By Jimoh Babatunde
Hon. Aminu Waziri, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, has fought and won many political battles since he was first appointed a legislative aide to the first Senate leader of the Fourth Republic, Senator Abdallah Wali. His defeat of Wali in last Saturday’s governorship poll was his latest victory.
The man Aminu Waziri Tambuwal was not in the consciousness of Nigerians until 2011 when he was thrown up by circumstances to become the Speaker of the House of Representative against the established zoning formula of his then party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Tambuwal’s political journey commenced when he was appointed in 1999 as the Senior Legislative Officer to Senator Abdallah Wali, the then Senate Leader. Incidentally, Tambuwal’s former boss was his major opponent who flew the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP last weekend.
He resigned to contest and win the Kebbi/Tambuwal Federal Constituency seat in the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2003.
Before becoming speaker in June 2011, he was deputy chief whip of the House between 2007 and 2011.
Road to the Lodge Road, the Seat of Sokoto State Government
Undoubtedly, the main person behind Tambuwal’s victory is the outgoing governor of the state, Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko who many observers see as fighting his last battle in the state to consign his predecessor in office Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa to political oblivion.
There had been no love lost between both personalities after they both worked together as Governor and Deputy Governor respectively from 1999 to 2006.
As deputy governor, Wamakko was said to have greatly endeared himself to the people of the state and it is believed that his humility made it possible for him to get notable politicians in the state to the side of the APC.
Today, almost all members of Bafarawa’s Executive Council, while he was the governor of the state are with Wamakko.
The Campaign Director of the Tambuwal team, Alhaji Muhammadu Maigari Dingyadi, was the former Secretary to the State Government under the Bafarawa administration. Others who served under Bafarawa like his Special Advisers, members of the State House of Assembly, some top shots of his former party and even a section of his family are said to be with Governor Wamakko.
Parading such heavy political weights in the state, many saw the chances of Tambuwal becoming governor as a matter of time with Wamakko behind him and that was what played out on Saturday.
And the people feel the only way to sustainable growth and development track of Governor Wamakko is to vote for Tambuwal, who they say will consolidate on all the gains and achievements of the Wamakko years.
Buhari factor: Apart from the Wamakko factor, the victory of the party’s candidates in both the Presidential election and the National Assembly elections, where the party won all available seats, prepared the ground for Tambuwal victory.
The victory of General Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential election was a contributory factor to Tambuwal’s victory as the generality of the people started mouthing the APC from top to bottom slogan.
The people of the state felt the only way the victory of Buhari could be meaningful is to have an APC led government in the state and this paid off handsomely as Aminu Tambuwal and his deputy Aliyu benefitted from it. The loss of President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential polls nailed the hope of the PDP’s stalwart to use the power of the federal might to capture the state as boasted by Bafarawa that they will win the state if it means using force.
Rancour in the PDP: A house divided itself, it is said cannot, stand. The PDP entered the contest as a divided house and paid dearly for it with the defeat of all its candidates.
Many traced the rancour in the party to the defection of Bafarawa into the party when he dumped the APC which he helped to form because Governor Aliyu Wamakko was to join the APC.
Bafarawa entry into PDP was said to have subsequently relegated the role of those who toiled to keep the party together. Stakeholders like the deputy governor, Barrister Muktar Shagari and former minister of transport, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman among others were not too happy as the party became polarised.
Many observers felt Bafarawa orchestrated the emergence of Ambassador Abdullahi Wali as the party’s flag bearer in Saturday’s election against someone like Shagari. The ripples of the party primaries still reverberated till the Election Day as many of the party stakeholders refused to be part of the campaign team of their candidate.
Traditional institution and Religion: The historical role of the traditional institution in the lives of the people could not be divulged from the outcome of the election in the state. Though without any established basis, there were wild speculations that the emergence of a PDP administration would lead to the deposition of some traditional rulers in the state.
The insurgency in the neigbouring North East also did not help the cause of the PDP in the state as the people saw the party as having failed to manage the crisis.
All these factors played significant role in the outcome of Saturday election where Tambuwal scored 647,609 votes to defect his rival in the Peoples Democratic Party, Sen. Abdullahi Wali, who scored 269,074.