By Imam Imam
Dateline Enugu and Lafiagi: In two of Nigeria’s ancient and historical cities, two unrelated but eventful events will take place today. In the Coal city, the world will witness the official investiture of Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, with the Degree of Doctor of Public Administration (Honoris Causa) by Godfrey Okoye (Catholic) University. In Lafiagi, Kwara State, Tambuwal will be installed as the Garkuwan Lafiagi by the Emir of the town, HRH Sa’adu Kawu Halliru, at the 40thanniversary of his rule.
Tambuwal has come a long way in national consciousness. To be honoured on the same day by two respected institutions only highlights not just his growing reputation as man of honour and distinction, but his tolerance and acceptability among Nigeria’s diverse socio-ethnic configuration.
The Sokoto Governor, having served with distinction as the Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives between 2011 and May this year, comes with a distinguished political and public service antecedent. As an accomplished lawyer who is well-versed in both Islamic and Western scriptures, Tambuwal’s other numerous achievements, including his meteoric rise in politics, has proved him to be tactician and Master of the Game, not in the sense of dirty game, as some people often mistakenly label politics, but a clean discipline built on the philosophy of self respect, fair play, hard work and the spirit of give and take.
Since his election as governor earlier this year, Tambuwal has embarked on far reaching reforms in various sectors in the Caliphate State. As the leader of a vanguard of new breed politicians determined to halt the drift and make the system work, Tambuwal’s contribution towards national development and integration has been appreciated not only in his immediate constituency, but in the country as a whole. What he has done, first as the Speaker and now as a Governor, have increased transparency in governance and made for a better economic management of affairs in Nigeria.
I am sure the authorities of Godfrey Okoye University are not oblivious of the effort put by Tambuwal to uplift the standard of education in his state. Knowing well that no human endeavour will move successfully without quality education, Tambuwal made the revamping of the sector his top priority. Within days of taking over the reins of affairs, he received an unusual request from Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar, to introduce a school transportation system for children in the state. His thinking was that with this arrangement on ground, learning will be enhanced. Tambuwal promptly took up the challenge. Modalities for implementation are currently being developed, pending budgetary approval from the state legislature.
In a bid to boost enrolment figures and halt historical anomaly, government announced a policy that will criminalise the refusal to send children to school. The policy, seen as both radical and revolutionary, has drawn applause from social commentators and other stakeholders. This was followed immediately by recruitment of 500 teachers to address the shortfall in teaching personnel in public secondary schools.
Then also, in Sokoto, emphasis is now on technical education to ensure all students who graduate from secondary school are equipped with necessary skills for self-reliance. Feasibility studies have been completed for the opening of entrepreneurship development centres in the three senatorial zones of the state.
It is not just in his contribution to the education sector that Godfrey Okoye University authorities found Tambuwal a worthy recipient of their honourary degree. In words and deeds, Tambuwal has proven himself adept at providing quality leadership needed to make the necessary impact in the polity. He has proven that when the time and place are right, a leader is often judged not by the rightness or wrongness of what he had to say, but by the dashing jauntiness of his words, the sweet cadence of his expressions, and how effectively the words persuade the heart rather than the head.
In moving with the current realities of change in the affairs of the nation, Tambuwal has demonstrated courage, intelligence and goodwill towards the Nigerian masses through his actions and commitment regarding issues that affect them. This is no surprise considering his apparent willingness not to be encumbered by the political exigencies that had stunted our progress in the past.
The exemplary conduct of Tambuwal convinced the Lafiagi Emirate Council to bestow one of its highest honours on him. His widely circulated opinions and discourses on good governance, public service, constitutional reform, youth and women empowerment and national development was not lost on the council when it decided to make him its Garkuwa — shield or defender of humanity. In all his conducts, Tambuwal has maintained the humble and truthful disposition universally associated with the descendants Sheikh Uthman Dan Fodio. Na Shehu da gaskiya aka san ku is a euphemism known all in Hausa-speaking areas to mean people of trust, respect, integrity and love for humanity. No wonder he was named Aminu—the trustworthy.
Finding himself with a traditional title is not something new to the Governor. A scion of a noble and respected family, the Waziri Family of Tambuwal, Aminu also holds the title of Mutawallen Sokoto.
Having served and acquired considerable experience in his chosen profession of law, between 1992 and 2002, Tambuwal ventured into politics, the platform that was to see his meteoric rise to even greater heights and which enabled him to marry the experiences of his legal profession with those of his new career in politics. The marriage produced a balanced and patriotic Nigerian with vision who saw politics as a caring profession and a means to fulfill a mission, the mission of moving the nation forward through collective and peaceful bargaining, a philosophy he eagerly shared with all like-minded politicians, regardless of party affiliation.
Tambuwal is known to have extended warm handshake of rapprochement and diplomacy to all categories of persons. He has been noted to bare his mind on matters of national importance, some of them thorny and critical, even when such matters directly relate to his own political base. His philosophy of detente already resonates with many politicians across the nation. And, in any case, is there anything more powerful than an idea whose time has come? For those whose paths have crossed with the affable gentleman, they found him as an inspiration and symbol of the emerging army of younger generation of politicians whose main preoccupation is to create a better future for Nigeria.
On this day of double honour, I say congratulations, our dear Governor.
*Imam is the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to Governor Tambuwal