By Bello Umar Riyoji
The recent wave of defections of political heavyweights leaving the APC to the PDP in Sokoto state is surely leaving so much to be desired. Despite the vitriolic lamentations of the APC establishment, political pundits are sifting the moves as coming from all directions as a volte-face and signal of an impending political tsunami threatening the entire foundation of the APC house in Sokoto.
This is akin to a similar force that swept the old order in 2006/7, coincidentally and retrospectively directing itself against the same group that it ushered in, back then. The force depleted the powerful statuesque and power of incumbency of the Bafarawa hegemony and brought in that of Wamakko against all expectations. History has indeed a way of repeating itself.
The APC leadership and its arrowhead, H.E Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko seemed impregnable before 2019 general elections but the centre suddenly started to stop holding after that year’s primary elections purportedly won by the political godson of the leader, Ahmed Aliyu. The leader however, managed to re assemble his house and forged ahead to enter the battle with H.E Aminu Waziri Tambuwal contesting and leading the PDP onslaught. The general public eventually decided the outcome in favour of the PDP and thus the underbelly of fowl started getting its feathers dismembered and today its body is finally being exposed.
Some of the heavyweights that have just left the APC for the PDP in an elaborate ceremony beamed live on national TV nation wide included the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, three former APC governorship candidates in the recent primaries, two former ministers, two serving members of the House of Representatives, two serving members of the House of Assembly, two former Ambassadors and several former commissioners under Wamakko, local leaders and tens of thousands of their supporters. Analysts are wondering if this is not a Tsunami, what adjective could possibly be used to qualify it.
Many reasons have been attributed to this mass exodus and most are directed to the leader and his purported henchmen in the inner caucus.
The manner in which the entire leadership of the party evolved ab-intio has been a subject of rancour amongst the members of the party in general. The general belief was that the local congresses that produced the ward, local government and state executives were not done freely and were at the behest of the whims and caprice of the leader; otherwise, you have to belong to emerge as an exco member.
Ordinary party members and local leaders believed they have been short-changed and excluded in the election/selection process of its grassroots leadership.
Favouritism and deliberate patronage of only few members of the party in sharing proceeds of governance in contracts and appointments at both the state and the federal levels. The selective treatment of party members has caused a dearth of members in droves.
Leaders like the former ministers and former commissioners and former Ambassadors complained of deliberate excommunication and total exclusion in decision of party affairs orchestrated by certain cabal at the beck and call of the leader. They particularly alleged that the leadership has refused to advance their course and interest in securing federal appointments for them, thereby leaving them helpless and courting the anger of thousands of their supporters who expect so much from them. They are particularly irked with the depth of alleged nepotism and crack favouritism in securing appointments to deserving party chieftains and elites at the centre. They also complained of being regulated to the background and levelled persona-non-grata in all affairs and decisions of the party.
The crux of the matter however, remains the leader’s alleged refusal to provide a level playing ground for interested party members in contesting various electoral positions in the last primary elections for the 2023 coming general elections at all levels. This is in addition to coercion of delegates to vote for particular candidates under somewhat duress circumstances in primary elections where they hold at all.
Finally, the three governorship candidates that detected unambiguously accused the leadership of supporting openly, the candidature of Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu against the others in brazen and shameful way that sells the party as a one man affair. They alleged vote rigging and deliberate manipulation of the primaries process with active connivance of the election committee from Abuja.
Be that as it may, the APC as a party stands to lose as it is now, with the winds of the Tsunami blowing ferociously in the direction of a final destination at the front door of the PDP and the foot soldiers of The Right Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal are at the city gates receiving their most esteemed visitors and comrades. Such is politics!
*Riyoji writes from Sokoto