There was a near air mishap in Sokoto yesterday when stalwarts of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caused a stir at the Sultan Muhammadu III International Airport, preventing two chartered aircraft conveying top politicians from landing.
Those on board include Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and all members of the National Assembly from Sokoto State. This happened as Hon. Tambuwal said Wamakko’s suspension from the PDP is illegal.
The state chapter had organised a rally to show solidarity to the governor over his recent suspension by the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) over alleged insubordination.
Trouble started when the first aircraft had attempted to land at about 4:15pm, but was unable to do so when the supporters in their thousands unconsciously occupied the runway.
The supporters who were drawn from the 23 Local Government Areas had defied security arrangement at the airport to welcome the governor, who had just returned from overseas.
It took the plane about 20 minutes, hovering in the air before the pilot was forced to change his mind for safety reasons.
Frantic efforts made by the pilot to relocate the runway was prevented by the surging crowd on the tarmac. n airport official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Daily Sun that the communication unit had briefed the pilot to divert to Kaduna Airport for emergency landing.
He, however, described the development as ‘embarrassing’, noting that “politicians should learn how to observe safety at any given time. Someone can imagine the pilot forcing the aircraft for landing without getting its bearing, that could have resulted to a tragedy or perhaps air mishap.” He said.
One of the party supporters, who simply identified his name as Musa, said he came from Yabo Local Government Area and was given N1,500 by a party leader to join the train to the state capital to welcome the governor.
Meanwhile, Hon Tambawal said yesterday that there is nobody in the party that can intimidate Governor Wamakko because people of the state are solidly behind him.
“Wamakko is the leader of our party in the state and nobody can touch him. Any finger that touches him, touches the whole people of Sokoto State”, he said.
Tambuwal noted that he has cross-checked the party’s Constitution and did not find any reason that would warrant Wamakko’s suspension from the party. According to him, the suspension is unconstitutional. The action should be condemned.”
He said, “they should leave Gov. Wamakko alone to exhibit the principles of liberty and freedom of choice. He urged the people not to relent in showing their support and loyalty to the governor.
He quoted a British Member of Parliament as saying, “all politics is local,” wondering why should people not allow politicians to be responsible to their local people.
He also said that political leaders from Sokoto including the Sardauna, the late Ahmadu Bello and former President Shehu Shagari have all offered themselves for selfless service and good leadership which Gov. Wamakko is toeing their path of legacy, so they should allow him offer selfless service to the people.