By Ahmad Rufai -Khalifah
Today I celebrate with His Excellency Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as he clocks 52 years. AWT is one of the few Nigerian politicians I admire and look up to for mentoring and leadership training for his Youthfulness, humility, experience, political will, and doggedness.
As a year one student of the university, I watched how he liaised with his other colleagues from different zones of the country to challenge the status quo of imposition in order to bring back the lost glory of the green chamber which was caused by cases of corruption, oversight abuse, and jamboree. That act of unity renewed my perspective and commitment to a One Nigeria.
In his inaugural speech as speaker, Tambuwal had this to say: “ we acknowledge that the dignity and integrity of this Honorable House have been called to question. We must possess the humility that commands introspection. We accept responsibility for our failures and ask Nigerians for forgiveness.” It only takes a leader with courage and honesty to admit to the failure of his institution, seeks for forgiveness, and renew commitment to change the status. He promised to open a new chapter, commence a new era of responsibility, and lead a house that is responsive, transparent, and accountable in all they do. That was exactly what he did as the Speaker for 4 years. Tambuwal was never indicted, accused, or fingered in any corruption or integrity scandal during his speakership.
Tambuwal has been a unifier – a leader who stands tall among his equals because of his exemplary leadership qualities, open door policy, and honesty. When you look around him, you will see aides from the south-west; friends from the south-south; close colleagues from the south-east. His simplicity and pan-nationalist character have earned him important titles such as the Osaji of Opoji in the Edo Kingdom, Obong Ufan and Udonyi Oro of Oron Nation in Akwa Ibom, Bubagunwa of Ekiti, Madawakin Gashaka In Taraba, Garkuwan Lafiagi and Mutawallen Sakkwato. Matawalle holds at least one title in each of the six (6) geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
Tambuwal is a bridge that connects the North and South. As the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Matawalle was a true nationalist and patriot; he has demonstrated the will to work with anyone irrespective of party, tribe or religion in order to move Nigeria forward. I believe this was why President Buhari nominated him to lead the Governor’s delegation that went to South-East to douse the inter-ethnic tension affecting the country then.
With the continuous crisis and frosty relationship between the Executive and Legislature; Executive and the Judiciary, Tambuwal can serve as the bridge that connects the Three Arms of Government as a Barrister (Judiciary) Who was a Member of the House of Representatives (Legislature) for 12 years, and now Sokoto State Governor (Executive).
Tambuwal is an inspiration to the youths: he came to the HoR as a member at the age of 37 and became the Minority leader; at 41, he became the Deputy Chief Whip, and later became the Peoples Speaker at the age of 45. At 49 Tambuwal left the house after tremendous achievement as Speaker to lead his state as the state governor. Tambuwal became the first Speaker to have a successful transition from the Legislature to the Executive arm of government. Not Too Old and Not Too Young, Tambuwal’s age and requisite experience project him as a bridge between the Youth and the Old aged!
Tambuwal is a man who believes in the unity of the country and that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable. He has demonstrated this will and renewed his pledge at various times. Nigerian Youths shouldn’t be distracted by the continuous call for break up; Our unity is sacrosanct, therefore shouldn’t be revised. I will end with a quote of Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna from his address to Nigerians on National Unity as the NPC President General: “Whatever we plan, let us plan it for the good of Nigeria as a whole. Nigerians should not plan evil on other Nigerians. We are one people with one common destiny.” May Allah continue to guide our leaders in their pursuit of Nigeria’s unity and progress.
Happy Birthday Dan Waziri, Matawallen Daular Usmaniyya! Allah ya cigaba da Jagora, yayi ma sauran rayuwa albarka.
Rufai wrote from Gesse Quarters, Birnin Kebbi.