The difference that Tambuwal portrays

By Sunny Igboanugo on 14/09/2015

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Aminu Waziri Tambuwal

Surely, not a few Nigerians would have been quite troubled, or at best, apprehensive, seeing the glaring headline – A Tambuwal comes to judgement, in The Sun of Thursday, September 3, 2015. And surely, not a few would have exhaled in deep relief after reading the entire piece, written by astute, cerebral and prolific writer, Dr. Amanze Obi, in his equally celebrated column Broken Tongues.

Even though it could conduce the same meaning with A Daniel has come to judgement, as expressed by Shylock in the Shakespearian epic, The Merchant of Venice, which alluded to justice being creditably dispensed, judgement, in this instance of Nigerian context, is not likely to be so interpreted by many in this instance, at first glance.

So, A Tambuwal comes to judgement, is more likely to elicit the negative interpretation that another one has fallen, especially in a clime suffusing with countless daily stories of sordid enterprises involving politicians and political office holders. In other words the quick reading by many would have been that Tambuwal has been caught up by his past or present deeds.    

Thankfully, it was none of those. Tambuwal had not fallen, at least, not in the manner that must have caused the apprehension amongst Nigerians, particularly lovers and fans of the governor. Dr. Obi’s piece was talking about something completely different. The accomplished writer, simply wants the former Speaker of the House of Representatives to go to war in his state, Sokoto, where he took charge as governor on May 29, this year.

The beef is that the governor did not disclose publicly what he met on ground in terms of the state of the Sokoto purse, when he came in. Of course, to some people, not to toe that line in a country where several sharp, but intriguing tendencies operate, one of which is that the incoming government always goes for the jugular of the one before it, is not just a misgiving, but a sort of mortal sin.

So, latching on the agitation of a certain Alhaji Isma’ila Abdulmalik, a citizen of the state, who saw Tambuwal’s decision to move on with the affairs of governance, which of course is expected to be his primary responsibility, without making such a disclosure as an “unusual development,” for which “he could not hide his disgust,” Obi, himself a former Commissioner in Imo State, who ought to understand the vagaries of governance more than an ordinary citizen, concluded that AWT stood in judgement as a result.

Hear him: “In an open letter addressed to Governor Tambuwal published in The Sun of June 25, 2015, Abdulmalik drew Tambuwal’s attention to the fact that ‘it is only Sokoto State out of 29 states or so that had new administrations on 29th May, 2015, that is yet to reveal to the electorate the quantum of debts and money (if any) it has inherited from the immediate past administration. You may wish to know, Your Excellency, that people are anxious to know how much debts, liabilities and cash in various accounts your administration has inherited from the Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko administration….You may wish to reveal the details of finances or debts you have inherited now so that your silence on it will not be used against you in the not too distant future. People need to know how you started so that they can appreciate what you will be able to do with their resources and possibly thank you for it.’”

Of course, only an undiscerning observer, would fail to easily detect the hidden intention of this supposed protest. Notwithstanding the ostensible good intention with which it was couched, even a passive observer would promptly understand that the former federal legislator is being asked to unsheathe his sword from the scabbard and engage in a duel with Wamakko, in the same manner he did with Bafarawa, for the better part of his eight-years in office. The shout of empty treasury must reverberate from Sokoto as in other states. For it is unlikely for such a call to action to come if there is the belief that the state coffers is filled to the brim.

Now, the question is how beneficial would this be were AWT to heed this advice and toe this line? Who would gain and who would lose? Yes, the protester was right in pointing out what has become the trend all over the country. Following the inclination from the central government, the din of massive sleaze has become quite deafening, from Rivers to Kaduna, Plateau to Benue and even Lagos, such that it has become quite difficult to really ascertain whether that it is what real governance is all about.


Now, it is difficult to determine the thinking of the Sokoto governor in this regard. But suppose he is thinking differently? Suppose he has seen the futility in the result of such past duels between incumbent governors and those they replaced – Chimaroke Nnamani and Sullivan Chime in Enugu, Godswill Akpabio and Victor Attah in Akwa Ibom, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and Peter Odili in Rivers, Adamu Mu’azu and Isa Yuguda in Bauchi, Gabriel Suswam and George Akume in Benue, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Ibrahim Shekerau in Kano, Peter Obi and Willie Obiano in Anambra and of course, Wamakko and Bafarawa in Sokoto, among the long list?

Again, suppose he believes that even if there is anything to complain about, it ought not be celebrated and therefore, has simply and quietly handed the information to the relevant authorities to attend to and take action. Yes, suppose he decides to adopt the message in the Chinese saying that it is only a mad man that does the same thing all over again and expects a different result and thus dares to be different? After all, there is a saying in Nigeria that there are different roads to the market.

Indeed, one thing that could hardly elicit any form of debate is that Tambuwal has proved himself to possess some kind of a rare leadership quality that seems to cast him in the mould of the founding fathers of Nigeria.

Or what else could have been responsible for a complete four year stint as the primus inter pares in the House of Representatives without a single scandal, when his predecessors left the same office bespattered with the paint-brush of shame, to put it mildly? Not only was there no issue of official sleaze such as supplying toothpaste and brooms to members who did not need them, at exorbitant costs, but that nobody pointed fingers directly at him or at each other under his watch throughout his stay as the Leader in the Green Chambers, has become a reference point for leadership.

Why not? Those who know him insist that no other result would be expected from a Speaker, who knows the 350 other members by name, remembers their personal details such as their birthdays, the number of children they have, pays them visits in times of joy and sadness, would be the first to call when a baby is born to a member’s household, be there at the naming and still have time to carry out his official functions.

In fact, the thinking is that Tambuwal is probably one Nigeria today that combines the flamboyance and erudition of an Nnamdi Azikiwe, the astuteness and insightfulness of an Obafemi Awolowo and the princeliness and influence of an Ahmadu Bello in his approach to leadership.       

Naturally that countless Nigerians rolled out the drums when the news broke that he was eying Nigeria’s number one job, while some quickly went to obtain the presidential form for him even before he could even give his words clearly underscores this sentiment.

Tambuwal is believed to belongs to the young Turks of Nigerians not bugged down by primordial sentiments, and therefore could sit comfortably at a boat regatta in the creeks of the Niger Delta, be comfortable at an ofala festival in the South East, savour the Eyo festival in Lagos and at the same time do his durbar in Kano or Sokoto.

Now, is this hard-earned image what he is being called to give up, so soon after being entrusted with another tasking responsibility of leading his people out of the doldrums of poverty, such as is pervading the different states across the country, by egging him on to engage in undue bitterness and bickering capable of achieving nothing but distraction and waste of time?

Certainly, the demonstrable texture of what AWT appears to be bringing to the Seat of the Caliphate, hardly suits this template. Here was a governor that waited patiently at a traffic light and when one of the citizens, tried to act the Nigerian in him by pulling out of the queue in apparent attempt to beat the traffic, drove out and block the offending driver, gave him a good lesson on the essence and benefits of patience, to the admiration of other onlookers.

Ask that gateman at one of the hospitals in the state, who could not believe his eyes when he discovered that the driver of the vehicle he was inspecting was the number one citizen of the state. Ask the residents of that street likely to win N1million for being the cleanest in the state. Ask the workers who would soon pack into the 250 units of houses in the Workers Estate in the state capital, or the 4,250 beneficiaries of the job opportunities that are to be created by that singular exercise, which foundation stone was laid only recently. Ask the ordinary citizen of Sokoto State how they are faring already and about the new wave of fresh air blowing across the firmament. 

Tambuwal, certainly has his eyes on the ball. He is busy laying a solid foundation in terms of health, education, security, industrialisation and human development.

Surely, he could do with little distraction at this moment. It will be worthwhile to allow him concentrate, because a bigger task awaits him, for Nigeria.     

 Igboanugo, a journalist, lives in Abuja




Posted on September, 14 2015

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