If there is one thing the good people of Sokoto State have proven by their continuous support for Dr. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, it is the fact that the reward for selfless leadership can be found on earth. More than one year since he bequeathed power after eight years as governor of the state of Sokoto, the people of the Seat of the Caliphate remain nostalgic. And this is in spite of the fact that the state is blessed with Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, an able successor and frontline disciple of the immediate-past governor.
In the traditional African society we sprouted from, respect for elders and upholding the sanctity of decency are indispensable parts of the value system. Whereas critical self-appraisal and/or constructive criticism are allowed and even encouraged, integrity and fairness are key virtues that tend to guide actions. In those golden days, falsehood is frowned at, and that informs why, in spite of all the sophistication of the modern era, we all remember that time with a heavy dose of nostalgia.
Sadly, the well-known political spent-forces in Sokoto, have kept digging deeper in their trenches, and from time to time, they try to regale the uninformed with their old, worn-out game of pouring aspersions on the very person of the immediate-past governor of the state, now a distinguished senator. Typical of cowards that have not the least of conviction, not even once have they summoned the courage to use their real names in authoring the barefaced falsehood they churn out. And in the last advertorial I placed in the Daily Trust edition of Friday, June 17, 2016, I responded in some detail to all the falsehood they conjured.
For the average student from Sokoto, who has had the benefit of education courtesy of Wamakko’s vision and transformation of that key sector, not a million of such peddlers of mischief could make him change his positive attitude towards the senator. Though education has remained a bottomless pit that guzzles resources keeps begging for more, the fact remains that Sarkin Yamma’s ability to provide a world-class university that the state now boasts of, as well as four other tertiary institutions such as the College of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in Wurno, the College of Legal and Islamic Studies, Wamakko, the College of Midwifery in Tambuwal only compliment the transformation of all the other schools he met on ground, as well as his building of a solid foundation in primary and secondary education.
In the build-up to the 2007 governorship election in Sokoto State, there was a consensus among a broad spectrum of the traditional rulers and political elite to wrest political leadership from the marauding cabal of political adventurers that had held down the peace, progress and development of the state since the preceding eight years. At the end of the day, there was also the consensus that the one sure person who possessed the needed political sagacity and sufficient spread, political and grassroots acceptance, was the amiable Magatakardan Wamakko. He did not disappoint. He went into the contest and roundly trounced the opponents, who included the then-incumbent’s candidate.
The people knew from Wamakko’s pedigree that here is one man who has always been guided by his deep faith, and whose love for his people is beyond question. For example, at a time some other governors were crying of inadequate funds with which to implement the minimum wage, Wamakko wasted no time in becoming the first governor to do so, and he is on record to have paid workers salary to the last kobo, throughout the eight years he served as governor, even as the state remained on the lower rungs in statutory allocation from the Federation Account.
In terms of infrastructure, Senator Wamakko can, without any equivocation, be called the Father of Modern Sokoto. This is in view of the plethora of roads his administration constructed within Sokoto metropolis and those that link the local government areas, among which is the all-important Sokoto-Illela road, a major highway between Nigeria and Niger Republic. There was also the three-lane dual carriageway from the airport to Sokoto metropolis, which had for years constituted an eyesore and death trap before his administration. The flyover bridge at the city centre and the over 50 kilometre long dual carriage eastern and western bypass roads would perhaps stand out as the flagships of his tenure on road construction projects. In all, over a thousand kilometres a of high quality roads were constructed by his administration. Finally, and more tellingly, though he is now a distinguished senator based in Abuja, he remains in constant touch with his people, who have continued to accord him very warm welcome whenever he visits the state.
Cika wrote from Kofar Atiku, Sokoto.