Sunday, 13 October 2013

E-Focus Sokoto State

Sokoto State Governor

Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko

E-Focus or Election-Focus aims to study each state and understand what role the state will play in determining who becomes president in 2015. This article will focus on Sokoto State.
Sokoto State (formed in 1976) is a state in north-western Nigeria, near to the confluence of the Sokoto River and the Rima River. The state is named after its capital Sokoto, a city with a long history and the seat of the Sokoto Caliphate. The name Sokoto (which is the modern/anglicised version of the local name, Sakkwato) is of Arabic origin, representing suk, 'market'. It is also known as Sakkwato, Birnin Shaihu da Bello or "Sokoto, Capital of Shaihu and Bello"). 

Sokoto state has been governed by both the All Nigeria’s People’s Party (ANPP) and the PDP in the fourth republic.  At present the state is controlled by the ruling PDP under the stewardship of His Excellency Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko. 

Looking at the pie chart below, the CPC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari won a landslide in the state in the 2011 Presidential election. The PDP candidate could only muster 35% of the total votes cast.

 Results of the 2011 Presidential Election in Sokoto State

 In a very interesting dimension, the situation changed in 2012 during the governorship race in a very dramatic way. The CPC this time could only must 7,323 votes which is equal to just one per cent of the total votes cast, a far cry from the 62% it garnered in 2011.  It is quite clear from this, that the governor wields a lot of support in the state, but this influence is most easily neutralised when the voters need to be convinced to vote for a southern Christian candidate over a northern Muslim candidate.  This means that if the PDP fields president Jonathan in 2015, even if the governor gives his total support, it will be an uphill task to deliver majority votes for the PDP. 

Results of the 2012 Governorship Election in Sokoto State

To make matters worse for president Jonathan, the current governor is one of the G-7 governors who are part of the ‘New PDP’. At a time the governor was even suspended by the party but this was quickly reversed. Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, speaker of the Federal House of Representatives is also a very influential politician in the state and clearly not on the same page as president Jonathan. However, the president might obtain the sympathy and support of the Sultan who is the spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria and cannot be waved off in Sokoto politics. Considering all these issues it is difficult to see how the PDP if it selects president Jonathan in 2015 will be able to win up to 30% of the votes in the state. The APC should win between 70% to 80% of the votes quite easily come 2015. 

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