The complex politics of Tambuwal

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. AminuTambuwal, may at times appear ambivalent, but the fact remains that the young lawyer from Sokoto State has succeeded in carving a niche for himself as a formidable force in present day Nigerian politics. This derives essentially from the way he has very skillfully managed the affairs of the Green Chamber of the National Assembly in the last six years of the current democratic dispensation.

He has succeeded in not compromising the integrity and independence of the House to the delicate point where many have wondered whether he was still a loyal member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Tambuwal became Speaker against the tide of the wishes of the leaders of his party. Majority of his colleagues in the House had voted for him to lead them as they saw in him a leader who could protect the constitutionally guaranteed independence of the legislature and play effectively the role of a check on the executive and judicial arms of government.
So far, he has served this purpose to the point of self-sacrifice, as ought to be the case.

Because of some of the pro-people positions that he and the House under his charge have adopted, which have been construed as anti-establishment, there have been attempts to surreptitiously remove him as Speaker, but these attempts have always been foiled, largely because of the mass followership he enjoys among his colleagues in the House, across party lines and across the geo-political zones of the country.

Many have come to agree that to a large extent, the House of Representatives has been the bastion of resistance to policies and programmes of government that appear to be anti-people. The House under Tambuwal has asked relevant questions that have raised the consciousness of the people concerning troubling issues and that have brought to public knowledge critical information that would, otherwise, have remained shrouded in secrecy to the detriment of the masses of Nigeria.

Tambuwal has spectacularly succeeded, where many others failed, in commanding followership across party lines, and has often spoken out in commendation of political office holders, especially governors, of parties that are not the PDP, which forthrightness had, at times attracted criticism to him from his party members, especially those from the states controlled by the office holders he had publicly applauded, including Governors RaufAregbesola of Osun State, KayodeFayemi of Ekiti State and Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, all of who belong to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.

He has taken partisan politics to a new level where performance must be encouraged and, indeed, celebrated, as strategy to motivate public office holders to wake up and effectively compete with those that are seen to be setting the pace. That is the way to go, especially if the country is to experience rapid socio – political and economic development.

The recent decampment of 37 members of the PDP to the APC which has changed the political calculations in the Green Chamber, will, indeed, test his political sagacity and his popularity again as he would, literally, be presiding over a House that is now dominated by members of the opposition party.

Tambuwal’s caustic  criticism of the presidency in recent time, especially on account of corrupt practices and the calls by the APC and some other stakeholders for the executive arm of government to be probed as well as for impeachment proceedings to be initiated against the president would present the Speaker with fresh challenges that he must, also, frontally, tackle.

Equally sure to task his political skills is the directive by APC to its federal legislators to block bills brought before the National Assembly by the presidency especially the budget bill. Many have concluded that if the APC’s directive is carried out to the letter, it would lead to a shutdown of government and how Tambuwal handles this new challenge would determine the new height that he would attain in the nation’s political ladder.

The expectation of close watchers of this new kid on the bloc is that he would, as has been his practice, approach these new challenges with the best interest of the masses of Nigeria uppermost in his heart and with the foremost consideration being the need to safeguard the country’s fledgling democracy.

He has positioned himself properly as a beautiful bride in the current political dispensation and the ruling party as well as the opposition must strive harder to court and win him over as he is, without doubt, a major political asset.

Theophilus wrote from Kaiama, Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA of Bayelsa state

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