When APC won 16 state assembly seats and PDP 14, there were conjectures on a sour executive/legislature relationship in view of the deep-seated antipathy between the two major political contenders in the last general elections in Sokoto.
The 2019 elections were generally noted to have recorded an unexpected depth of antagonism between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, referred to this recently saying, “There has never been a time in the history of our state that contentious politics almost crippled it like this one that was laid to rest by the Supreme Court.
“The election pitched brother against brother, friend against friend and neighbour against neighbour.”
Ahead of the election of the speaker in June 2019, the state assembly became the centre for political intrigues as scheming thickened over the principal officers’ race.
Aminu Achida (APC/Wurno) emerged the new Speaker of the State House of Assembly after defeating the anointed candidate of his party, Abdullahi Garba Sidi, representing Gwadabawa South constituency.
Achida, believed to have the backing of the ruling PDP in the state, was nominated for the number one state legislative position by Ibrahim Sarki (PDP- Sokoto North II).
He reportedly got the support of all members of the PDP.
The speaker won by three votes, scoring 16 votes of the 30 cast in the election while Sidi secured 13 votes. One vote was declared invalid.
The scenario stirred insinuations of a sour relationship between the speaker and the leaders of his party, APC, following the outcome of that assembly’s principal officers’ contest.
The undertone was despite the APC having described the emergence of the speaker as its victory.
Some seven months later, while assenting to the 2020 Appropriation Bill, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal was full of praises for the assembly just as he lauded it for the speedy consideration of the budget. Tambuwal is of the PDP.
“The assembly, despite being controlled by the APC which is in the majority, has rallied round the government and supported it in the interest of serving the people of the state.That is the crux of our commitment which supersedes party affiliations,” he said.
For his part, the speaker has been affirming loyalty to his party, the APC and debunking rumour of divided APC members.
“All that is being said are mere rumour as we are fully united. We are here as the members of the same family and all the APC lawmakers are formidably united in all the activities of the house,” Achida said when he led the 16 members of the assembly elected on APC’s platform on a courtesy visit to the state leadership of the party.
He had at a different forum underscored the need to work collectively for the betterment of the people and the state irrespective of their political differences.
Lately, some of the state legislators have been alluding to the consonance between the PDP-led executive and APC–steered legislature in the state.
At a recent event in Sokoto, Deputy Speaker of state House of Assembly, Abubakar Magaji (PDP-Bodinga North) was impassioned about the executive-legislative rapport and how the present administration would meet the expectations of the electorate.
“One of the support given to the state executive led by His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, is the speedy passage into law of this year’s appropriation bill,” he declared, adding, “That shows the harmonious relationship that exists between the executive and the legislature.”
Some other members of the assembly from both parties have described the relationship as very good which they attribute to the composition at the House.
Speaking with Daily Trust, Barr. Maidawa Alhaji Kajiji (APC-Shagari) said, “The composition of the assembly is like 50-50 or 45 because we in APC are 15 in number and the PDP 14. One of the APC members died on 30th December, so now we are 15:14 pending when INEC conducts election in the constituency, Kebbe, to replace the late member.”
He explained that some issues that come before the assembly required simple majority while others needed 2/3.
“So in the event of anything that requires 2/3 majority, like passing of a bill, you need collaboration and understanding otherwise it wouldn’t go. It is not going to be easy for any of the two parties to get 2/3 majority if there is no collaboration and understanding between the honourable members,” he said.
A public affairs analyst, Malam Aliyu Ali, said as an arm of government vested with oversight role, what was paramount was for the members to ensure they promoted good governance.
“Whether elected on the platform of APC or PDP, they need to be people-oriented and work together for the common good of the state,” he said.