The Sultan, INEC Chairman And Accusation Of Election Meddling In Sokoto State



Everyone in Sokoto State would tell you that the Sultan of Sokoto is a Tambuwal man. Governor Aminu Waziri Tanbuwal released over N700 million to buy the Sultan a guesthouse in Abuja, deep in the middle of the recession, a period when most state governors were finding it difficult to pay their workers’ salaries and some couldn’t even pay. Of course that was before Governor Tambuwal left the All Progressive Congress (APC), to join the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Now why is his leaving the APC to joining the PDP relevant pertaining this topic of discussion? I will explain. 

As an astute politician, Governor Tambuwal knew he would need the support of the Sultan when he leaves an APC that has an overwhelming support and loyalty in the North. The relationship between the Sultan and Governor Tambuwal has always been in the open. In fact that was why the PDP in Sokoto State accused the APC of plotting to remove the Sultan if they win the gubernatorial election. In fact the Coalition for United Political Parties (CUPP) that aligned with the PDP issued a press release warning the APC over plot to remove the Sultan if they win election over the Sultan’s support for the PDP. 

After a very competitive gubernatorial election with 342 votes separating PDP and the APC, Governor Tambuwal of the PDP was declared winner by INEC, in the midst of APC accusation of PDP connivance with INEC officials and security officials to rig them out, the APC headed to court to contest the outcome of the election. It was in this mood of political tussle, that the INEC Chairman secretly visited the Sultan. 

The APC and their supporters in Sokoto State were not happy with the secret visit of the INEC Chairman to the Sultan of Sokoto on Sunday, 31st March, 2019. The visit generated a lot of furore and vituperations from both the APC and PDP supporters in Sokoto State. From there, the media took it up leaving pundits to debate whether such visit at this period just immediately after such contentious election was a wise one. 

I particularly expressed my opinion on this visit which was published in many online newspapers and the highlight of my point was that Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman’s hobnobbing with the Sultan at this period of dissension between APC and the PDP over the Sultan’s partisanship and accusation of INEC connivance with PDP is unwise. This is not the best time for the INEC Chairman to be visiting the Sultan. 

In response to my article, Sokoto State Government House through the Director General, Media and Public Affairs to Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Mr. Abu Shekara, launched an unnecessary polemic against my person in the Blueprint newspaper of April 2nd, 2019, referring to me as a Man Friday, a hatchet writer, who has no stake in and, therefore, cares nothing about desecrating the revered institution as the Sultanate. The Sokoto State Government quickly turned my write up into an attack on Senator Wamakko, one of the revered leaders of Sokoto people and the man who handpicked Governor Tambuwal and made him Governor of the State. But then that’s another story. 

The Sultan of Sokoto no matter his status is not above criticism. Not even the Queen of England is above criticism or even the Catholic Pope. It is hilarious to see Mr. Abu Shekara refers to complain of people who felt cheated in an election and see the umpire going to visit the Sultan as not proper, as desecrating institution as the sultanate. I find such propaganda watery. 

I understand Mr. Abu Shekara is doing his job and part of his job is to make the opposition look bad. It’s okay. But what is not okay is to paint a picture that’s not true just to smear an opposition leader. Truth has always been the casualty in Nigerian politics. 

Now that the election is over, the Sokoto State government should focus on telling the people what they have done for them and what they are planning to do for them. Picking unnecessary quarrels with the leaders of the State because they are not in the same political party is childish. Governor Tambuwal and his people should focus on serving the people and put pettiness aside. Governance is serious business. That’s my advise. 

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