To say that we are all living in interesting times in our dear country is to state the obvious. With various interest groups seeking all kinds of favour and attention, the polity has been inundated with all manner of submissions many of which are nothing but erroneous impressions created to pull some people down or paint them in bad light.
While the people engaged in such wheeling have upped the ante of late, Nigerians are increasingly becoming aware of their antics, and are enjoying some good laughs at their expense.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, is being vilified by some hirelings over what they consider to be his closeness to the opposition. To them, since the Speaker has decided to become friends with Nigerians who belong to political parties other than the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he should be ostracized
and punished for his ‘disloyalty’ to what is at best a patriotic endeavor.
It won’t take much digging to discover that many of the people pushing this viewpoint are those who have become increasingly uncomfortable with the Speaker’s posturing as a defender of the common man.
As often stated, Speaker Tambuwal is not on a popularity contest with any public official at federal, state or local government. Instead, he embodies what is best the wishes and
aspiration of the Nigerian people, and expresses, at every point, only the position of the members of the House of Representatives.
Accusing him of disloyalty is nothing but worn out lies churned out to discredit efforts being made to cleanse our polity of the innately divisive style of politics that has stunted our progress in the immediate past and has continued to do great disservice to our democracy.
The Speaker, following in the tradition of democratic inclusiveness, maintains social contacts with all
Nigerians, irrespective of their political leanings. Such contacts incidentally, are not new in our clime or in advanced democracies. To the ignorant ones among us, there are instances in established democracies, notably
the USA, where ruling parties work hand in hand with the opposition to move their nations forward.
Apart from social gatherings, historical records have shown that serving and former Presidents have tapped from the resources of the opposition once the situation demands
such. As at today, no fewer than 10 American Presidents — past and present — have tapped from the rich knowledge base of the opposition when the need arises, for the betterment of their beloved nation. The most recent being the tapping of Republicans Robert Gates, Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Ray LaHood, a former congressman from Illinois, to work in President Barrack Obama’s first cabinet.
In Nigeria, we all know how smoothly the then ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN) worked hand-in-hand with the opposition Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) to render quality service to the electorate. In the present dispensation, we had the likes of late Mahmud Waziri
of the ANPP and late Bola Ige of the AD serving the PDP-government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Let us not forget the Government of National Unity (GNU) actively encouraged during the tenure of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Now, if those respected past regimes in Nigeria and the USA felt the need to work with opposition in politics and governance, where is the justification for castigating Tambuwal for attending SOCIAL functions organized by opposition whose members are in the House of Representatives which he is heading?
In Tambuwal’s brand of politics, seeking to stop social contacts among Nigerians on the basis of political leanings is nothing but affront to democracy. Here is how the Speaker captured the scenario in his words: “According to this new doctrine, it is a political offense for a member of one political party to exchange greetings with someone in another political party, it is indeed a heinous crime for one to visit, attend the burial, birthday, coronation, wedding or any such ceremony of someone in an opposing political party. The proponents of this shameful doctrine not only offend our sensibilities, they constitute an affront on the whole essence of democracy and civilized coexistence, and must be halted before they do incalculable damage to our polity.”
In all his activities, Tambuwal has promoted the concept of a strong dichotomy between politics and governance. To him, there is a difference between a candidate in electoral contest on the platform of a political party and an elected official who has assumed a non-partisan responsibility and taken oath to protect and preserve the constitution, to serve the people and the nation. “While the former is not merely at liberty but under a duty to be partisan, the
latter must conduct himself in a manner worthy of the call to non-partisanship in governance.” And whenever partisan interests conflict with national interest it is partisan interests that must be sacrificed in the preservation of the national interest.
This is, no doubt, salutary to good governance. It is safe to say here that Nigerians are tired of
worn out sentiments dished out to them at every given opportunity in order to justify unnecessary attacks on the person of the Number Four Citizen of their country.
Tambuwal’s performance as Speaker has set the bar in governance. His courage and
equanimity in the face of tough challenges have served as inspiration to his colleagues in the House. It has emboldened them to go about their duties without fear, or favour. Importantly, it has given Nigerians hope that they have a leader who can be trusted to deliver no matter whose ox is gored.
*Imam is the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to Speaker Tambuwal (@imamdimam)