Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja Three years after, President Muhammadu Buhari has opened up on why he travelled to neighbouring countries after he assumed office. Buhari said his understanding that security and economic development are crucial to any country, influenced his decision to visit Nigeria’s immediate neighbours once he got into office. The president said less money…
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, an avid believer in the integrity of hard work and merit in public service, has lived a life of selflessness and sacrifice for the good of the greater society. He has led a revolutionary leadership since he mounted the saddle as governor of Sokoto state three years ago.
A highly cosmopolitan Nigerian. He does not discriminate on the grounds of tribe, religion or geography. As Speaker of the House of Representatives this was very evident in his selection of his immediate aides and staff from all religions, cultures, ethnic groups and regions in the country.
The governor is an uncommon bridge builder across the many tribes, religions and geographical contours in the country. This makes him comfortable being in any part of the country. On record, he has travelled to all the nooks and crannies of the country, to honour friends and associates, sometimes to the surprise of his hosts.
As Speaker of the House of Representatives, he was reputed to have visited nearly all the country homes of his colleagues in the House who had milestones to celebrate.
Tambuwah has a knack for listening, which makes it easy for him to accommodate all shades of opinions and leanings. He believes that it is in the maze of the exchange of ideas, convictions and discussions that the best in people and issues can sprout.
His quest for and pursuit of the general good has benefited immensely from his forgiving heart. This was most tested during his election to the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives. It was a very fractious campaign that called to question his personal security at many times and pitched him against his colleague from Oyo State, the anointed preference of the Executive arm of government. Once the election was over, Tambuwal let go of all acrimonies, choosing instead to rally everyone, including all those who opposed him, together for the common good – a united and forward looking House of Representatives. Tambuwal is a Muslim who believes in religious tolerance and a society where all the religions should co-exist peacefully.
He has an enduring disposition to the welfare of the poor and needy in the society. This has informed his charity works and contributions over the years and personal sacrifices for the education of the poor and underprivileged in the society.
No person with need ever leaves his presence without receiving some form of succour. Many Nigerians have set up flourishing businesses and schooling as a result of his benevolence. He is a man of high integrity. His word is his honour. He is fearless in the face of intimidation and threat to personal safety. His mission has been and is still the defence of the superiority of the law and the social contract to manage for public good, public treasury entrusted to his watch.
He has lived up to this promise. Tambuwal has remained clean of financial scandals in all of his public leadership positions. As Speaker he was unblemished, as Governor of Sokoto State, Tambuwal has been a shining example of selflessness and prudence in the management of public finance. He has been quoted to say that government must show value for money.
His public life has been driven by a quest for a society where the wealthy and strong must use their expertise and strength to ensure a system where the weak can find space and encouragement to excel. Tambuwal has been an example in the service of humanity.
Tambuwal believes in a strong and independent legislature. He favours a robust legislature in a presidential system of government. He also believes in cooperation between the legislature and the executive to deliver good governance to the people.
It was these beliefs that led to his decision to present himself for service as a member of the House of Representatives and was elected to represent Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal constituency of Sokoto State in 2003 on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP.
By 2004, he became the Minority Leader of the House, from which position he rallied and mobilised his colleagues into the strongest opposition movement the House of Representatives ever witnessed. His rare leadership qualities were acknowledged by his colleagues as equal to none.
By this time the political situation in Sokoto State had changed dramatically. After wide range consultations with his constituents Tambuwal agreed to re-contest for the Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. He won.
Now no longer in the opposition in the House, Tambuwal was easily elected the Deputy Chief Whip of the House, which was the only Principal Officer position zoned to the North West at that time, allowing him to bring his vast legislative experience and leadership to bear on the management of the larger segment of the House. In 2011, when Aminu Waziri Tambuwal again stood for and won election to the House of Representatives, he had become one of the most experienced and ranking members of House.
By then, Tambuwal’s integrity, knowledge of the rules and procedure of the House had made him an asset to his colleagues and the legislative activities of the House It was therefore not surprising that when the time came to elect a Speaker for the House, Tambuwal was the preferred candidate of his colleagues. His nationalistic vision, his leadership by consensus, and his popularity with people across party, religion and ethnic lines, had earned him their trust to lead the 7th House of Representatives as Speaker.
Undeterred by the rancour of the campaign that characterised his election as Speaker and the sometimes man made pits that were sponsored and dug by the leadership of his own party, Tambuwal went on to supervise a very successful House of Representatives, devoid of the controversies, corruption and jostling for power.
Tambuwal’s political and public life has been a harvest of awards of excellence and recognition. Even in Sokoto state where he has been governor for just three years, he has been recognised with the UNESCO 2018 Education Solution Stakeholders Award for his pursuits and service to the people in the field of education.
While presenting the award at the United Nations headquarters Millennium hotel in New York, USA, Chairman of the award committee Dr Hul Hsu said the award is in recognition “of his selfless contribution to quality education in his state.
Okolo writes from Abuja