Tambuwal: Daring to be different in leadership

By Sunny Igboanugo on 01/07/2016

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It is the saying of the elders that a blacksmith who doesn’t know how to fashion the gong, must study the shape of the kite’s tail, for direction.

What else could be more apt, germane and compelling advice for Nigeria of today? What would the people not give to recreate some form of vision and hope in a situation where the entire polity appears to be plumbing very deep into the bottomless pit of despair and hopelessness?

Today, the greatest pastimes of many of the lucky few, who witnessed it first-hand, is to reminisce on the first republic, they easily depict as the golden era of the country, and romanticise with its alluring feeling.

Tambuwal, at home with children 

The nostalgia with which that era is construed and discussed confronts the direct opposite of the searing pains of today’s conversations, in the same Nigeria, more than five decades on, as if those who made it possible were thrown direct from heaven rather than people with flesh and blood.

Indeed, the fact that most of them have died is an ample proof of their humanity, leaving the question, if they were not angels, what then made them what they were? Of course the answer is not farfetched – leadership.

The leaders we so canonise today, were not only quite visionary, but simply understood what they needed for the tasks that were entrusted on them. One of such tools was the leadership model where everything is built around the people. They understood that not until a government was able to rouse the populace to action by doing the greater good for the greater number in the society, everything else comes to naught.  

The story was told of how one British reporter had arrived Nigeria to have an interview with the late Prime Minister Alhaji Tafawa Belewa, and was referred to his village, in today’s Bauchi State, where he had retired to enjoy his leave with his people. On arriving his destination, the reporter might have expected an edifice painted adorned with gold and a man living like a king, but was confronted by a simple abode without any form of comeliness. And instead of beholding a kingly figure, he was amazed by the simple, nondescript person sitting on the floor with the rest of the people, his high office hardly distinguishable as he enjoyed his sugarcane.

What about the fact that Chief Michael Iheonukara Okpara, the almighty former Premier of Eastern Nigeria, who built all the landmark edifices still standing in the name of that region today, apart from transforming it into one of the fastest growing economies in the world pre-civil war era or Alhaji Lateef Jakande, whose name still rings bell in Lagos State at this moment, because of his eyemarked legacies still dotting every part of the state? These people were never known for the big monuments they built for themselves, but how they dedicated themselves to elevate the societies they were chosen to serve.

In fact, it was not only on his return to Nigeria from exile years later after the civil war did the entire Igbo people decide to build a house in his Ibeku, Umuahia community of Abia state for Okpara, the only one standing in his name till date.

Now, what is the import of this? Leadership is not about creating empires for self or satisfying the undying and endless personal desires of those who find themselves in offices and positions of authority. Rather, it is how much such offices or positions are used for the transformation of the populace in a positive way. Yes, leadership astuteness is hardly a function of how abundant and limitless resources are flaunted or shared, but how meagre resources are mutated and applied to create abundance. Great leaders are hardly noticed in an environment of wealth and abundance as much as they are in periods of hardship and austerity.      

That is why Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal’s Sokoto State, must ring bell beyond the state and serve as veritable examples to those aspiring to leadership, including his counterparts across the country.

Jesus taught, "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a little thing is unrighteous also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous riches, who will entrust the true riches to you?" (Luke 16:11).

A few weeks ago, Tambuwal was reported to have increased the allowances of members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in the state. The largesse was graduated amongst the professional segments of the members with those in the medical and health sector having the highest. Perhaps, only those, who had gone through this exercise would appreciate what it means to have that extra money, even as little as N1,000 and how that would add an additional impetus to the energies of the recipients and excite fond dispositions towards the governor and what he stands for. Fewer yet, would also fail to appreciate how much many of them would be prepared to go the extra mile to earn that largesse. It becomes even more germane in a situation where workers go on strike over disputes of less than N500 differentials in wages.

Yet, the greater import is not about how this makes the corps members feel. No, it is about the timing. Now, this is a time when the governor’s contemporaries are actually making a show of how poor their states have become and how they could no longer pay workers, not to talk of meeting other basic social and governmental needs.

So, how come the governor is coming out with this package at a time when states earning far higher than his are bursting people’s eardrums with their whining about paucity of funds? Does he have a magic wand that he waves and money begins to rain everywhere or a talisman or a genie that jumps out of a magic lamp when invoked to provide him access to an oasis of endless riches unknown to his contemporaries? Of course, the answer is obvious. So is the fact that what separates him from others is simply a matter of leadership – a disposition that all else come to naught or count very little without a leader aggregating and coming to terms with the interest of the people.

Instructively, as it is with the husbandry and management of resources, so is good leadership or lack of it apparent in human relations. In this, Tambuwal has also shown the stuff he is made of. A few weeks ago, he was in Abia State on a state visit. Recall that the state is controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), currently at daggers-drawn with his All Progressives Congress (APC). What could have necessitated such a gesture in a polity where it is considered a hara-kiri for elements of different political parties to be found together in the open, if not the leadership sagacity that compels engagement towards the higher ideal of creating a better society imbued by common good.

Not only did he commission projects. But far more than that, he used the occasion to speak to the heart of a greater issue, the menace of herdsmen crisis that had become so combustible that it only needed a little spark for Nigeria to be no more. Notwithstanding where he was coming from, his treatment of the matter, not only presented one of the most workable solutions to the menace, but offered the most potent elixir that soothed the laceration in the hearts of the nation. Of course, it is difficult to ascertain what else went down, but the result is that by the time the governor left, the rumble in the sky foretelling the dangerous rain that was threatening suddenly quietened.

Today, frayed nerves are calmed, war cries have died down and ethnically-induced haughty and belligerent dispositions have disappeared, leaving behind the traditional mutually beneficial social and commercial activities that endured before the advent of the wanton carnage and other damages that led to the restive situation. What else construes leadership and statesmanship?

Of course, due to the raucous bellicosity elsewhere and the fact that the nation is not having it easy at the moment, such simple but far-reaching feats that exemplify high leadership capacity are drowned momentarily. But these are dividends which could be called up at the time they are needed. Just like in the biblical multiplication of talents, where the person given N100 was able to produce N200 and the one given N10 buried it in the ground instead of growing it, a time might come when each person currently in the same trade with the Sokoto governor, would be required to present their scorecards.

That’s when it would be clear whether they would be welcomed and given the crown of glory or whether they would be sent to the wilderness, where they would weep and grind their teeth endlessly. For to whom much is given, much is expected.  




Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on July, 1 2016

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