Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, has become more visible in the past months because of his many awards. This, however, is not being viewed as sheer happenstance by political observers. Indeed, the speculation is that Tambuwal is nursing a governorship ambition in his Sokoto State. His speculated ambition has heightened permutations in the state, writes Mohammed Aminu
Penultimate week held fond memories for the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, as his supporters, politician friends and well wishers thronged the auditorium of the Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, to catch a glimpse of their man. That day, Tambuwal was awarded doctor of laws honoraris causa by his Alma mater.
Although, an academic outing, the event was no less a political gathering. Political stalwarts from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governors, Senators and hundreds of members of the House of Representatives stormed Sokoto to honour Tambuwal for his purposeful leadership and selfless service to humanity.
To underscore Tambuwal’s political weight in the state, all the representatives of Sokoto State in the national and state assemblies, including commissioners were present, also being the 31st convocation ceremony of the university and to felicitate with the speaker.
Interestingly, the honour could not have come at a better time. Speculations that Tambuwal was interested in the governorship of the state come 2015 had gone viral.
Particularly, noteworthy is that Tambuwal hails from Sokoto South senatorial zone, a part of the state that has not produced governor since the return to democracy in 1999. Whilst Sokoto East and Central had produced the governor in the persons of Attahiru Bafarawa and the incumbent, Governor Aliyu Wamakko, the South has been left out of the equation.
Thus, it is believed that for political balancing, the Southern part of Sokoto may likely produce the next governor if the PDP in the state adheres to its rotation policy.
It is against this background that many believed the pendulum might swing in the way of Tambuwal.
Already, some groups have commenced subtle campaigns at the grassroots level to sell the Tambuwal candidacy to their rural folks. In fact, observers believed that the recent Sokoto Merit Awards organised by the state government, where Governor Wamakko extolled the virtues of the Speaker before the elders and traditional leaders in the state, was an endorsement for him should he decides to run in 2015.
Besides, most notable politicians within ranks of the PDP in Sokoto have identified Tambuwal as the likely successor to Wamakko owing to his soaring popularity, both in the state and on the national stable. It was not surprising, therefore, to many that the convocation ceremony turned out a political carnival, despite the fact that Wamakko and his Rivers state counterpart, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, were equally bestowed with honorary doctorate degree by the same university.
The highpoint of the event, however, was the presence of Hon. Farouk Lawan, who held down the programme for nearly 15 minutes as the crowd continuously chanted his name as one who had been unjustly persecuted. Everyone at the venue could but notice the Lawan’s stunt.
But much as all seems good for the Speaker to go, that there are other entrenched interests eyeing the governorship will not make it a walkover. Besides, his emergence as Speaker, observers noted, may have also thrown up a huge challenge against zoning idea and that is where many analysts feel the ambition would have a tough time piercing through.
No doubt, he is popular and has huge following, Tambuwal himself has set a precedent as speaker; he should not be seen as predicating his ambition on the basis of zoning since his revolution in the House has since trampled on that tradition. This is where the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mukhtari Shagari and Commissioner for Local Government and Coomunity Development, Alhaji Faruk Yabo, might be waiting for him.
Much as Tambuwal would certainly add value being the number four citizen in the political hierarchy of the country now, other interested parties would give a good fight and at that level, zoning might be the least factor that Tambuwal can latch on.
However, speaking at the convocation ceremony, Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Riskuwa Shehu, said the honour bestowed on Tambuwal, Wamakko, Amaechi and three other recipients was well deserved, and that they had distinguished themselves in their various fields, one way or another in the development of education and socio-economic advancement.
Particularly, Shehu described Tambuwal as an alumnus of the university, who has made the university community and Sokoto State proud through his achievements and leadership in the House of Representatives.
For Amaechi, he said the Rivers State Governor has performed well in the education sector, through massive construction of primary and secondary schools with all the essential learning facilities, comparable only to a university. According to him, what made Amaechi outstanding in development issues was his very strong rating in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals by providing free education and a conducive learning environment.
In his remark, President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okogie congratulated the recipients of the awards and reminded them that the honour done to them was a further call to duty.
He urged them not to rest on their oars but redouble their efforts to bequeath a lasting legacy on the nation. He also challenged stakeholders and managers of universities to complement the provision of facilities that enable institutions function optimally, adding that the Federal Government alone could not shoulder the responsibilities of funding tertiary institutions in the country.
“Our tertiary educational institutions are the pivots on which the transformation agenda rests, hence the need to develop them to achieve the desired targets, “he stated.
Responding on behalf of the awardees, Amaechi thanked the University for the Honour bestowed on them and it was a reminder that education is the bedrock of development of any society and that they would redouble efforts to improve the lots of the people.
He lauded Wamakko for his giant strides in the areas of education, particularly the establishment of Sokoto State University and other institutions in the state.
Amaechi announced that both Tambuwal and Wamakko had resolved to construct a hostel in the university while on his part, pledged to endow a chair at the Department of English.