by Oluwatosin Fatoyinbo
Nigeria’s speaker Aminu Tambuwal is one politician whose prospects, political future will be determined by the outcome of the 2015 elections. Currently the Speaker is either hypocritically acting like he is no longer a member of the People’s Democratic Party while enjoying the office that comes with being a Speaker by virtue of the ruling party. He is either hobnobbing with the Opposition All Progressives Congress, APC or attending social gatherings organized by the opposition and its members. As things stand however, the Sokoto man is on the broad way to his political graveyard.
Tambuwal’s rise to dominance started in 1999 when he was appointed a legislative assistant to Senator Abdullahi Wali, who was at that time the Senate Leader. He soon decided to contest and in 2003, he was elected as the Federal Representative for the Kebbi/Tambuwal Federal Constituency. Subsequently in 2011, he was elected Speaker of the Lower chamber, succeeding Dimeji.
However, the history of Tambuwal’s political career is one loaded with indecision and that might soon cost him his political career. He’s been “lucky” growing through the ranks and one Politician that enjoys the support from the mainly middle class Nigerians owing to his socialist ideals and often speaks up against the Jonathan led government.
A look at some of Tambuwal’s political confusion will shed more light on his soon to be sealed political death.
In 2003, he was elected to the House of Representatives under the Platform of the All Nigeria People’s party (ANPP). The ANPP was the party in control of his home state of Sokoto. And so he chose the party as a platform and was elected to represent the Kebbi/Tambuwal Federal Constituency.
Just a few months to the 2007 general elections, with Tambuwal seeking a re-election, he defected to the newly formed Democratic People’s Party (DPP). Why?
The then Governor of the Sokoto state, Attahiru Bafarawa had defected from the ANPP to the DPP. Funny thing was the fact that Bafarawa had already spent his eight years in office and was therefore not seeking a re-election. Rather he was seeking to be President. Tambuwal followed Bafarawa to the DPP so as to secure a ticket but a few months later, the DPP said no returning legislator would enjoy automatic privileges.
The decision by the newly formed party led the bewildered Tambuwal moving back back to the ANPP. He eventually (luckily) picked the ticket of the ANPP but had wasted energy and resources on a fruitless sojourn at the DPP.
Moments before the elections, the Governorship candidate of the ANPP Alhaji Aliyu Wammako dumped the Party for the PDP and Tambuwal saw no reason why he should not follow. So, to the PDP he moved. How confused can a man get? Yes, the move to PDP paid off as he was elected the Speaker of the House in 2011. But really, the man has a funny history of defection.
When the newly All Progressives Congress (APC) was formed and registered, many expecting him to move to the party from the PDP and this was for no reason other than the fact that Alhaji Wammako had shifted loyalty to the new party. Though he is yet to “publicly” move to the PDP, he keeps dancing around them like vultures waiting for a wounded antelope to die. From the history of his antecedents as seen, defection to Speaker Tambuwal is nothing new..
The All Progressives Congress was formed on the 6th February 2013 and after a lot of unnecessary brouhaha, was duly registered by INEC on the last day of July.
Before the formation and registration, Tambuwal had been in a romance of some sort with the leaders of the merging party especially because his ‘friend’ Aliyu Wammako was one of the PDP Governors at the forefront of the merger. When the party was registered, almost all of the legislators in the state had to cross carpet to the APC but Mr. Speaker stayed. While his counterpart in the Senate managed the process inline with the provisions of the law, Tambuwal allowed a frenzy of “confused defectors” some who had to defect and re-defect in a space of over one month leading to crises. You would argue that based on the first point of argument, it was a good thing that he stayed behind. Not true. He had been defecting to ‘mush room’ political parties before he finally moved to the PDP and when APC was formed, he could finally move to a ‘mega’ party where he had general acceptance. But trust the confused Tambuwal, as unstable as the water, he is rooted to the APC continues to ‘consult’ five months to the 2015 general elections. Five months to the election, Tambuwal hasn’t declared his intentions; he has not defected to the APC and he no longer attends functions organized by the PDP, nor does he acknowledge the party invitation’s to National functions. Despite his outright multi-party activities, he keeps rejecting every ‘love’ advance of the party. This indecision may eventually cost him in 2015.
Romance with the Opposition
The Yorubas have a saying that you don’t need to smell a food item if you’re not going to eat it. This applies concisely to the man from Tambuwal town in Sokoto state.
Initially I thought Mr. Speaker was a member of the defunct Action Congress from the way he kept fraternizing with Governor Babatunde Fashola and Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. I do appreciate the fact that he doesn’t mind speaking out against the policy of the PDP whenever necessary but no party loves political prostitution and especially not the PDP. You cannot keep dining and wining with the devil and expect Angels to visit you. The PDP is no Angel but definitely aren’t impressed with Tambuwal’s much-publicized love affair with the APC.
The Speaker stays dilly-dallying, at the slightest opportunity he has, he jumps the ship.. Today he is an APC man, the next day he loves the PDP. Who does that? You might not like Rotimi Amaechi but he is a man of action. Even though he is from the President’s region, he didn’t mind taking a political decision he thought was in his best interest. He moved to the APC without batting an eye-lid. Even if he returns to the PDP tomorrow, he has already proved a point.
Tambuwal’s continued existence in the PDP is incomprehensible and his winks at the APC are even more confusing. Imagine a situation where he is no longer relevant in the APC scheme and he becomes a totally abandoned article in the PDP?.
Presidential Material Or Gubernatorial Ambition?
Speculations were also rife that he will run for President under the APC platform having secured the support of former Military Head of state General Muhamadu Buhari.
Earlier in August, Tambuwal had said he was consulting on his future “I am still consulting my primary constituency on these crucial matters that affect me. I will come back and engage my people and then make my final stand on the issues known to Nigerians at the most appropriate time” He said.
Sources close to the Speaker say he is eyeing the Governorship slot in his home state with the Platform of the APC as it is he is not considered a member of the PDP, so the issue of getting a ticket is one dream that party leaders believe can never be achieved. Another section of his supporters insists that the Speaker is understudying his chances to either to stay put in the PDP and return as speaker if the President is to get a second term mandate same plan that worked for David Mark during the last assembly. But if the PDP will not be giving the speaker an opportunity to get a ticket, back to the green chambers, even when he does get one from the APC.. He cannot be allowed to lead the house, as the assembly is PDP led. Lastly what are the chances that an APC governorship slot will amount to a win to the speaker in Sokoto? Only time will tell..
Considering he takes the option for a Presidential slot which is also a possibility on the table, as pointed out by a Buhari Associate, he is not qualified to contest on the APC platform since he is not a member. And even if he defects before the October 25 convention of the APC, he is very much unlikely to get the party’s presidential ticket..
So what is Tambuwal’s plan exactly?
Oluwatosin tweets via @tosinfat