Open Letter To The Jagaban As He Visits Sokoto

By Dahiru Maishanu

Your Excellency, Distinguished Senator, let me seize this opportunity to warmly welcome you, in advance, to the peaceful and serene city of Sokoto, the historic Capital of the Caliphate. The City of the learned and the Islamic Capital of West Africa.

The City of Sheikh Usman Danfodio, Sultan Muhammad Bello, Sultan Abubakar 111, Sultan Muhammad Machido and Sultan Sa ‘ad Abubakar.

Let me welcome you to the City of Sir Ahmadu Bello, President Shehu Shagari, Prince Shehu Malami, Governor Shehu Kangiwa and of course, the City of Governor Aminu Waziri.

Your Excellency, permit me to be your Guide as you and your Distinguished entourage leave the Sultan Sadiq Abubakar International Airport to the City Centre where you are expected to perform a political ritual that is common to all Presidential aspirants who visit the city.

Sir, please ‘shine your eyes’ as Nigerians often say in our popular Pidgin English parlance.

As you arrive the Airport, you will be confronted by a colourful and seemingly enthusiastic crowd of people from a supposed ‘pool’ of different cadres of ‘your’ people. You will be told that the whole of the State is there to welcome you, but shine your eyes Sir.

Amongst the entourage that will welcome you, look closely Sir. The only people of reckon you will find out will be a former Governor who’s a serving Senator, the only rolling stone and arrowhead of your Party in the State who runs a solo show as the Leader, Kingmaker, Referee, Match Commissioner and Chief ‘Seer’ of your entire political fate in Sokoto.

Second in the line-up will be an accidental Minister and a second fiddle to the alter-ego of your Party Architecture in the State who says and does nothing independent without the approval of the Boss.

The third and probably the last on the line will be a newly recruited ‘spoiler’ who will be introduced to you as former this and former that and most importantly a recent ‘Decampee’ who will bring thousands of votes for you,but if truth must be told, you will be only be facing a Paper Tiger and nothing else so please, Shine your eyes Sir.

All others will be an array of ‘army arrangement’, apologies to your elder brother, Abami Eda.

Distinguished Senator, as your self appointed Tour Operative, I will guide you as you leave the Sultan Abubakar International Airport to the City Centre and leave the rest to your official Guides who will give you their own ‘fantastic’ and concocted version of what they believe you want to hear and tell you that Sokoto is solidly behind you and your Party.

The first edifice of development you will notice after leaving the Airport, is the Sokoto State University as you turn right at the junction of the Airport. No doubt, your Chief host will proudly tell you that he built the University from scratch to the finish.

But, what he will not tell you is that he only built the physical aspect of the University but stopped there, leaving the facilities and the academic infrastructure to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who silently completed them and refused to claim credence to them.

Distinguished Senator, within the University walls by your left, there are two gigantic structures at the stage of completion.

Sir, those are the Sokoto State College of Health Sciences and The University Teaching Hospital being wholly constructed by Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

The Hospital is a 2150 hospital bed capacity facility, the biggest in the Region when it starts operation.

Immediately you pass those imposing structures, look at your right side Sir, you will see a dual carriageway that will lead you to the Sokoto New City, a project solely initiated and prosecuted by the Government of Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

Along that new By-pass, Tambuwal is constructing a brand new world class Stadium and an Indoor Games Hall that is the best in the North Western axis of the country. Stay focused Sir, as they will not want your face to go that direction.

As you continue your journey to Sokoto City by the left side, you will see another imposing and intimidating structure, another of many of Tambuwal legacy projects, the Sokoto Girls Academy.

This Academy is built in order to give attention to the lingering issue of the Girl-Child education which your chief Guide gave no attention to when he called the shots.

Don’t be distracted by the Area Boys brigade that form the number of troops accompanying you with their weapons and look to the left Sir.

There, you will see a 1.5million litre capacity Semi Urban Water Scheme Project constructed by Governor Tambuwal to provide quality water to the people of Sokoto.

Your Excellency, your handlers will not mention to you that within the premises of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Governor Tambuwal has established a brand new University called the Shehu Shagari University of Education with the intention of bridging the gap on the educational deficit of Sokoto visa viz-aviz other states in the Federation, a policy you pursued religiously in Lagos a few decades ago.

As you enter the City proper at Farfaru Area, look left again, there is The Sokoto State Advanced Medical Diagnostic Centre, one of the few of it's kind anywhere in the Country. It has been fully functional for two years on.

This is an ultra modern facility complete with modern diagnostic machines and medical applications and services that are second to none in the country was also built by Governor Tambuwal.

As you go into the City proper Sir, I would like to hand you over to your Co-traveller Chief in your political ship.

But, let me inform you about two fly-over bridges and a bridge across River Sokoto that you will see in the course of your tour of the City.

Those beautifully constructed structures have beautified the metropolis and provide succour to the perennial traffic congestion problems that your Chief Guide refused to tackle when he was in control of the common wealth of the State.

Finally, if you have any query or doubts about the contents of this Letter, please don’t hesitate to ask the person sitting next to you.

He knows the Author of this note too well and can testify to you that I’m his ‘Boy’. Good luck and welcome to Sokoto, the Jagaban Borgu and Asiwaju of Lagos.

• Dr Maishanu is a former Commissioner of Information, Sokoto State. [email protected]