Amid political uncertainty ahead of the 2019 general election, the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje at the weekend paid separate visits to former Sokoto State Governor, Senator Aliyu Wamakko.
During the visits on Friday, the two leaders described Wamakko as the strong pillar behind the APC and its presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari since its inception.
This was revealed in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Bashir Rabe-Mani, acknowledging Wamakko’s sacrifice for national peace, unity and socio-economic prosperity.
As quoted in the statement, Tinubu said the former governor was a man he respected because he strongly believed in team work and had developed other leaders for today and tomorrow.
Tinubu explained that Wamakko “is also extremely dependable. Whatever you are doing with him, you will be the one to disappoint him. He is a serious believer in the unity of Nigeria.
“We have always worked together and we will continue to do so . If I come to Sokoto and I have not visited him in his house, it means I have not come to Sokoto, meaning that, such a visit would be incomplete. “
At the meeting, Tinubu recalled it took only one phone call to concede the governorship ticket to Governor Aminu Tambuwal and that phone call came from me and the rest is now history.”
He promised to always to stand with Wamakko and work with him, thereby urging the state’s governorship candidate, Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto “to rely on a good leader on Wamakko.
“Wamakko has remained resolute and focused in spite of some seemingly formidable challenges. As such, you have a reliable father in him. Leadership is a divine responsibility, as God gives and takes leadership to whosoever He wishes and at the time He wishes. “I believe Sokoto is safe. We just need to get more votes out so that we can help absorb other areas of weakness. Nigeria will make progress as it is already on a solid foundation built by leaders like Wamakko. We will always be with him,” Tinubu explained.
On his part, Ganduje has described Wamakko as a highly dependable friend, colleague and brother.
Ganduje commended Wamakko for his sustained support “to President Buhari. His fatherly role at the Senate is also highly commendable. His contributions to the promulgation of people-oriented laws, entrenchment of democracy and ensuring national security are superb.”
In his response, Wamakko extolled the invaluable contributions of the APC national leader, noting that Sokoto “is proud of you. We have high esteem in you. We have been with you. We will remain with you.
“You are a doing a great job for Nigeria. The high powered delegation that includes all those who matter in Kano State in all spheres of human lives is a strong indication that the state is entirely an APC State. “We at the eighth Senate have adopted dialogue and the spirit of give and take, rather than violence and rancour. We will continue to be fair and just to Nigerians. The masses of Nigeria have no any other party, but the APC. “
In 2018, THISDAY had reported that Wamakko abandoned his immediate successor and political godson, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal due to N15 billion fraud allegation currently investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against his administration.
THISDAY findings revealed that Tambuwal decided to defect to the PDP because he had been assured of clinching the PDP presidential ticket by some governors from the South-east and South-south before he eventually dumped APC.
Consequently, political intrigues showed that compelled Wamakko to shelve his defection plan at the weekend, claiming that the presidency learnt about the defection plan after the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki visited Wamakko.
Wamakko, also Chairman of Northern Forum of Senators (NFS), was one of the five governors that defected from the PDP to the APC in 2014 due to irreconcilable differences with the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP leadership.
Wamakko then defected to the APC alongside other serving governors: Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano State), Hon. Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers State), Mr. Rochas Okorocha (Imo State) and Mr. Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), among others, three of whom had returned to the PDP due to APC’s internal rift.
Tambuwal, who defected to the APC as the Speaker of House of Representatives in 2014, eventually returned to the PDP precisely on July 31 to pursue his long-time aspiration to become the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
However, a source told THISDAY that Tambuwal could not again defect to the PDP along with Wamakko, his political godfather contrary to their initial plan to dump the APC at the same time and with a grand political rally to announce their exit.
The source, therefore, disclosed that Wamakko could not leave the APC again for fear of being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He explained that the presidency learnt about Wamakko’s plan “to defect when Saraki visited him sometimes in 2017. Saraki was returning from a foreign trip the day he visited Wamakko. He flew directly to Sokoto to discuss Wamakko.
“After Saraki’s visit, the EFCC revisited a N15 billion graft allegation against Wamakko. He was shown incriminating evidence that compelled to shelve his defection. The EFCC probe actually compelled to stay back in the APC and not because he has any difference with his political godson.
“He never had misunderstanding with Tambuwal. Even during the congresses, he gave Tambuwal free hand to chose party officials at all levels. He simply wanted to defect to the PDP to help his political son realise his presidential ambition.”
However, another source said Tambuwal “defected to the PDP because some of his allies betrayed him. As governor, he did not have access to the president.