SOKOTO APC LEGISLATORS : Bickering over naming of higher institutions in Sokoto.

By Ibrahim Saifullah

Last Wednesday, 24th May, 2023, the APC in Sokoto state, leveraged on its strength of majority in the state House of Assembly to abort the plan by the state government to rename some higher institutions of learning in the state after some notable personalities of repute.

The State University was named after Sheikh Abdullahi Dan Fodio, a younger brother to the famous Othman Dan Fodio, Abdullahi Fodio, who was recognized and revered as one of the most outstanding architects of the Sokoto Caliphate. His nephew on, Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar on the other hand, had the newly established State University Hospital Teaching Hospital named after him. The name of late President Shehu Shagari was also immortalised with the Shehu Shagari University of Education and the Shehu Shagari College of Education was renamed after Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki among others.

In a show of shame, allegedly orchestrated via the remote control of the state’s APC leader, the law makers tried to block this noble move by the out going administration.

Those who decided rename the Sokoto State University to Abdullahi Fodio University and the others would most certainly, have regarded their decision as an act of tribute and of posthumously honouring our great fore bearers whose vision, industry, genius and selflessness went into the laying of the solid foundation on which is erected all that we are today in the eyes of the world.

Having an Abdullahi Dan Fodio University alongside the federal government-owned Usmanu Dan Fodio University in Sokoto, comes with the advantage of reinforcing the status of Sokoto as truly, the Seat of the Caliphate as well as, projecting a global picture of the city and the state, as a citadel of scholarship. It is a renaissance or a process in the restoration of the glorious distant past of the state.

Having two ivory towers, universities, named after Usmanu and Abdullahi Fodio, one named after late Shehu Shagari and two after Sultans Ibrahim Dasuki and Sa’ad Abubakar are measures of highlighting the uniqueness of the culture, civilization and values embodied in the lives, exploits and legacies of the historic, phenomenal and legendary personalities. The ripples of their courageous endeavours are still being felt in Nigeria and in far away lands.

It is amazing, inexplicable and painful to find a set of supposedly enlightened citizens of Sokoto state that would openly stand in the way of any efforts of honouring the venerable Sheikh Abdullahi Fodio and the other highly respected personalities honoured. Whatever their reasons or motivations, such an act is, to say the least, repulsive, reprehensible and condemnable.

The reason given by two leading members of the APC in the state House of Assembly, Bello Ambarura and Bello Idris on why the APC legislators are opposed to the renaming of the institutions is, to say the least, watery, infantile and laughable.

According to them, it was simply because, "the right procedure in line with established tradition was not followed by the Executive before sending it for consideration in a debate on the floor of the House in plenary."

The "right procedure" or, "established tradition" according to the APC legislators, is that members should have been "individually intimated" with details and their goodwill obtained, before the letter from the Executive on the subject matter is read by the presiding officer on the floor of the House in plenary. In other words, the APC law makers are saying that, they are against the naming of the institutions just because the Executive did not, individually, lobby the members before sending in the letter requesting for affirmation by the House.

The APC legislators are being clever by half. They are taking members of the public for a bunch of little, uninformed nursery school children who cannot see through their gimmicks. As it is, they cannot dare come out to tell the world the true selfish, partisan reasons why they embarked on such an unpopular course over a noble subject that is hinged on partisan bickering and goals ought to be put aside.

Contrary to their nursery school cock-and-bull story, the fact is well known in the public arena that the APC is so desperate, virulent and crude in their opposition to the naming of the state University in particular after Sheikh Abdullahi Dan Fodio because they intend to name the University after their leader, Senator Aliyu Wamakko. This will consequently mean telling the world that they rate Senator Wamakko higher than Abdullahi Dan Fodio in the order of significance in the history of the state.

Perhaps, the lack of respect and reverence being shown to Sheikh Abdullahi Dan Fodio and his nephews with Shagari, is latest manifestation of the contempt, abhorrence and utter disregard of the APC leadership in Sokoto state towards time-honoured institutions and revered personalities

By their action, the APC legislators and by extension, the APC in Sokoto state are giving out the impression that when it takes over the reigns of political leadership, issues of critical relevance to the progress, development and interest of the general public can be sacrificed on the altar of narrow partisan considerations.

The position of the APC Legislators gives a clear signal that confirms the apprehension in many quarters that, with the APC at the helms, Sokoto people will be experiencing a self serving regime of upside down value, mediocrity with vengeful and vendetta intents of unimaginable proportions.

The story of how Senator Wamakko forcefully ejected traditional rulers for reasons of 'hate' and crass 'vengeance’ is well known. That he dethroned many traditional rulers including that of his own Town, Wamakko only to replace him with his own biological brother is still fresh in our minds.

Similarly, few days to his handover of government, he dethroned the district head of Dandinmahe in Shagari Local government and 'demoted' the highly revered Sarkin Kabin Yabo to a lower district for reasons that smelt every inch personal and vengeful. Observers believe these will continue sooner than later his godson is sworn in tomorrow.

Ibrahim Saifullah writes from Mabera Quarters Sokoto.