For Mallam Ubandoma, History Beckons at 57

By Nafiu Muhammad Lema

The proverbial saying, “a golden fish has no hiding place” appears to have its perfect example in Mallam Saidu Umar, (Mallam Ubandoma Sokoto),  whose exemplary leadership style, humility and generosity have placed him far above his political adversaries. A former banker, seasoned administrator and distinguished public servant, Umar who is the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Sokoto State, exemplifies the ancient African philosophy, Ubuntu – I am because we are.

No wonder, he marked his 57 birthday Monday (today) quietly with a renewed commitment to God  and service to humanity.

His style of politics has shown over and over again that humility, selflessness, generosity, loyalty will always trump arrogance and self-enrichment. He has always demonstrated that politics is not only about politicking but about service to God and humanity.

From his early days, Umar with a down-home lifestyle has been giving back to his immediate society. Adjudged to be one politician that even candidates of other political parties wish to emulate, in Sokoto, he has become a path many strive to set their foot on. 

Mallam Ubandoma’s go-getting spirit has been felt in his performance over a multitude of high-tasking assignments and such tasks were achieved to the applause of all. He has never given in to intimidation, pressure or unjust criticisms of any nature from whoever or wherever as he skillfully turns these to strength.

Interestingly, not surprising when in 2019 he was called to take up a higher responsibility as the Secretary to the State Government – the engine- room of the administration of Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal – the news was received with appreciation by Sokoto people who in their attestation, confirmed that Mallam Ubandoma had discharged his previous positions of responsibility creditably. He lived up to expectations as SSG, as he performed his duties to the best of his ability and acclaim of the people of Sokoto. 

His success story in the banking sector is any financial expert’s dream. The 19 years he spent in that banking sphere were very impactful and those indelible records remained unbeaten many years after. The experiences he acquired at First Bank, Standard Trust Bank, which later merged with United Bank for Africa (UBA), Skye Bank, Oceanic Bank, and his last desk at Eco Bank have significantly sharpened his financial mind, and  not surprisingly, he was called upon to deploy his depth of experience in managing resources to serve the good people of Sokoto state as Commissioner for Finance. 

As Finance Commissioner, Mallam Ubandoma applied so much discipline, prudence, and transparency in the management of Sokoto’s economy. Bold decisions were taken that helped improved the state economy. This milestone placed Mallam Ubandoma top among his peers. It was during his stewardship the Single Treasury Account TSA was successfully implemented thereby blocking many leakages in the state coffers, a move that was vital to the success of Governor Tambuwal’s modern Sokoto project. 

Though Umar had no political past, his entry into the limelight sent shivers down the spine of his adversaries. Within a short period, he was able to adapt to the murky waters of the highly intriguing political waters of Sokoto. The opposition in Sokoto once tasted the bite of his political credibility. They looked down on him as a newbie, and yet he outsmarted them. They still bear the pain and consequences of underrating God’s anointed. 

Significantly, during the 2019 general election, our friends on the other side mistook his joviality and good humor for weakness with their brazen belief of him as a newcomer in the business. But Gov. Tambuwal and the PDP thought otherwise. Interestingly, he was appointed the Campaign Coordinator in charge of his native Sokoto South Local Government. This particular local government is of great interest and importance to the APC because it is where the APC candidate comes from. Malam Ubandoma immediately swung into action as he was determined to change the narrative. With great mobilization and his politics of inclusion, when the people filed out, ballots cast and result trickled in, the touted political newbie had created a great setback for the opposition in a local government they hoped to get. The PDP took the won with 40,059 votes against APC’s 36,779 votes. At that moment their impression of Malam Ubandoma’s political sagacity changed. The people have now come to accord him tremendous respect, as they also know that without them behind him, his political journey wouldn’t have been a success.

Umar’s unanimous emergence as the PDP candidate was not unconnected with the popular support and admiration of the populace. Since then, he has transversed the south, east, west, and central desert of Sokoto caliphate arduously to convince voters that he is the right man to drive the sustainability agenda of which he had been part and parcel. 

The problem most governments encounter is that of continuity between the outgoing and the incoming administration. In Sokoto State, that, will not be a problem because Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has laid a foundation by the emergence of a fine, upright, progressive man of the people, with result-oriented mindset as the PDP governorshp candidate that will, by the will of Allah, proceed to build on his worthy achievements. 

Many positive notes would be dropped regarding his title “Mallam Ubandoman Sokoto” which has become a catchy phrase in Sokoto. He is the pillar of knowledge many religious scholars lean onto. He made their relationships more harmonious and peaceful. As the counselor, and guardian whose duty is to groom juries and scholars, he has not only made things more proficient and reputable but also written his name in gold. He has been executing his duties and responsibilities with decorum and efficiency. He’s a perfect example of brilliance and intelligence, commitment and dedication.

On this day, as he marks 57 years,  may we celebrate this Nigerian patriotic and great son of Sokoto with the epithet ‘His Excellency’. 

Sakkwatawa salutes and congratulates you on this auspicious occasion. Your quintessential personality over the years embodies integrity and excellence. May God increase you in wealth and strength.

*Nafiu Muhammad Lema writes from Sokoto.

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