Aminu Tambuwal: Necessary clarifications -By Olu Obafemi

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Aminu Tambuwal: Necessary clarifications -By Olu Obafemi


In the steamy political clime of the mo­ment in this country, it is unwise to single out political actors, either for any form of appraisal or evaluation, as used to be the case among public commentators in the past. In those saner days, politicians who put themselves up for public office at the highest level are ‘arrayed’ before the public, one after another, their records of service closely scrutinized and evaluated so as to determine their preparedness or not for such public offices and in public in­terest. Nowadays, when a columnist does so through a series, that is if he spends more than the space of a single column, he lays out himself for public skinning.

There are various mindsets, sets of minds that are impatient with such elaborate critiquing. Some may have managed to read the first and will not be bothered with the next se­rial. Others may not have read the first and would not have the investigative mind to search for the previous ones to make a comprehensive assessment of the stand­point of the commentator. Judgments must be made quickly, here and now. You will be lucky such responses give you the benefit of the doubt, and not rush to impute all kinds of motives, insinuations, impugnment of name and integrity, and so on. That is part of the risk that a columnist, or a public commentator runs, especially in hot, red-hot- plate, times of electioneering such as we go through presently, as 2015 catches up with us.

I am compelled to revisit my last two columns on Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, based on the reading and misreading that they have attracted. I do so, not because of the angry responses made to them. That is usually a positive expectation of any serious columnist. They show that your fans, or audience, have read you and done so with such thoroughness and concern that they form their own opinions about what you have said. The general public and the writer himself benefit; get further enlightenment. Those who engage in the usual cheap trick of imputing material/financial inducement can be conveniently ignored as part of the price of daring to take the public place!! What is important is that if a large body of reactions appears to have read your position, then it is necessary to clarify by revisiting the stint, for historical purposes.

For those who followed the two-part piece titled ‘Tambuwal on the Threshold of History’, I got the feeling that I was putting Tambuwal up for grabs on the political turf. There is nothing wrong with that, if that was the intention and if it was objectively done. On this particular occasion, that is far from my intention. What then is my reason for picking him up as a subject of interest at this point in time? What did I set out to achieve? I have followed Tambuwal’s yet short outing in the House of Representatives and have seen a number of virtues, attributes and qualities which, if built upon in his political career, will be of tremendous benefit for this country in our continuing and unyielding quest for fitting leadership, role models—a search which has not really been consciously done as it ought to, if we were to realise our national potential as a great nation. I have joined, in the recent past, in evaluating the leadership deficit in our political history and its bane on our evolution as a nation.

I have joined those who have found the paucity of visionary, committed and patriotic leadership as a key disadvantage—besides dysfunctional and weak structure—of our social order. What I set out to achieve in the pieces of the last two weeks was, in identifying the qualities of a young politician like Tambuwal, to sound a cautionary note, to him and to society, especially in the actions he takes and the choices he makes in charting a path in the political arena in the country such that will assist in nurstendering and nurturing his potentials for himself, but more importantly, for the country. I do not intend to rehash the notes of caution that I sounded here. Suffice to mention my comparing him with his predecessor in office of equal brilliance, dynamism and commitment to ideals. I indeed thought of other young men and women in politics of his generation; the choices they have made and the consequences of their actions and the inherent lessons to be learnt. Consider the exploits of a Nuhu Ribadu, for instance. Dynamic, committed and imbued with inimitable Messianic zest. We all know about the plunge he made and the outcome, including the rapid lesson he has himself leant recently, in not just opting for a governorship position but in being prepared to wait, as expedient.

I had said in the first part that people cannot, and should not, be regarded as great until they have gone through the furnace of life and emerged, quoting the so-called classical literatures. More than this, I raised issues about the actions that Aminu Tambuwal had begun to take and their disquieting implications. I raised the manner of his defection from the party through which he rose to power; gained position as a member of the Lower National Legislature, before becoming the Speaker. In a few words, I opined that, given his own statement at defection that he wanted to move unto a political platform that was positioned to rebuild the fortunes of the country, the first thing to do would have been to join in building that party before seeking to govern through it, immediately.

That action would not be salutary; it could even be taken as merely expedient, without the requisite sacrifice that true leadership and ideal heroic zest anticipate and command. I also implied that leaving the party as late as he did while holding on to the position of Speaker cannot be explained away, for a man with the features I outlined in the second part of my column, with the fact that others have done so before or that judgment has not been passed on preceding similar cases. Integrity and visionary leadership anticipates, demands example rather than escapist imitation; uninspiring de ja vu.

Now, the fact that he opted out of the Presidency, and the rumbling and ruptures that it averted was welcome but, as I said, it is neither here nor there. Only when it is confirmed and confirmable that his rejection of the unhelpful purchase of a nomination form for him (as has become fashionable nowadays in our political practice across parties) rest on pure principle will his action be in line of the fine elements of his endowments that I had identified in those stints and which had attracted vituperations!.

The ‘roforofo’ (the demeaning theatrics) that is going on now between Tambuwal with his followers and those who are waging battle with him leave a great deal to be desired. The nature of his involvement reverberates the counsel that I had offered to a man, who I still believe, has a date with history, if he leapt beyond the expediencies, political calculus and power allurements of the moment. I have no problem with leaving with the simplistic insinuations about my relationship with Tambuwal—which truly does not exist, in any sense other than as a public commentator from the observatory. This is my last word on this subject.




  • adefemi.aremu

    ese rere oo