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Can Wamakko weather the storm?

First, it was from within: 24 hours after he was sacked, a member of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former minister of sport, Alhaji…

First, it was from within: 24 hours after he was sacked, a member of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former minister of sport, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman opened the floodgate of accusations against the former Sokoto State governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko.

The former minister who vied for the governorship ticket of PDP with the ousted governor alleged through the Director General of his campaign organisation, Ambassador Abdullahi Ladan Shuni that in the last three months, a total of 14.6 billion naira was withdrawn from the state’s coffer by the former governor without corresponding projects to justify the spending.

To cover this up, he alleged that hours after the Supreme Court judgement, the former governor moved out vital documents from the state ministry of finance to private houses in the state capital. “Shortly after the Supreme Court judgement on the tenure of Wamakko and four other governors, our attention was drawn to strange movement of files from various ministries in Sokoto state to private houses. A number of documents were outrightly burnt while others were replaced from the files,” he alleges.

While the ex-governor was still facing this blast from within, here comes another one, this time from the left. A pressure group in the state, Save Sokoto Group alleged that the former governor of the state received over 300 billion naira without commensurate projects to show for it and asked the Acting Governor of the state, Alhaji Lawal Zayyanna to declare and make public the financial position of the state.

The group in a statement made available to Sunday Trust in Sokoto added; “Over 300 billion naira was received by the former governor beside the internally generated revenue. Yet no meaningful development has been done. All or most of the so-called projects of his government are highly inflated, not completed, abandoned or not undertaken. Among them are Independent Power Project (IPP); State university, NYSC orientation camp and college of Agric Wurno.

“Instead of Wamakko to use these resources for the development of the state, he diverted the monies to his pocket and the pockets of his political cohorts who have built unimaginable mansions in Abuja, Kaduna and Sokoto even as he goes about throwing money to people while moving in his convoy, the group in the statement jointly signed by Hassan Sahabi Sanyinnawal and Alhaji Isah Sadiq Ahida Secretary General and Acting Chairman respectively, alleged.

As if these were not enough to weigh down a politician, the   Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Sokoto state, Alhaji Ibrahim Mil Goma called on the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately commence the investigation of the  tenure of  the former governor.

Mil Goma in a statement by the publicity secretary of ANPP in the state, Saidu M. Gumburawa made available to Sunday Trust said he is awaiting the intervention of the EFCC in order to stop the continued display of abuse of public funds by the former governor and his cohorts.

“The EFCC should as matter of fairness to all, open the investigations over the role of former Governor Wamakko on the alleged corrupt practices during his five years in office, the whereabouts of the N13 Billion Naira which was left behind by the former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa’s administration that has generated a lot of denials and campaigns of calumny by the ousted governor.

“There are many accusations against ousted Governor Wamakko and some of his senior aides on corruption, abuse of government’s funds while in office by both the opposition and some known members of his own party (PDP). It is right and fair for the EFCC to enlighten and clear the public about such matter by doing their constitutional job; since he lost his immunity which had earlier hindered them from doing so,” he said.

In a swift reaction to the allegations, the state commissioner of Information, Alhaji Dahiru Maishanu described the claims of the Save Sokoto Group as lies concocted to tarnish the ousted governor’s reputation.

“They don’t know what they are saying. Anybody that comes to Sokoto State will appreciate the numerous development projects embarked upon by Governor Wamakko in order to enhance the standard of living of the people of the state. The projects on ground commensurate with the funds we got and they are verifiable,” he said.

For the ANPP, Maishanu said EFCC does not require prompting to carry out its constitutional duties. “ANPP is better adviced to pursue their leaders’ case at the EFCC. Our governor is clean. Bafarawa and other leaders of ANPP in the state have been battling with EFCC, they should channel their powers towards the predicament of their leaders rather than trying to tarnish our clean governor,” he said.

The former governor took his detractors by surprise when he went to state government house on Wednesday to formally hand over the affairs of the state to the acting governor, Lawal Zayyana. Wamakko said he left 16.020 billion naira in the coffer of the state government.

“The state has a cash balance of 16.020 billion Naira in its bank accounts with no single deficit. The bank balances were certified by all the managers of the banks where the state government owns account. The amount was arrived at after the payment of the state workers’ January salaries, pensions and other necessary expenses. I have also handed over all the state property in my custody. Be cautious in governing the affairs of the state. There would be so many interests pressurising you to do their biddings,” he said.

Last Monday when he returned to Sokoto State amidst hundreds of supporters, the former governor said he abhorred desperate politics, and called on the former minister of Sport, Yusuf Suleiman and Senator Abubakar Umar Gada to bury their differences and join him in his bids to turn Sokoto state around.

“My politics is simple. It is as a matter of selling what you have to the people, for the interest of the people and for the development of the state. Let us not destabilise the state, let us not jeopardise the peace we have been enjoying in the state. This is what we stand for and by God’s grace we will maintain peace throughout our campaigns,” he said.

Acting Governor of the state, Alhaji Lawal Zayyanna while addressing the crowd urged the people of the state to shun any act of violence. “Politics is a matter of choice; you should not indulge in any fight or carrying of dangerous weapons during campaigns. Youth should learn to accommodate each other irrespective of party differences. Fighting will not help and it is not the tradition of the people of Sokoto to fight one another,” he said.

At another occasion, the acting governor said the projects executed by Wamakko within the tenure of his administration outweighed the ones executed in the eight years reign of Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, the God father of ANPP in the state.

“The laudable developmental projects executed by Governor Wamakko within four years plus of his administration are commendable. I believe you can assess with unbiased mind that what he has done is more than what somebody did in eight years of his administration. So if the additional time is given to Wamakko, Sokoto State would inshallah be leading in development,” he said

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