By George Onmonya Daniel
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leads Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed of the All Progressive Congress (APC) with just 3468 votes in the inconclusive election in Sokoto State. There is a fifty-fifty chance of any of the two candidates emerging as the winner. The lead margin was lower than the 75,403 votes cancelled in 136 polling units in 22 local government areas of the state. This led the state’s returning officer, Professor Fatima Batulu Muktar, to declare it inconclusive. “I cannot conclude this exercise and INEC will have to take a decision on this,” she said early on Monday, March 11.
Not too many people gave Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed a chance of making it this far. As I followed the Sokoto election and talked to people from Sokoto and people residing in Sokoto, virtually everyone of them told me Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed of the APC has no chance. The result turned out differently. The young man is not only in the race, it was a neck to neck contest that culminated into an inconclusive contest that still leaves it widely open for anyone to take the prize.
Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko who won his re-election under the APC and orchestrated a big win for the APC in the State must have done something right. Senator Wamakko is a man of foresight and has surprised his critics who complained about his choice of Alhaji Aliyu Ahmad to represent the APC as the gubernatorial candidate. Senator Wamakko believes in the handing over of Nigeria’s leadership to young people and has always supported young brilliant minds. He personally brought Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal from Abuja and not only advised him to come back to Sokoto and take over the affairs of the State, but campaign vigorously to see the people supported and voted for Governor Tambuwal. I was privileged to be witness of the whole of it.
When Governor Tambuwal left the APC and joined the PDP over his personal ambition to contest against President Muhammadu Buhari without consultation, the APC and its leadership, its supporters and so many people in Sokoto State felt betrayed. His former deputy, Alhaji Aliyu Ahmad refused to follow Governor Tambuwal to the PDP. He was deputy until he resigned from the Tanbuwal’s administration to contest the gubernatorial election under the platform of the APC.
What is standing between Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed is 75, 403 voters in 136 polling units. What is standing between them is that of all the inconclusive elections to be held in several states in Nigeria, Sokoto State can’t be predicted. Any of the candidates can win.
The incredible performance of Alhaji Aliyu Ahmad in the Sokoto State election still leaves pundits awestruck. Only few people foresaw this. No matter the outcome of the election he has achieved the unimaginable.
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal would have himself to blame if he loses. Perceived as not having the interest of the state at hand but his personal ambition, with his eyes set on Abuja and not Sokoto, many people who are voting against him would be doing so because of this. In the two years of his government, the governor hardly stays in the state but Abuja. That got a lot of people complaining too. Than leaving the APC to the PDP is another factor, in a state where President Buhari has an overwhelming support.
There seem to be a balance in Sokoto. It can go anywhere. And for the days before the election, the 75, 403 electorates become the most important electorates in the State this season as they decide the faith of the State by voting who take charge of the state in the next coming four years from May’ 29.