2023: Governor Wike’s Invitation To Senator Wamakko And The Changing Dynamics Of Sokoto Politics
The recent invitation by his excellency Governor Nyesom Wike to the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Sokoto state and former Governor of the state Sen (Dr) Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko to Commission the newly completed Ogbumnu-abali road in Port Harcourt on 9th August 2022 has demonstrated political tolerance from the Rivers state governor.
The invitation to the high value APC leader Sen Wamakko by an equally high value PDP leader Governor Wike has reenergised the political debate on two fronts:
1. The growing incapacitation of the PDP in Sokoto state in the run-up to the 2023 gubernatorial elections and
2 Governor Wike’s much talked about likely defection to the APC.
On the first point, a nexus can be established between the August invitation and the likely yet inevitable defeat of the PDP in the Sokoto state 2023 guber election. This is more so when juxtaposed with the hitherto well known ‘political’ friendship and alliance between Governors Wike and Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state.
The first point has further raised questions as to whether the indispensable Governor is telling his bosom friend Governor Aminu Tambuwal that ‘it is over’ OR ‘i am now an APC loyalist in Sokoto State’ or both.
The new-found alliance between Governor Wike and Senator Wamakko could be a signal to the fact that Wike may be sending a subtle message to Governor Tambuwal. Political pundits believe that Governor Tambuwal betrayed Governor Wike during the last PDP Presidential primaries where he (Tambuwal) pitched tent with Atiku Abubakar the eventual winner of the election when the general thinking was that it was payback time for him (Tambuwal) to support Wike who supported him in 2019.
Governor Aminu Tambuwal said he supported Atiku because he believes Atiku is a better candidate who could win the Presidential election. The more you look the less you see in all of these.
Obviously Governor Wike will not take the alleged betrayal by Governor Tambuwal with a pinch of salt and will naturally want to send a message. Recall that Governor Wike had sincerely and honestly supported Governor Tambuwal in the 2019 PDP Presidential primary election in Port Harcourt where he (Tambuwal) came second to Atiku.
No matter the circumstances, pundits believe that Governor Tambuwal would have supported Governor Wike or at least, stayed neutral but politics is sometimes a game of betrayal. Anything can happen in politics depending on the interests. In politics, your friend’s enemy may not necessarily be your enemy and your enemy’s friend may not be your friend.
In third world democracies such as Nigeria’s, everything depends on personal interest and the prevailing situation. Personal interest is always elevated over and above the national interest in Nigeria’s democracy. This is the reason for most of the problems Nigeria faces today.
Indeed, Governor Wike’s new body language can only be understood when you read in-between the lines. On one hand, Governor Wike of the PDP is Governor Tambuwal’s friend and Governor Tambuwal, the PDP leader in Sokoto state is no longer on the same page politically with Senator Wamakko, the APC leader in Sokoto State. On the other, Governor Wike has invited the APC leader to Commission a project while Governor Tambuwal looks on. The message is very clear indeed.
Political pundits actually believe that Governor Tambuwal betrayed senator Wamakko after the latter supported him in the 2015 elections. It is on record that the distinguished senator Wamakko not only offered the APC governorship ticket to Rt. Hon Aminu Tambuwal in the run-up to the 2015 gubernatorial elections but also worked assiduously to ensure that Aminu Tambuwal becomes the Governor of Sokoto state. The rest is history!
Now Tambuwal betrayed Wike and Wamakko and both political heavyweights may have Governor Tambuwal on their sights.
What happens next will be interesting.
The second point on whether the indispensable Wike is mulling a defection to the APC by inviting a prominent high value APC leader is also a valid one.
Recall that Governor Wike has also invited the Lagos state Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the APC to Commission another project on 8th August 2022.
Since his loss to Atiku during the PDP primaries, it has been reported on several fora that Governor Wike may defect to the APC. Recall that Governor Wike met with the APC governors of the South-West recently. The much-touted defection may happen but it will not be before the 2023 elections because Governor Wike has an anointed governorship candidate in the person of Siminialayi Fubara, who will run under the platform of the PDP.
May be, yes may be, the indispensable Governor Wike may defect to the APC after Fubara wins the 2023 gubernatorial election and is sworn in as the executive governor of Rivers State. If this happens, the governor-in-waiting Fubara may join Wike to the APC. Then it will be a renewed test of wits between the Wike and Rotimi Amaechi’s camps.
All these are permutation though.
In the long run, whether Governor Nyesom Wike defects to the APC or not will depend on how the PDP handles its crisis.
Clearly, the indispensable Wike is still interested in the PDP but is not averse to leaving the party. It seems, all that he wants is some sort of recognition and appreciation of all the love that he has shown to the PDP and the huge sacrifices he made to the party. Be that as it may, the PDP has a Herculean task of pacifying Governor Wike because his conditions may be too weighty for the party to bear. The PDP Vice Presidential ticket is all but safely in the hands of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state but the indispensable Wike will surely want a rejig of the PDP national executive committee (NEC) even if to cement his seeming control of the party. He may want the national chairman Ayu and some national officers replaced before the 2023 elections but will the PDP bow?
By and large, Sokoto state seem to be going the way of the APC in 2023 after PDP’s dismal performance in the state in the last 7 years. The minority victory of the PDP (342 votes) in the 2019 gubernatorial election cannot repeat itself in 2023. The good people of Sokoto state have clearly seen the difference between the full hearted governance of the Wamakko administration (2007-2015) and Aminu Tambuwal’s half-hearted governance (2015-2023). Voters in Sokoto state have a decision to make in the 2023 elections to rescue our dear state.
Money politics will not be the yardstick this time as voters are now more conscious, sick and tired of the deceptive tendencies of some leaders whose only stock-in-trade is to pursue their personal ambition at the expense of the public interest.
Without doubt, Governor Wike has displayed politics without bitterness by inviting an APC leader Sen Wamakko to commission projects executed by a PDP government.
What the future holds from this new-found friendship will be left to be seen.