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2023: Tambuwal piloting Atiku to victory steadily

By Michael Abimboye
08 February 2023   |   4:15 am
Sokoto State Governor and Director General of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Council, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, is not leaving anything to chances in his quest to ensure that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the flagbearer of the Peoples' Democratic Party, PDP, in the February 25, 2023 presidential election emerges victorious. For someone who began his political career in…

PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar steps out at the PDP rally in Benin City, flanked by Governor Aminu Tambuwal (left), and Governor Godwin Obaseki (right).

Sokoto State Governor and Director General of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Council, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, is not leaving anything to chances in his quest to ensure that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the flagbearer of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, in the February 25, 2023 presidential election emerges victorious.

For someone who began his political career in 1999 as Personal Assistant on Legislative Affairs to Senator Abdullahi Wali, the then Senate Leader, and was elected into the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2003 to represent Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency, till he became the helmsman of Sokoto State for nearly eight years now and won the hearts of admirers, the ebullient 57-year-old, 1991 Law graduate of Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, has left no one in doubt as to his strategic mastery of the intrigues of Nigerian politics.

Beyond his subsisting brief as chief executive of Sokoto State, Tambuwal has played a very active role in national politics for almost a quarter of a century now, a resume which privileges him, relative to many latter day entrants into the political fray in Nigeria. Notably, he has held several offices in the House of Representatives.

In 2005, he became the Minority Leader of the House until he defected to the PDP. Upon his re-election to the House in 2007, he emerged the Deputy Chief Whip. He at various times, was a member of several committees including the House Committees on Rules and Business, Communications, Judiciary, Inter-Parliamentary and Water Resources. He was also a member of the House Ad-hoc Committee on Constitution Review. He was chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee that reviewed the report of the controversial power probe committee headed by Ndudi Elumelu; Chairman, House Sub-Committee on the Bill for an Act to Amend the Land Use Act, and acting Chairman, House Committee on Power.

Tambuwal was leader of the Nigerian delegation to African, Caribbean, Pacific & European Union Parliamentary Assembly (ACP-EU) and served as Vice-Chairman, Economic Committee ACP-EU, held in Prague, Czech Republic in April 2009.

On April 11, 2015, he contested and won the Governorship election of Sokoto State and was re-elected in the March 9, 2019 Sokoto State gubernatorial election and March 22, 2019 Sokoto State supplementary election.

It was these Tambuwal’s aggregate experiences and good work and deft strategy which saw Atiku emerge as PDP’s presidential candidate last May that recommended him for the challenging task of seeing the Waziri Adamawa to victory as President of Nigeria in the February 25, 2023 election.

And since he and other appointees into the body – Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State (Chairman), Senator Liyel Imoke (Deputy Director General),  Governors Bala Mohammed (Bauchi) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo) as vice chairmen for the northern and southern regions respectively; Prof Adewale Oladipo, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi and Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo – was sworn in last October, Tambuwal has taken the higher responsibilities extremely seriously. And the mood in all branches of the PDP and the national headquarters have been upbeat.

For a start, Tambuwal promised issued-based campaigns as he hit the ground running, an indication of his preparedness for the arduous task. At his maiden press briefing last September, the suave learned man, as lawyers are called, said that Atiku is very well prepared to provide the required leadership for this country at this time. “He has the experience in governance at the federal level, which I believe none of the rest of the candidates can match,” he said.

He cautioned Nigerians against experimentation at the time, adding that “this is not the time for Nigerians to go for trial and error. It’s time for Nigerians to give it to the person that has been tested and who has experience to do a good job, who would from day one hit the ground running as we have done for the inauguration of Campaign Council the very day INEC lifted the ban on campaigns for presidential election on September 28.”

More importantly, Tambuwal promised rancour free politicking. “Our campaign is going to be issue based. We’re going to be marketing our candidates based on the programme that we brought out, which is generally solution based,” he said.

On Monday October 10, Tambuwal set the ball rolling as the PDP flagged off its nation wide campaigns at Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State.

Since the kick-off of the Atiku/Okowa campaigns, Tambuwal has been carefully and peacefully pilotting his team across the nooks and crannies of this country. Daily, he is consulting and networking to drive home the fact that Atiku is the number one candidate for all of the six geo-political zones of this country. At the last count, Tambuwal has led the presidential campaign team to 25 states.

On Tuesday January 31, 2023, it was a historic welcome for the ‘Home Boy’ as Tambuwal pilotted the PDP presidential candidate and his entourage into Sokoto. The mammoth crowd, hitherto unseen in the  seat of the Caliphate since the campaigns began for the 2023 presidential election, was ecstatic as the subsisting Governor of the state and his team chanted the party’s slogans inside the Giginya Memorial Stadium, venue of the rally.

Tambuwal, as he did everywhere he has led the party to, enjoined the people of the state to vote PDP for prosperity and economic recovery.

He explained that Nigeria’ situation currently needs a man who is experienced, mentally and physically fit to fix it, adding that Nigerians had seen the difference between darkness and light, hence the need for them to choose wisely.

The PDP Governorship candidate in Sokoto State, Mallam Saidu Umar (popularly called Mallam Ubandoman Sokoto) expressed his overwhelming appreciation to the people of the State for converging in large numbers to grace the important event.

“We are indeed very grateful to Almighty Allah for this day. We do not have enough words to express our gratitude to our people of Sokoto State – the seat of the Caliphate,”, he said.

He said the display of unflinching solidarity and support as reflected in the mammoth crowd at the campaign was an apparent confirmation that the people in the State were displeased with the maladministration of the APC government in the country.

Also, Ubandoma pointed out that the large number of people at the campaign signified a staggering satisfaction of the people with the performance of the present PDP administration of Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

An elated Atiku Abubakar, apparently pleased with Tambuwal’s magical touch on the campaign train since October last year, reeled out his ‘Recover Nigeria’ programme especially ending insecurity; youth and women empowerment, boosting agricultural production, economic development, education and others, adding these will restore Nigeria to its lost glory. He said he would open Nigeria’s border with Niger Republic to boost inter country trade.

Looking at the tumultuous crowd, Atiku said: “I would like all of you present here to come out enmasse to vote for all PDP candidates in Sokoto State. I’m not expecting less than 1.5million votes from  Sokoto.”

And Tambuwal, the dogged national political strategist of North West Nigeria extraction, promised the Atiku/Okowa team that “PDP will win all the electoral contests in the state in the forthcoming elections.”

Given these antecedents, not only politicians in PDP but also opposing parties believe that Tambuwal is piloting the Atiku/Okowa ticket to victory this month.

Michael Abimboye is a journalist and public commentator.