Tambuwal’s journey to limelight
WALTER Rodney, the Guyanese activist and one Africa’s campaigners for the continent’s emancipation during the colonial era, wrote in one of his books, “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”, that “every generation shall out of relative obscurity, discovers its destiny; whether to fulfill or betray it.”
Commentators who spoke to The Guardian on the transformations in the life of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who was inaugurated last Friday as the governor of Sokoto State, are united in their opinion that the quote from Rodney’s book aptly portrays Tambuwal journey from the unknown to stardom.
He was born in the town of Tambuwal in Tambuwal local government area of Sokoto State on January 10, 1966 to Alhaji Waziri Tambuwal. He attended Tambuwal Primary School where he obtained his first school-leaving certificate in 1979. He attended Government Teacher Training College in Dogon-Daji where he obtained his Grade Two Teacher’s Certificate in 1984.
With his eyes fully centered on conquering the seemingly obscure future, the young teacher got admission to read Law at the Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, Sokoto State. He completed his law degree in 1991 and was called to the Bar in 1992.
He was the Sokoto State Public Relations Officer of the state’s chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), between 1996 and 1997.
Having acquired the law degree which in his view would serve as the ladder to his political ambition, Tambuwal followed this up to learn the rope when he worked as Personal Assistant on Legislative Affairs to Senator Abdullahi Wali, the then Senate Leader.
In 2003, he decided to test the political waters when he contested election into the House of Representatives on the platform of the now defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) for the Kebbi/Tambuwal Federal Constituency. He was successful in his bid as he got elected into the House of Representatives.
Few months to the 2007 general elections, he defected to the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), alongside the former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa. But when the DPP denied return tickets to former ANPP legislators, Tambuwal returned to the ANPP, where he succeeded in picking up a ticket for the election.
Tambuwal has held several offices in the House. In 2005, he became the Minority Leader until he defected to the PDP. Upon his re-election to the House in 2007, he was elected the Deputy Chief Whip.
At various times, Tambuwal has been a member of several committees in the House.
On 28 October 2014, Tambuwal at a plenary of the House defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and few days later his security details were withdrawn by the then Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, a move that was condemned by many well meaning Nigerians.
In the same manner, operatives of Directorate of State Security were withdrawn and were not restored until the second week in March, this year.
Since the defection, security operatives, especially the police on a number of occasions embarrassed him and even made unsuccessful attempts to stop him from performing his duties as Speaker.
This got to a frightening peak on November 20, 2014 when a combined team of armed security personnel locked out the Speaker and his APC colleagues, preventing them from gaining access to the chamber of the House of Representatives.
The former Speaker and his colleagues however made history when they skillfully scaled the high iron-gate on the fence and gained access to the chamber where they met their colleagues from the PDP who had earlier had an unhindered access into the chamber.
Shortly after the raw deal in the hand of security personnel in the premises of the National Assembly, Tambuwal who was turbaned in October as Mutawallen Sakwato, announced his aspiration to contest for the state’s governorship seat.
He followed this up when he paid for and picked his aspiration form and on December 5, 2014, he went for the APC governorship primary where he polled 3,566 to beat his closest rival, Alhaji Umaru Dahiru, who scored 23 votes.
Even after picking his party gubernatorial ticket, the ambition was still under a severe threat following alleged report that the PDP who was bent on scuttling the ambition had reached out to Senator Dahiru urging him to reject the governorship primary.
As if acting the PDP script the senator headed to court and prayed it to cancel the outcome alleging that the primary was fraught with many irregularities. The senator nearly had his way but three days to the April 11, 2015 governorship election, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja adjourned further hearing of the suit to Monday April 13, two days when the election would have been held.
On April 12, 2015 a day after the governorship poll, Tambuwal’s true moment of history came when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared him winner of the poll, having scored 647,609 votes to beat PDP candidate Abdullahi Wali who polled 269,074.
Apart from making history and fulfilling his destiny, Tambuwal by his feat at the gubernatorial election, has indeed set a record when it is remembered that the PDP candidate he beat was not just a former senator and a former Nigerian Ambassador to Algeria, he was the governor-elect’s master and teacher under who he had his political tutelage and cut his political milk-teeth when he served the former senator as his Principal Assistant on Legislative Affairs between 1999 and 200o.
Most observers have continued to marvel at how the former Speaker has been able to display the kind of dexterity and leadership quality with which he holds the House together for all these years without any form of rebellion or revolt from his colleagues even when he defected from the PDP to the APC.
A ranking member of the House who has been there since 1999 and who is also the Chief Whip, Alhaji Ishiaku Bawa in an interview with The Guardian however gave the clue to how Tambuwal got the magic-wand with which he steered the ship of the House to safe harbour.
“Tambuwal’s ascendancy on Nigeria’s political map remains a sort of myth to the country’s age-long power makers who could not decipher it, the manner he has continued to consolidate on this as typified in the uncommon leadership he has brought to bear on the House of Representatives would for ever remain a reference point for research in leadership.
“He has built a formidable alliance with people from all over the country and in his years as Speaker of the House, has displayed a dexterity and political wisdom far beyond his years.
“He has built a remarkable connection between himself and other members of the House, compared to other periods from 1999 the House of Representatives under Tambuwal has been far more consistently independent and has also taken far more pro-people stance on many issues of governance facing the country today.
“Tambuwal has created a record in the House waiting to be beaten as the first and only Speaker who has been able to secure the loyalty of all members of the House from all the political divides and keeps a remarkable hold on it within the House and outside the chamber.”
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