Tambuwal for President! Why not?

By Sunny Igboanugo on 25/07/2018

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On one or two occasions when I broached this subject matter with my colleague and friend, the late Malam Imam Imam, erstwhile spokesman of Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, he had always pled patience. Don’t worry, he would always say, almost non-committedly, neither rejecting it outright nor embracing it enthusiastically, as I supposed he ought, which I found strange if not bemusing.

But, joggling one and two things together I concluded that he was simply taking a cue from his boss. Though it is public knowledge that the governor has a presidential ambition, the sense I got was that he found it more expedient to subsume same in the wider and more ubiquitous Muhammadu Buhari agenda. In my own thinking, Tambuwal, would not mind letting go his aspiration entirely, or at least, suspending it in lieu of the Buhari phenomenon for whatever compelling reasons.

Don’t forget that even before Buhari threw his cap into the ring for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), National Convention in 2014, Tambuwal, then Speaker of the House of Representatives, was touted as one of the strong contenders to it. In fact, weeks before, some of his allies were said to have obtained the nomination form to egg him on.

It was actually the Buhari element that stayed his hand from further pursuing that ambition before settling for his present office. Therefore, it is a settled fact, in my view that Tambuwal had, and probably still has some tremendous respect for Buhari or what he represented then.

However, it is only those saturated with the legendry Aso Rock spirit, which former Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati wrote about some years ago, such as the present so-called Aso Rock cabal, or some elements in the leadership of the APC, who have sunk so deep into the apparently inextricable political morass they have created or the usual Any Government In Power (AGIP), promoters, the self-same organisers of the One Million Man March for the late General Sani Abacha; those who swore that a third term for former President Olusegun Obasanjo was best thing to happen in Nigeria since the discovery of dry fish pepper soup; who said that without former President Goodluck Jonathan in power, Nigeria was headed for the rocks that will not be shaken by what Nigeria has become today under the Buhari Presidency.

I’m sure Tambuwal does not fall into any of these groups. Why? My simple, quick and direct answer: Tambuwal, represents the direct opposite of the Buhari tendency that Nigeria is being punished with today.

Indeed, to say that Nigeria is completely broken and bleeding at the moment is a huge understatement. Never in this country has there been the level of distrust, discontent and division amongst the ethnic groupings outside the civil war period. Today, Nigeria is reliving the gory experience many of them never saw, even when the guns have stopped booming and bombs are no longer dropping.

While the jury may yet be out that Buhari runs the most listless, insipid and banal government in the history of the country with the most underwhelming impacts on the polity in terms of the people’s economic and social wellbeing; there may be arguments here and there about the success or failure of his anti-corruption campaigns; there may, indeed be debates back and forth about his human rights records, his disdain for court orders that ensured that five times on, the bails granted to former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki, has been sniggered at and put in abeyance, ditto, the Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigerian (IMN), Sheik el-Zak Zaki; or that under him, security operatives practically used hammer and clubs to bash down the homes of judges and dragged their lordships out of beds, some half-naked, in the wee hours of the night, all in the name of fighting corruption.

Yes! Supporters may stand up and counter all these with a list of how Nigerian now has so much electricity supply that it does not know what to do with the excess; that the railways are springing up, Ajaokuta is coming back to life and corrupt Nigerians are going to jail and the Augean stables are now sparkling.  But what nobody can subject to any sort of argument is that this is the most dangerous period in the history of Nigeria, peace time. This the most dangerous time to live in Nigeria. These are actually not my words. Ask Amnesty International (AI) and other world agencies monitoring the phenomenon. They will supply you the raw, crispy statistics of how Nigeria has become a massive killing field.

But Buhari did not start it, his aides are quick to argue, as they brandish statistics to impel the argument that there had been more killings pre-Buhari government, while some say the phenomenon is even as old as Nigeria.

 

Image result for tambuwal with the people

Certainly not! But attitude. Buhari has presented the worst attitude towards the problem so far. Unlike other leaders who have tried to attack it through words, actions and policies, Buhari’s approach has rather exacerbated the crisis. Never have there been such brazenness and audaciousness! That Fulani herdsmen would be designated the fourth most dangerous terrorist organisation in the world and Buhari would still deny their activities, is the worst form of living in denial.

All you hear from the President and his people is that Fulani herdsmen carry only sticks and cutlasses with which they cut foliage to feed their cows. This is in spite of a surfeit of compelling evidence, in clear pictures and videos showing the same people wielding AK-47 riffles. At other times you hear statements that betray utterly uncanny sentiments, such as Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, being told that the only solution to the killings in his state, was for his people to “accommodate other Nigerians.”

That is if they do not regale you with talks of the perpetrators being unknown foreigners or remnant of Muammer Ghadafi soldiers or more recently, politicians intent on rubbishing his government.

Why an innocent President, if truly so, will leave things to deteriorate to such a level before these claims beats me. Perhaps, he knows that the next election will run substantially on the issue. Has the horse not since bolted from the stable? At a point in time, Nigerians were practically begging him to at least condemn the carnage happening right under his nose. But all they got was this awful and eerie silence.

The direct consequence therefrom, is that the entire Fulani race in Nigeria, has been bespattered with the paintbrush of notoriety. Every Fulani man today is perceived in many places in Nigeria and beyond as a danger and enemy of the society. Yet, these are the same people who dot the landscape of Nigeria and co-habited with people without let or hindrance. For all you know, the culprits of this dangerous dimension might just be a small group within the whole of otherwise hardworking, supple, affectionate and amenable race.     

Recently, it took our own Wole Soyinka, who surprisingly, has been very kind and obliging of this government, to call what has been happening under Buhari the right name – land-grabbing. In many places, you hear stories of how the lands where the natives have been sacked were taken over, renamed and now used for grazing. Conversely and intriguingly, you also hear claims that the land originally “belongs to us” citing history of some 400 years ago.

How anyone could believe that such a wacky enterprise would succeed in the 21st century beats me. Perhaps, there is a means of ensuring that other Buharis remain in power generations after. Else, he has just five more years, under which this evil scheme must be completed or they must be prepared to face the consequences in no time at all.

Otherwise, a fresh effort to repair the damage must begin. That effort, methinks must come from a different mindset. A Tambuwal might just be right for the job. Like many in his age bracket, who never saw the civil war, his leadership of the House of Representatives, conduces the bridge-building ability and robustness lacking in Buhari, a veteran of that war. A bridge-builder and complete Nigerian is all we need now to redeem our brokenness and begin anew our nation-building project. It is bankable that under a Tambuwal, there will be no them and us syndrome as a template, which has been the bane of this government.

You begin to get the sense more, picturing a governor, who has for the third time running, given the lion share of his budget to education. You then appreciate a move towards solution to a life-long domestic and national problem rather than piling it up. Unfortunately, my friend is gone and I have no way of knowing. But what I know already, impels me to say, RUN TAMBUWAL. I will pull my shirt to fight for this project.

Igboanugo, a journalist, wrote from Abuja

 

Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on July, 25 2018

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