Aminu Tambuwal: Letting lose a cat amongst presidential pigeons

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WHEN former President Ibrahim Babangida “endorsed” House Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal for a “higher office”, at a recent VANGUARD newspaper event, he probably had a slightly mischievous intention of stirring Nigeria’s political hornets’ nest.

This is because the possibility of a Tambuwal candidacy has become one of the more interesting permutations of political discussion around Nigeria. President Goodluck Jonathan’s handlers are not amused at all about such a possibility. Yet, Aminu Tambuwal, since his fortuitous emergence as Speaker, in one of the most-deft political maneuvers, has shown that he is a politician wiser than his age.

Here is a young man with a tremendous ability to build friendships and alliances across Nigeria. Tambuwal leads the House of Representatives, earning the respect and loyalty of his colleagues.

He travels all over Nigeria cultivating, shoring up and cementing friendships and earning political IOUs, which he could successfully cash-in, whenever and if ever, he chooses to run, He has not said anything in that respect, yet his silence is as loud as the din of an electioneering campaign!

Tambuwal is not the most popular Speaker with those who never accepted his emergence to lead the House. Those who subverted the PDP’s power rotation policy to facilitate Jonathan’s presidential ambition were deluded enough to believe they could eat their cake and have it. Tambuwal’s emergence was their rude awakening and they have been suffering a political insomnia ever since.

To worsen matters, Aminu Tambuwal has not shown the greed usually associated with high office, which makes occupants of offices susceptible to being set up and becoming available for blackmail and consequently ending up political hostages.

He avoids personal controversies; does not covet the perks of high office; refuses official jets for trips; and he is the master of the sound bite, able to say the right thing at the appropriate occasion.

He has attributes of a president at a time when the sitting president is particularly un-presidential! These factors make Aminu Tambuwal such a formidable potential candidate, even when he has not said anything about running for presidency.

The Jonathan presidential situation room must be very busy and running at a frenzied pace, tearing hairs at root, looking for how to damage Aminu Tambuwal. The beauty of a pregnancy is that it cannot be hidden forever. We will soon see how things will pan out as we approach 2015. The Niger Delta ‘militants’ are increasing the din of threat, if Jonathan is not returned in 2015.

But Jonathan’s fate will not be determined by these threats.  Nigerians will make a choice and we will be here to see if Aminu Tambuwal emerges as one of the candidates to give Jonathan the scare of his life!

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