Mohammed S. Umar
An adage has it that a sinking man clutches unto anything in a bid to survive. Such is the scenario created by Mallam Abubakar Ateeku Yusuf, the Acting Director, Media and Publicity of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) when he wrote recently in the Daily Trust to doubt the sincerity of the visit of the Sokoto State governor to condole his predecessor over the demise of his father.
The media that covered the visit of Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, the Governor of Sokoto State to ex-Governor Attahiru Bafarawa over the death of his father saw the gesture as a demonstration that politics cannot be overstretched beyond the precincts of humanism. Politics must adorn the garb of respect to human values. It showed that despite political differences people are united in other social ways and that politics should be played without bitterness because as brothers we even converge in holy places to supplicate for divine blessings.
One simply does not know what Mal. Yusuf hopes to gain by twisting glaring facts as reported by the media: that Wamakko was away in Abuja when Bafarawa lost his father but a government delegation led by the Secretary to the State government, Alhaji Sahabi Isa Gada, immediately conveyed the Governor’s condolence message to the deceased family and that on his (Wamakko’s) return to the State on 21st April 2009, Wamakko also went to personally condole his predecessor in office.
These are statement of incontrovertible facts which any reasonable person would gape in amazement why Mal. Yusuf wants to create fantasy by engaging in falsehood. There were apparent contradictions in Mal. Yusuf’s writing. He insinuated that Wamakko chose to send a powerful emissary on the day Bafarawa lost his father (18/4/2009) lest he meets his arch-enemy whom he had hitherto humiliated and has hidden under personalities like Dr Bello Haliru, Deputy National Chairman, PDP, Northwest, Senator Adamu Aliero and Ahaji Rabi’u Kwankwaso. Abubakar could have further insinuated that these gentlemen forced Wamakko to go and commiserate with ex-Governor Bafarawa. The truth is that Wamakko on return from Abuja where he was when Alhaji Dalhatu Usman, late Sarkin Gabas, passed on went to commiserate with ex-Governor Bafarawa over the death of his father. It was natural coincidence that he met other politicians and personalities on similar mission.
Abubakar further complained that Wamakko failed to call Bafarawa on phone. In a situation like that personal visit should show profound respect, according to the values of Sokoto people. Though if such calls preceded the delegation Abubakar was not there to record their content.
It confounds reasonable imagination why political predators continually create animosity between Governor Wamakko and ex-governor Bafarawa. Bafarawa served out eight years as Governor of Sokoto State. Wamakko did not contest against him, but his Party (DPP). It was Bafarawa that contested against President Musa Yar’adua of PDP, a party that controls Sokoto State under which Governor Wamakko emerged. So we assume that Mal.Yusuf and DPP are waging clandestine battles against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration in Sokoto State. But political plurality demands that such battles should be hinged on issues of substance in good governance and democratic ideals – majority rule out of popular choice, and not narrowed to personality.
Those acquainted with government functions would easily read the fallacy of Governor Wamakko nominating Mallam Abdul-Azeez to pray, least against any person. No Governor descends from Olympus to serve as Master of Ceremony to appoint anybody to pray in any gathering. Whatever role Mallam Abdul-Azeez played in a prayer session was on his own and if he offered prayers for good governance of Sokoto State and for the governor it has been a tradition even ex-Governor Bafarawa enjoyed throughout his eight years as Governor of Sokoto State.
Mallam Yusuf made a weighty charge when he said “what was expected of him (Governor Wamakko) as a good Muslim is that, if he went to Bafarawa village, a suburb of Isa LGA of Sokoto State, fisabilillahi to commiserate with the Bafarawa’s, he should have kept his mouth shut and ask his people to remain mute and stop both the local and national media from televising and publishing his pictures and that of Bafarawa sitting together, turning the whole thing into political hypocrisy, sycophancy and idiosyncrasy unexpected of a true leader.”
What political naivety and timidity! A Governor of a state to shut up his mouth, ask his people to remain mute and possibly take up arms to gag the local and national press? We are face to face with the fact that DPP does not believe in fundamental human rights, especially freedom of the press, and, of course democracy. So, what is the use of agitation for power in a democratic era? This recalls the culture of dictatorship witnessed in Sokoto in the immediate past for which Governor Wamakko now emerges as a Liberator.
Umar is the President of Sokoto Liberal Democrats Media Foundation (SOLID) email@example.com