Date Published: 07/29/10
Sober Reflections by DPP in Sokoto By Mohammed S. Umar
The recent press conference called by DPP governorship candidate in the 2007 election, Alh. Muhammadu Maigari Dingyadi has attracted our attention. The entire text of the conference vindicated our stand all the while that the man conducted his affairs in a manner of democratic principles, but remained a victim of vendetta machinery of those that hate Governor Wamakko with unusual passion. We never quarreled with contestation of the governorship of Sokoto State in law courts as democratic process.
We contended with those that engaged in character assassination in foul language against Governor Wamakko and revered institutions that sustained our cherished values. The kingpins of opposition devised evils to destabilize Sokoto State in planned massive destruction of lives and property. The intervention of security agencies saved the situation at any given time. The lies churned out in press advertorial and hired writings of opposition were malicious and diversionary against the Government and people of Sokoto State. No leader of the State ever received insults in uncouth language as perpetrated against Governor Wamakko. If the leadership of Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) kept silent over such provocative vitriol by their supporters they wittingly became culpable to destabilization of the State and retardation of its progress.
We challenge any quarters or interests to show evidence where we or any government organ used foul language against our elder statesman, Alhaji Muhammadu Maigari Dingyadi. But at any available platform the leadership of DPP degenerated to name calling or abuse of the person and government of Governor Wamakko. Quite often the scenario was seen as the presidential candidate of DPP in the last general elections vehemently against Governor Wamakko. It was actually so. At a stage some pundits insinuated weakness on the part of Governor Wamakko for reluctance to descend heavily against his antagonists. However, Governor Wamakko in his usual humane posture remained silent and would allow matters to take their natural cause.
Barely six months into Governor Wamakko’s administration accusations of inaction or ineptitude became flier circulated in the press by opposition writers. Gamji and Amana websites were frequent latitudes opposition used to launch charades in tissues of lies against Governor Wamakko. It was widely circulated that opposition vowed to either remove Governor Wamakko by all means and at all cost or make the State ungovernable for him. Acts that are crafted to make a system unworkable invariably stall its progress because psychically, psychologically, emotionally and physically functionality remains suspense. Undeniably, uncertainties pervaded the air of Sokoto State polity in rumour mills and series of court cases and utterances of opposition.
In spite of the activities of opposition Governor Wamakko has recorded very great achievements. Though Alhaji Muhammadu Maigari Dingyadi acknowledged areas of success of Governor Wamakko he skipped the projects of constant supply of clean pipe borne water to Sokoto metropolis which defied fire brigade approach of the previous administration. He also failed to acknowledge tremendous increase in school enrollment as a result of construction of additional classrooms, recruitment of more teachers (and their motivation), increase in students feeding and their allowances, supply of adequate teaching and learning materials, various youth empowerment programmes, rural water and electricity supplies where huge sums of money had been expended. We are delightful that he acknowledged the strength with which Governor Wamakko completed the Silame Bridge that links so many villages – a project that defied efforts of the previous administrations for the past two decades.
The economic meltdown affected global economy including Nigeria. The State was no exception. In spite of limited internal revenue generation capacity of the State Governor Wamakko’s administration remained steadfast in execution of all projects embarked upon. It is not correct to allege any project abandonment. In the face of sudden set-back it is managerial strategy to reorder priorities to keep pace with cash inflow to avoid trap in quagmire of debt that would be a yoke on future generations. However, Governor Wamakko’s administration as article of faith to the good people of the State is positioned to complete every project and engage in new ones.
Shehu Shagari College of Education specializes in training of manpower for the education sector. The State with proper comprehension of this fact should not displace the objective of the institution by additional responsibility or outright take over for a state university. The courses referred to by DPP stalwart are education related. If individuals can establish a university in an environment where federal universities exist it is progressive endeavour that Sokoto State establishes its own university that shall absorb ever increasing candidates for tertiary education from Sokoto State. Governor Wamakko’s administration places much emphasis on education which has necessitated increased turn out of secondary school leavers. The State Government through the Department for Higher Education intensifies efforts to produce more eligible candidates for tertiary education through the State sponsored extra mural classes being organized all over the State. This programme will produce effective results that the wisdom of establishment of the state university shall ultimately be appreciated by skeptics. It cannot be overstretched that the State needs high caliber manpower in all fields of human endeavour in this modern world. The university shall offer courses in numerous fields. Governor Wamakko should be commended for his foresight in this direction – it is a project that shall benefit future generations of our dear State.
The Supreme Court verdict on governorship case of Sokoto State has brought some sober reflections on DPP that attention should now be shifted to alerting government on areas of perceived deficiencies. Governor Wamakko has stated right from inception of his administration that he would run a listening government. Democracy is strengthened more when opposition, though not recognized in presidential system, put those in power on their toes in constructive criticism of what has to be done for the people. We consistently maintained that opposing parties should stand a better chance of alternative government through such means. Human beings are Oliver Twist who constantly asks for more. It is economic fact of human insatiable appetite, but this approach should recognize diverse achievements as encouragement and right to demand more.
Nobody disputes the fact that Governor Wamakko served as deputy governor in the previous administration. Our argument is still that he was not allowed to function due largely to overbearing influence of his boss that in every material aspect portrayed dictatorship. Governor Wamakko himself once described it as “know it all”. The situation tolerated little or no input from subordinates. It is quite obvious that the SSG at a time superseded the deputy governor in running the affairs of the State which showed level of mistrust Governor Wamakko suffered from that administration. Such aura of disdain culminated in the aggressive nature of the fight of DPP chieftains in Sokoto to oust Governor Wamakko out of power. The mantle of leadership was bestowed on Governor Wamakko by Sokoto people who overwhelmingly voted him into office. The show of solidarity for Governor Wamakko was a demonstration of the scorn with which Sokoto people eased out arrogance and dictatorship of the previous administration. Moreover, they see Governor Wamakko as educated, exposed and better administrator. He has not disappointed the electorate of Sokoto State.
Governor Wamakko’s administration has frequently informed the citizens of projects executed and their cost. Publicity through various media of communication is the most effective and efficient means of accountability. Governor Wamakko has promised a transparent and accountable administration. A veritable means of fulfilling this is wider information dissemination. Consequently, the Administration engages in regular information dissemination to the citizens on projects being executed by governments (local councils inclusive) in different parts of the State. SOLID has been active in fulfilling this responsibility through our regular newspaper publications and press releases. Government also publishes in appropriate form income and expenditures for consumption by stakeholders.
In any case we praise the current sober posture of opposition to address fundamental issues that would improve overall lives of our people. They now provide environment of partnership to move Sokoto State forward as enjoined by Governor Wamakko after the Supreme Court verdict. The door of reconciliation has been opened in the current approach. Perhaps some political lessons must have been learnt. If opposition did not react positively to the hand of fellowship he extended Governor Wamakko should remain cautious. His statement after the Supreme Court judgement anticipated reaction from opposition for appropriate move towards genuine reconciliation.
Mohammed S. Umar is President
Sokoto Liberal Democrats Media Foundation (SOLID)