governors who refused to follow their defecting governors would automatically be candidates of the PDP in their respective states.
A former Special Adviser to the PDP national chairman, Senator Abubakar Gada who was at the occasion pledged a Peugeot 406 to the Sokoto PDP security committee, gave N1 million cash and a N3 million monthly pledge to the caretaker committee.
Also, the Nigerian ambassador to Morocco, Senator Abdallah Wali and a former Minister of Transport, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman each donated N1million cash to the committee.
Their past experiences notwithstanding, PDP elite had not changed from the way they operate politically. For a long time, they had not shown their faces until the reception in honour of the caretaker committee brought them together. According to observers, their presence as well as their action at the event was simply to pass the message that they are very much around when the time of state PDP congress comes. Pundits said from all indications, Shagari would have to face his co-donors at the reception (with the exception of Bafarawa) in a gubernatorial primary election, as they won’t easily let go their burning desire to clinch the Sokoto PDP ticket. They further opined that, even if Shagari emerges triumphant in the primary, the presidency must work on ways of retaining them and their loyalty in the party, so as to guard against their being used by the ruling party in the governorship elections. This view came against the background of the the case of Senator Wali when the two elite he defeated teamed up with Bafarawa and scuttled his ambition.