Birt hday smiles…
L-R: Former Information Minister, Prof. Jerry Gana; President Goodluck Jonathan and the celebrant and Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur at the book launch titled "The Global Villager" held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja... saturday
Peoples Democratic Party National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, was 77 yesterday. In his book, The Global Villager, extolling the virtues of the septuagenarian, written to commemorate the birthday, veteran poet and journalist Eddie Aderinokun presents the views of world leaders, including former United States President Bill Clinton, on Tukur. Chuks Okocha examines some of the testimonies
“The Global Villager,” by Eddie Adenrinokun is a celebration of the industry and politics of the Peoples Democratic Party national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, as he turns 77 on September 15. In it, world leaders, including former United States President Bill Clinton, commend the role of Tukur on the global business and political scenes. Clinton’s Africa policy is among the creative efforts celebrated in the book.
Williams Jefferson Clinton had Africa at the forefront of his foreign policy and appointed reputed people to execute his innovative policies. His cabinet had a large number of African-Americans, which has remained the largest to date. In recognition Clinton’s efforts to develop Africa, the African Communications Agency (ACA), led by Tukur, decided to honour the U.S. president by publishing a book, THE LEGACY, a tribute to the work of Clinton. The book, published in English and French, chronicles the impact of Clinton on African development.
In appreciation of that effort, Clinton wrote in a letter dated February 23, 2001: “I just wanted to thank you for your outstanding work on The Legacy. The book is wonderful and I treasure it. You have done an excellent job on behalf of U.S-African relation and I appreciate your support of my efforts, too.”
In another account in “The Global Villager,” Ghanaian American, Dr. Erikka Bennets, describing Tukur as a “man walking the talks,” stated: “It has been my privilege over the past decades to be associated and work with many distinguished people across the continent of Africa. In the course of working with many of Africa’s finest, I have come to develop a deep respect for Dr. Alhaji Bamanga Tukur whose life and times have been dedicated to making a strong and lasting impact on the growth and development of the African. A man whose unfailing faith, infectious spirit and tremendous capacity for our great continent make him a rare breed.
“It has been an honour to work with him during the formative years of Africa’s growth and development and I have witnessed firsthand for more than two decades how he has tirelessly and relentlessly pursued many critically important projects which have in no small way contributed to the growth of the continent.
“Over the years I have been most honoured and privileged to work with Dr. Bamanga Tukur, learn from him, and benefit from his wealth of knowledge and experience. In my estimation, Dr. Tukur is a true and great servant of Africa indeed.
“His appreciation of the foundational structure of economic development has not only lent credence to the urgent call for African development but has also effectively put to action the move to actualise those calls.”
Also in his tribute, prominent politician and founding member of PDP, Alhaji Isiyaku Ibrahim, writes: “Dr. (Alhaji) Bamanga Tukur (CON), Tafida Adamawa, is a man after my heart, friend, brother; confidant and political associate are words that convey my relationship with the Tafida.”
According to him, “My encounter with Tafida almost 50 years ago was through another mutual friend, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman. Over those years this relationship has blossomed and translated into a dynamic, respectful, trust and with no inhibition at all.
“For those of us close enough to know him well, three things stand the Tafida out: hard work, loyalty and discipline. At an early age, Bamanga had thrust on him the responsibility of manning one of Africa’s largest seaports – the Nigerian Ports Authority. His first task was to decongest the Apapa Port during the Cement Armada.
“Tafida set to work and within a short span of time the congestion at the port became a thing of the past. This was a feat he accomplished with distinction through hard work. It was during his time at the Nigerian Ports Authority that many port terminals were built, starting with the Tin Can Island Port. A man of self-discipline and loyalty to the system, Tafida was soon to acquire added responsibilities.
“In commerce, he has been a tower in the marine and transport industry, terrains where we became very close as members of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). Tafida was regarded as a leader of outstanding ability. No wonder when he contested the governorship position in the old Gongola State he easily defeated the incumbent governor of the state, in spite of the odds against him as a minority Fulani man.
“As Governor of Gongola for only three months, Tafida’s main preoccupation was to turn the state into a centre of excellence. Unfortunately, this dream could not be realised because of the political ambition of the Nigeria military. At the national level Tafida’s brand of politics was full of glamour and finesse; he remained a sight to behold anytime you find him on the campaign hustle and bustle.”
Also in the book is a tribute to Tukur by Isiyaku Ibrahim. To Ibrahim, the PDP chairman is “never a man taking to idleness, Tafida is highly mobile and adventurous. Elected in far away South Africa years ago as President, African Business Roundtable (ABR), Tafida with his customary energy has taken the ABR to all the major capitals of the western world – London, Paris, Washington, and New York – thereby making his name in the international circle. Today the ABR has been accorded observer status at the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the G8 and the African Union. Tafida is also Chairman, NEPAD Business Group.”
In “The Global Villager,” Nigerians and Africans in the Diaspora, particularly the African-Americans, praise Tukur for developing a deep understanding and vision of the valuable, role, and contributions this specialised group of Africans have to offer in the development of Africa.
One testimony read, “It became evident to Dr. Tukur that the African Diaspora is an untapped resource that can tremendously assist in Africa’s development. He has gone above and beyond the call of duty to establish and maintain relationships with many serious-minded African Americans, encouraging and inspiring them to become seriously engaged with and play a more significant and visible role in the new and emerging Africa.
“One of the major areas in which Dr. Tukur has had a great impact is to impart a clearer and deeper understanding of the onerous issues in Africa’s development and progress, to every African-American who has been privileged to cross his path. In fact it was his enormous insights and passion that was one of the influential factors in fuelling my own personal development initiatives and love for Africa.
His encouragement to African-Americans was given visible expression in 1995, when he threw his full weight and total support behind the historically significant 1995 Million Man March organized by the Honourable Louise Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam.
For the African-Americans, his involvement was not only timely but truly momentous, showing a sincere desire to be engaged with the issues that pertain to the African in the American Diasporan experience. This genuine landmark involvement by an African in the activities of African- Americans greatly enhanced the intentions and aspirations of this group to be a part of Africa’s current development efforts. It may also not be far-fetched to add that this bold step by Dr. Tukur has since spared more African-Americans to take more seriously their role in Africa’s life and praxis.”