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Tambuwal’s new-look Sokoto

Like every mortal, Aminu Tambuwal, the Governor of Sokoto State has his areas of strength which dominate his persona; he has courage and huge capacity for reaching out. He understands the intricacies of politics and the crazy aphrodisiac of power.

Once he sets out on any political mission, he likes to stay the course to the very end. He has broken many myths built around selfish party directives, from the All Nigeria’s Peoples’ Party- ANPP-to the APC and PDP, each time he needs to make a loud statement about his principles steeped in content and character.

He has never been an advocate of zoning when it comes to political power sharing; he prefers the other option, where merit supercedes mediocrity.

He loves political engagement and interaction. He cherishes the interplay of political forces and ideas, in charting the course of his political emanations. As a young political leader with bubbling energy, he deploys 22 hours daily to keep Sokoto State going. It isn’t the first time.

As a Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, he was literarily awake all night to maintain a stable assembly of 360 members, which often slips into a gale of impeachments if the Speaker is not steeped in his balancing act. Tambuwal wants to run for president and he has every reason to do so.

He believes he has the capacity, political network and reach to rally all the centrifugal and centripetal forces to moderate our aggregate interests in moving the country forward, especially at a time when all tongues are wagging at the country’s polarisation.

Tambuwal’s capacity may be under- rated but his last effort in 2018 at clinching the ticket of the PDP in Port Harcourt was an eye opener. He came second to the man who eventually represented the party at the 2019 presidential election; Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

 

Tambuwal was primed to clinch the ticket until some powerful political forces altered the applecart to cut him down on the fast lane. Like a man who understands the vagaries of politics and the role of providence in human trajectories, he took the outcome with equanimity of purpose and opted to wait for another day. It does appear that another day has come.

 

The 2023 presidential contest presents another opportunity for him to test his political grit and gravitas in readiness to lead the country, heal the wounds in the land and set a different tone for building national cohesion in the years to come. To set the right tune, Tambuwal has taken his home state as a testing ground for his leadership quintessence.

 

On Wednesday, 1st December, 2021, Sokoto was agog when his counterpart from Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa visited the state to commission a world-class, fully equipped Diagnostic Centre to serve the health needs of the people. While some states were agonising during the COVID-19 lockdown across the country, Tambuwal’s uncanny leadership skills came full circle; he was building the Diagnostic Centre without bating an eyelid.

 

By the time the lockdown was over, the physical structure of the Centre was ready, waiting for the equipment to arrive. In no time, the centre was fully furnished with modern equipment that fits into the reality of a 21st century world.

 

The Diagnostic Centre comes as a huge relief not just for the state, but other adjoining states of Zamfara, Kebbi and Katsina. In comparative terms, the diagnostic centre is the best anyone can get in the North- West geopolitical zone, to put it mildly.

 

According to Tambuwal, the Diagnostic Centre is just a precursor to other health institutions being put in place, chief of which is the new gigantic teaching hospital for the state university currently 60 percent completed.

 

The teaching hospital boasts of 1,250 beds, housed under over 50 architectural dering-do to meet the health needs of the people.

 

This is aside the General Hospitals that have been established across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state. Tambuwal’s emphasis is in the area of health and education, aside from road infrastructure as well as agriculture.

 

Completed and ongoing projects do not only tell of his capacity to create something out of nothing, going by the meagre revenue from federal allocation, he has taken the bull by the horns in the judicious application of scarce resources to make meaning for a people that are daily contending with COVID-19 pandemic.

These interventions do not tell the whole story, they only tell part of the story. A story of achievements across the 23 Local Governments in the state. Earlier, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had commissioned a state-of-the-art conference centre sitting on an expansive land in the state capital.

 

An 11,000-capacity stadium is undergoing construction as well as a gigantic multipurpose indoor sports hall. Added to this are 342 housing units which are set to be fully completed in the coming year.

 

The 342 Housing Estate represents the number of votes that secured victory for Tambuwal when it became obvious that the powersthat- be wanted to humble him by orchestrating a defeat at the polls.

 

That didn’t happen because of the eternal vigilance of his supporters who insisted that he must be returned to complete his second term. When I heard that Tambuwal has donated close to 500 operational vehicles to security agencies to support their operations, I marvelled at how he’s able to source for funding. “It is usually logical to set your priorities right in the face of competing challenges,” Tambuwal explained.

 

“Insecurity has become a thorny issue in Nigeria, and as a governor, the chief security officer of the state, you don’t have to lament but to put on your thinking cap”, he added, while assuring visitors that Sokoto state has been a peaceful state irrespective of the recent skirmishes around the border villages in two local governments.

 

Tambuwal has built several schools including girls science schools, across the state, presently constructing three overhead bridges to ease traffic in the city, built several primary health centres, water projects and reticulation, as well as rebuilt the state High Court.

 

He has deliberately remained unsong simply because he doesn’t want to sing his praises. But at a time when the optics in the political laboratory are becoming more interesting, it is important to document history to sustain the narrative.

 

Tambuwal talks about restructuring the country by devolving power from the all-powerful centre to the states in order to engender faster development. He’s not a new convert in the restructuring discourse. He has always maintained that Nigeria has come full circle and the time to begin tinkering with new models to stimulate growth and development is now.

 

“Nigeria must reinvent itself in a way that states and geopolitical zones would be empowered to take certain far-reaching decisions based on their peculiarities, to drive the national narrative. We need to build cohesion and strengthen our institutions, while retooling existing STRUCTURES to acquire the capacity to withstand changing and dynamic scenarios”, he would often say.

 

In his view, the Federal Government should devote time and energy to defence, economy and foreign policy, while allowing the components to handle infrastructural development, education and state policing.

 

Tambuwal queried, “what is the business of Federal Government on primary education for example? Why can’t we strengthen the states and local governments to take over those responsibilities?”.

 

Nigeria has gotten to a point in its national history that deliberate actions must be taken to unbundle its national assets and make the states play more compelling roles in specific areas of our national life.”

 

By the time Tambuwal unfolds his plans in line with the manifesto of his party, the PDP, we may just have begun the process of relaunching the country on the super highway of development.

 

Turning Sokoto state to a huge construction site should be cheering news to anyone who desires to see a new approach to governance in Nigeria.

 

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