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Wamakko, beware of the ides of March

Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko emerged winner in the contest against two other opponents in the party, Senator Abubakar Umar Gada and Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman, a…

Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko emerged winner in the contest against two other opponents in the party, Senator Abubakar Umar Gada and Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman, a former minister of sports.

Now the former governor still has Yusah’u Ahmed of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Dahiru Yusuf Yabo of the CPC to contend with in the March, 2012 election. For some, the contest becomes more interesting because Ahmed, a retired banker, has the support of former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa who in their own estimation, is still influential in the state while Yabo on the other hand, is a highly influential youth leader. But many equally say Wamakko mostly called “Alu,” has little or nothing to worry about.

In august 2010, I visited Sokoto for the first time. Though I arrived late in the evening, it was clear to me that the media and the general public had not been doing justice to the Seat of the Caliphate. The stories I heard about Sokoto were scary and discouraging. For example, no good roads, no electricity, no water, it’s a deadly desert, no cars and bikes—they use only camels etc. At a point, I was about turning down the offer of working in the state; but my first few sights changed my mind and I decided to give it a try. For a year plus, I am still in Sokoto, alive and happy.

To me, Wamakko is an achiever. I have seen a government award a project, see to its completion within the stipulated time. The Dandima-Udus road dualization is surely a sign of the good leadership of the former governor and surely a record holder. In less than four months, the narrow “wait make I pass first” road was turned to a dual “Pass me I Pass you” lane, with each lane wide enough to safely accommodate two cars at a time. Many of such projects are visible within the state and the local government areas. I am told he makes sure that all the LGAs have a good road network connecting them to the state capital.

The transport system in Sokoto has been transformed with the purchase and distribution of new taxis and buses, decreasing the rate of accidents and atmospheric pollution. I remember reading an article in an European daily some years back with the expression, “Nothing kills faster than an old technology”. When I saw the new buses and taxis acquired by the Sokoto state government, I said to myself, maybe Wamakko had read the same article too.

In many Nigerian states, it takes a whole tenure for the governor to complete small projects and use two tenures to complete one or two major projects. Sokoto State government is building roads and creating variety of routes within and outside the state capital. Once one enters the city, one can see over-head bridges which greatly help ease traffic flow. Schools are being renovated, likewise hospitals.

The Wamako led administration made it possible today for many villagers and poor people to visit hospitals even for a mild headache. Hospitals in Sokoto are receiving special consideration and attention. There is distribution of ambulances to all major hospitals in the state with the upgrading of clinics and dispensaries to primary healthcare centres in the villages.

Under Governor Wamako, there was renewed commitment to the eradication of illiteracy in the state, making sure that both indigenes and none indigenes received free education up to secondary school level for boys and up to tertiary levels for girls. Now, if one can take a careful survey of Usman DanFodio University, Sokoto (UDUS) one will find out that out of every 10 students, seven are girls, and among these, seven female students, four of them are science students.

The fight against poverty in Sokoto has been a very tough one. After the flood disaster that hit the state, the governor made it mandatory for all the local government areas to build a minimum of 30 housing units every year. This has helped to curtail the housing and accommodation deficit in the state.  The federal low cost housing scheme was abandoned because the former governor saw it as being occupied by non indigenes but government now gives this attention.

Yet, the people of Sokoto believe that Governor Wamakko can still do more for them. As for other contenders who lost out at the PDP primaries, the best they can do is to join forces with their party member to ensure that the dream of building a greater Sokoto is achieved.

Musa Abu writes from Wuse, Abuja

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