Idris Waziri, Jamilah Tangaza: Where are they now?

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These three individuals once served their father land meritoriously, but long after their stewardship, not much has been heard about them again. ELEOJO IDACHABA in this piece asks where they could be at the moment.

Idris Waziri

Ambassador Idris Waziri is was Nigeria’s ambassador to Pakistan with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Maldives and Afghanistan. He was also the minister of commerce during the second tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was appointed minister in 2003 and removed in 2006. A member of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), under his tenure, the cassava revolution that later metamorphosed into cassava bread during the tenure of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan started. Waziri, who was originally from Gongola state, now from the present day Taraba state, started his career in the public service as administrative officer until he rose to the position of permanent secretary.

In an interview while in office, he talked about generating revenue for the government through non-oil export, saying, “Agricultural products and solid minerals are our main focus, but we want to ensure that we encourage the export of non-oil products; this is very important for us. We want to increase the capacity of our factories and make them able to compete as well as to produce what we want. Nigeria is a very big economy with more than 125 million people; it represents a huge market. Currently our economy is dependent on oil and gas; 90% of our foreign exchange comes from oil, only this sector of the economy is fully developed, not even our gas sector is properly developed. So, when we realised that Nigeria was becoming a mono-economy with all the dangers, we came to the conclusion that the only way we could make our economy move and grow is through the diversification of the economy. The main sectors we have to look at are first of all agriculture which employs 60 to 70% of our population.”

In 2012, he declared his intention to run for the chairmanship of the PDP although unsuccessfully. He said, “The vision of the party’s founding fathers and President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda which are in tandem with my dream of restoring the party to the path of unity, peace and progress are the reasons I want to vie for the position of the national chairman of the party.” He is however someone who made a lot of contributions to the success of the party since its formation. This earned him the award of grand patron of the party’s youth vanguard which is an attestation of the contribution he has made to the progress of the party. According to a citation in ‘Eminent Leaders publication’, Waziri is, “Someone who has exemplified the genuine attitude of a true leader. A prefect, head prefect, president and secretary to many clubs and associations of students. He is also a traditional title holder because of his contributions towards the development of his community. He also received letters of commendation from the secretary to the military government and head of civil service, former Gongola State Executive Council and military governor, Group Captain David Jonah Jang. He is an ambassador, a minister and recipient of the Commander of the Order of Niger (CON).”

Since he left office, not much has been heard about him.

Jamilah Tangaza

Hajiya Jemila Tangaza, a journalist, was the boss of Abuja Geographic Information Management System (AGIS), an appointment she got under the Minister of the Fedral Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, in 2013. She was the special assistant to the minister in that capacity before the appointment. She had worked extensively as a Hausa presenter on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) both in Nigeria and London. While announcing the appointment, Bala noted that her selection was in a bid to put people in positions where their optimum contributions would impact positively to the overall performance of the FCT Administration.

Writing about her, Kevin Adegbenga, a public commentator, said, “For her, AGIS would certainly be a new, fresh vista that will be challenging. Challenging, because there would be elements in AGIS and beyond who would resist any effort to clean up the place because it would be against their interest, but Hajia Jamilah is no push over. It is on record that when she was with BBC London, she reformed the then highly reactionary and conservative BBC Hausa Service and turned it into a modern technology-driven, multi-platform content provider. Above all, what would make Hajiya Jamila to succeed on this new job is not just her technocratic pedigree, but her pro-good governance, transparency and social justice stance as had been demonstrated over the 20 years of her career as a grass root oriented media practitioner.”

Since her removal some years ago, not much has been heard about her.

Idi Hong

Dr. Idi Hong was the minister of state for culture and tourism, foreign affairs as well as health in the administration of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, respectively. This Adamawa state-born politician is a trained medical practitioner who appeared to have abandoned the profession for politics in the years that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was in power. He was also a one-time secretary of PDP in Adamawa. While he was in the cabinet, he was said to be the youngest member and one had expected that he would be intimidated by the presence of more powerful, experienced ministers.

But he said, “Rather than being intimidated by them, the same older members of the cabinet often protect me.” Hong who at other times indicated to run for governor in Adamawa once said about how he left the medical practice to join politics. He, “I was not born into a political family; neither was my father a politician. I still believe that some invisible forces pushed me into it. It is destiny and once it has been written, you will find yourself toeing that path. I started politics from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where I was in the Students’ Union Government.”

Speaking further, he said, “I also served as the director-general of the Professor Jibril Aminu Campaign Organisation where I successfully handled his re-election to the Senate. I was also the Adamawa state secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party between 2006 and 2007 before I became a minister.

It’s not clear where he could be now.

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