Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and his estranged godfather, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, are now locked in a battle of wits for the support of the majority of members of the state House of Assembly as both men go their different political ways.
Tambuwal is expected to dump the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) later this week while Wamakko has chosen to remain in the APC.
Reliable party sources told The Nation that the lawmakers are now being camped in locations across the state by the political gladiators.
The governor is said to be working round the clock to leave for the PDP with as many state legislators as possible to boost his value in his new party.
The governor’s move is however being seriously challenged by Wamakko who is the leader of the APC in the state.
Sources said that more than half of the state lawmakers originally promised the governor to move with him to the PDP only for some of them to change their mind after a separate meeting with Wamakko.
The source said:”at the meeting, many of the lawmakers started reconsidering their decision to leave the APC. While some were bold enough to tell the governor and his men they wanted to stay back in the APC, other have been playing hide and seek with him.
“The situation in the state, as we speak, is that of uncertainty. The state lost two Senators and four of the 11 House of Representatives members to the PDP last week.
“The two Senators and the Reps who left Wamakko to cross over to the PDP were all his political allies and disciples until they took sides in the rift between Tambuwal and his predecessor.
“Last week’s defection has weakened the base of the APC in Sokoto as the party now has only one Senator while PDP boasts of two. So, the scramble for the Assembly members is very fierce with both the governor and Senator Wamakko determined to outwit each other.”
Top members of the APC in the state are also said to be joined in wooing the state legislators for either Wammako or Tambuwal.
It was also gathered that Tambuwal had planned to switch camps last week but had shelved the move when he found out that most of the state lawmakers had reneged on their agreement to go with him.
A source said: “it was not easy for the governor to get the four Reps to defect to the PDP.
“Apart from the two Senators who have personal issues with our leader, all others who defected to the PDP on the request of the governor were lured with a lot of promises and freebies.
“If this is truly a test of the governor’s popularity within APC, then he can see for himself that he is unpopular. Majority of our party chieftains and members are with Senator Wamakko and the leadership of the party.
“The battle has now shifted to the House of Assembly. The two camps are struggling to win the legislators to their side.
“For Tambuwal, it is a must-win battle as he is ready to move over to the PDP anytime from now. But he is disturbed by the hide and seek game by some of the assembly members after a meeting with the APC leadership in the state on Wednesday.
“Senator Wamakko needs to retain the support of the majority in the assembly to prove that he is still strong politically in the state.”
Another source said Tambuwal may announce his defection tomorrow to keep his alleged presidential ambition alive.
The governor is said to have been told by chieftains of the PDP to join the party early enough for him to be granted a waiver along with other defectors.