From North to South, Tambuwal Takes Messages of Restructuring, Devolution, National Dialogue to PDP Delegates

Sokoto Governor and PDP presidential aspirant, Aminu Tambuwal, continues his engagement with PDP delegates ahead of the party’s presidential primary on May 28, reports Innocent Onuminya

As the selection of political party candidates for the 2023 elections draw closer, aspirants jostling for party nominations have been crisscrossing the length and breadth of the country to seek delegates’ support. While most of the aspirants move about dangling financial inducements before the delegates, a few others are conducting issue-based campaigns.  In the last few weeks, the Sokoto State governor and presidential hopeful on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Aminu Waziri Tambuwal  has taken a message of hope to delegates across the states. 

Tambuwal who was speaker of the House of Representatives between 2011 – 2015 seems to have devised a tactical approach in trying to sway the voting delegates to his favour by speaking to the core of the problems facing the country. Some of the issues Tambuwal addressed during his tour are sensitive political decisions that many Nigerians believe presidential aspirants from the northern part of the country often avoid delving into out of the fear that it may offend some political interests.  For instance, while engaging delegates of the PDP in Osun and Ogun states, Tambuwal promised to, as part of his restructuring plans,  strengthen and expand the South-West regional security network popularly called Amotekun. This is not a surprise to those who have been following his political engagement on how best Nigeria can tackle the myriad of security challenges posing existential threats to the survival of the country. Tambuwal has not hidden his vote for State Police, because he believes the present system does not give governors, who are constitutionally the chief security officers of their respective states the effective control over police commands in their  states.

While speaking at the PDP secretariat in Osogbo last Wednesday, Tambuwal said insecurity was a big issue and strengthening the South-West Security Network for proper policing and possible adoption as state police is a major part of his plan.

”Insecurity is a major issue across the country and for the South-west and as part of my belief in restructuring, I will strengthen Amotekun and possibly adopt it as a state police for the region.”

The governor who made specific reference to restructuring said the nation could not shy away from restructuring even though it means different things to different people.

“Restructuring differs across the regions but we must come forward and argue it. I present my fact, you present yours and we find a common ground to achieve it. Devolution of power to states is a must if we must progress in Nigeria.”

In Ogun State, Tambuwal spoke to the core economic challenges facing the emerging industrial hub.  He assured that providing a conducive business environment to expand industrialisation in Ogun as well as agriculture are his plans for the state should he emerge as President of Nigeria in 2023. 

“Honourable Ladi Adebutu is here and he can confirm that a conducive business environment is what businessmen need. This I know and I will ensure I provide for proper expansion of industrialisation in Ogun state. Of course, like I said in Osun, State police is a must. We must give more powers to the states if we must develop as a nation.”

While speaking with delegates in Akure, Ondo State, the governor reinforced his believe in the devolution of powers to the state and local governments.

“Devolution should be done in view with revenue formula. Give more responsibility to the state and local government, and then give them more money. They are closer to the people and have experience. Let the centre be lighter,” he said.

He, however, berated the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for reneging on their campaign promises, particularly as regards to restructuring and tackling insecurity and economic crisis. 

“We are living witnesses to the pathetic security situation in the country which has become a national problem, yet some people are saying that they want to continue what Brother Buhari is doing, please don’t give such people any chance.”

He also called on Nigerians not to lose hope in the face of the current security challenges as help would come when he becomes president.

According to him, “Security challenge is a national problem. I, however, want to urge you not to lose hope as I have the necessary experience needed to address it headlong.”

Interestingly, Tambuwal who is the chairman of the PDP Governor’s Forum and vice chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), preaches the same gospel in every part of the country.  During his visit to Gombe, Tambuwal did not hide his position on the restructuring campaign as he said, “I’m thinking about bringing everyone in the country to discuss and engage on the way forward for this country. In any case, those talking about restructuring are not talking about physical restructuring, some are talking about physical restructuring, and some others are talking about how we can devolve power to the states, and local government.

“There is a need to take more development to the grassroots for equitable distribution of resources. I know these issues as a former Speaker of the country.”

He, however, emphasised that the country urgently requires a pan-Nigerian leader who possesses the right qualities to lead.

”We must be circumspect in electing who becomes our flag-bearer. We cannot afford to experiment again. We need a president who can engage his peers in international politics and with the right network. We need a president who has the right temperament, capacity, competence and if you look at all of these factors, I check the box.

“I’m well qualified to lead Nigeria. With my background as a lawyer and a life bencher, 12 years of legislative experience and 7 years as governor of Sokoto State, I know what the issues are and I will assemble the best team across the length and breadth of our nation.

He added that he is a team player and “my colleagues who served with me in the House of Representatives can serve as my referees. I ran an open, transparent House. I will do that if you elect me as our party’s candidate.”

Tambuwal’s message was not any different when he visited Yenegoa, Bayelsa State a few days ago. While calling for a pan Nigerian President, which he said he fits the bill,  he identified the need to enhance the quality of life in the riverine areas and improve the economic activities by exploring the aquatic resources. 

“When you are looking for the best, don’t be sentimental. When President Obasanjo created NDDC, he was not from the Niger Delta. But it was out of his pan Nigerian nature. When President Yar’Adua was president, he created the Ministry of Niger Delta, he was not from the Niger Delta but out of his pan-Nigeria outlook. I’m a pan-Nigerian and I have a network of friends across the length and breadth of this country. I understand the issues and I can assemble a team that can work and move this country forward. It’s about teamwork. No man is an island. It has to be collective. 

“Support a candidate that understands the issue of Nigeria, someone who understands federal character, who understands the complexity of Nigeria. Elect someone who has been tested with a position such as Speaker of the House of Representatives and ran the house transparently; someone who understands issues across each state. 

“For example, if and when we emerge as President of Nigeria, I will partner with the government of Bayelsa to establish a deep seaport in Bayelsa. This will decongest the port in Lagos and Port Harcourt. This will bring job opportunities, development and focus on Bayelsa. 

“We must develop aquatic life in Bayelsa State. We must come up with a proper and practicable master plan for proper clean up of oil spillage on our communities and not the 419 one they have been brandishing everywhere.”

In Edo, Tambuwal told delegates that he was in full support of restructuring and pledged that he would give  true financial autonomy to the judiciary, legislature and the local government councils. He added that under his watch, no part of Nigeria would be left behind. Tambuwal warned members of PDP not to cast their votes on the basis of primordial sentiments the upcoming presidential primary.

Edo state PDP chairman, Dr Tony Aziegbemi, speaking to delegates of the party, said “You know where I stand on this matter and it’s clear that I’m with my brother Governor Tambuwal.”

The reception in Imo was also impressive. Addressing the delegates, Tambuwal attributed insecurity in the South-East to the exclusion of the people of the zone from the regime of the Buhari regime, in terms of strategic appointments, thereby making them to feel marginalized.

Tambuwal said, “Buhari has shortchanged the South-East. I was the one who advised Saraki to choose Ike Enweremadu to become his deputy in 2015. There is a complete case of exclusion of the people of the South East. The head of the ten most important parastatals is not from the South-East, including the CBN governor.

“None of the service chiefs is from the South-East. The president, the vice president, the Senate president, the deputy senate president, the speaker of the House of Representatives and his deputy are from the South-East. Under my watch that can’t happen. Every part of this country will be carried along. “South-East and Imo State, in particular, can’t be excluded. The PDP will win back Imo when I become president. Igbo people are industrial. You will find a partner in me. We are working together with our brothers in Sokoto. We have restored normalcy now in Sokoto State. I will be a president for all Nigerians.”

Former Imo state governor and leader of the PDP in the state, Emeka Ihedioha, who was Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives during Tambuwal’s speakership said Tambuwal was the right person to lead the country after Buhari. He added that Tambuwal had the capacity to fix the country and foster religious harmony between Christians and Muslims.

In Kogi, former governors of the state, Captain Idris Wada and Ibrahim Idris popularly called Ibro, led leaders of the party to receive Tambuwal and his entourage which included chairman of his Presidential Campaign council, Senator Tunde Ogbeha, an indigene of the state. Delivering his message of hope to the delegates, Tambuwal lamented the horrific insecurity in the country. He said the APC led government had allowed the country to drift to the precipice but assured that that hope was on the way when he emerges as President.

“No doubt the issue of insecurity is a national issue, but it has worsened under the present administration. Any attempt to vote for an APC aspirant or candidate will worsen Nigeria’s situation. Nigeria should know that APC will continue with Buhari’s bad leadership and under-development,” he said, adding, “this will not go down well for our country as there is hardship in the land. We must not lose hope in this nation. Nigeria will rise again as we need a leader who will unite and not divide us.”

In all his engagements with delegates, Tambuwal has successfully conveyed his message that Nigeria undoubtedly needs a pan-Nigeria leader. There is however a consensus of opinions that the trust Nigerians require in leadership can only be found in a firm individual who preaches the same message in every part of the country. This Tambuwal has demonstrated, so far, during his visits to delegates across the country. 

Related Articles