Wamakko:When the godfather takes a bow
By Mansur Ibrahim Rigasa
“A boss has the title, a leader has the people” – SIMON SINEK
One quite familiar difference between the political style of Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko and upcoming politicians like the current governor of Sokoto State, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal is what each mean to the people of the State. For one, Wamakko has the people because he is a leader. That is indisputable to historians and those familiar with the politics of modern day Sokoto State. As for Tambuwal, he is a boss, who carries the title of a governor like a badge of honor and though he cannot be said to be a leader ( because he does not have the people), he has the title of a governor to at least show-off politically.
This brings me to a popular declaration by famous American, old school musician and actress, Dolly Parton, whose famous quote went further to prove that there is a distinction even between a leader (in the general sense) and the type whose target is to inspire others to dream more and bequeath a legacy. Let’s hear out Dolly Parton: “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”
Now, Dolly Parton’s quote sums up this distinction between Wamakko and others. Anyone in doubt can organize a function in Sokoto and announce, even jokingly, that Wamakko would be on the high table. I bet you there would be chaos, because crowd control will definitely be a huge challenge. The Senator has distinguished himself as leader whose biggest asset does not stop at political calculations but also being adept at building a lasting political, social and economic goodwill in Sokoto nay Northern Nigeria. In the South, he also has loyal friends that have combined to make him a bridge-builder. Wamakko gets things politically done and effortlessly because the goodwill he has built for decades is still intact, notwithstanding his recent decision to take a bow by 2023.
Many may want to ask questions about the secret behind Wamakko’s towering political profile that has been sustained for decades. Those close to the man would tell you that his leadership strength lies in rare qualities namely simplicity, generosity, humility, amiability, respectability. And, above all, being very accommodative and friendly. Talking about being friendly, he is not one to discriminate because to Wamakko, one’s social status does not take away his general sense of respect.
With a reputation for the kind of generosity that knows no bound, Wamakko is known to shower even his political opponents with all sorts of gifts such as vehicles and houses not minding political differences.
He accommodates both the young and old, the rich and the poor; the literates and illiterates as well as the abled and disabled.
Wamakko’s accomodating nature is reflected in the way he has shown no disdain for the views of anyone who cares to advice him, moreso as he has been consistent as a listening leader.
One quality this politician possesses, which none among his equals can withstand, is how he opens his house to all manner of people for 24 hours with the gesture to provide relief for their multiple economic challenges – so tirelessly.
It is therefore easy to see why his residence has become more of a beehive of activities, 24/7 and with all categories of people regardless of their status in society.
Though it is heartwarming to note that this humble man is taking a bow to allow the younger generation a new leaf, the question is : will Sokoto ever be two-time lucky to have another Wamakko? Who has the feet large enough to fill the big shoe the real Wamakko is leaving behind? While we ponder over a convincing answer to this pertinent question, it is widely believed that, good and productive leaders like Wamakko – fondly called Alu in Sokoto – are produced once after every five decades.
The broad spectrum of believers in the political ideals of Wamakko have their reasons of course. Let us recount a few of his legacies for his immediate constituency of Sokoto State, that have continued to make him quite outstanding.
He made waves in the area of helping intellectual and academic growth by establishing the Sokoto state University. He also proceeded to set up College of Legal Studies, College of Agriculture and permanent NYSC Orientation Camp. He was the first leader of the State to have abolished school fees for non-indigenes. And, in his efforts to leave behind a befitting legacy in the area of healthcare delivery, he saw to the emergence of an Orthopedic Hospital. What about the Two-thousand housing units in the State;
The Presidential and Governor’s Lodges spread across all the local guvernmments of the State? Or the
30 Housing units built in all the 23 local government areas of Sokoto? There are other numerous projects ranging from roads, Primary Healthcare Centres that space won’t permit one to reel out. This is not to talk of the renovation of schools, hospitals etc. The list could go on and on, but let’s save this as a topic for another day.
As he takes a bow, it is absolutely undeniable that Sokoto, the entire north and Nigeria would always remember him as a jewel of inestimable socio-economic value to the society; a great politician and the almost-unbeatable philanthropist who gave his time, energy, resources and all that he holds dear to make others happy often at his own expense and personal happiness.
Wamakko’s retirement from contesting political office as from 2023 will definitely be a watershed in the democratic history of Sokoto State. It will be the tale of a true democrat and leader who came, saw and conquered – for the good of humanity.
Rigasa wrote from Kaduna State