LAST weekend Sokoto hosted the cream of Nigerian political society. They were in the ‘Seat of the Caliphate’ for the turbanning of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, as the new Mutawallen Sakwato. And in the Nigerian political manner of doing things, most of those who turned out were from the opposition APC party.
It was indicative of the seismic shifts taking place on the subsoil of Nigerian politics today that Tambuwal has become one of the most enigmatic personalities on the scene.
He has built a formidable alliance with people from all over the country and in his years as Speaker of the House, has displayed a dexterity and political wisdom far beyond his years.
There seems to be a remarkable magnetism between the man and his colleagues in the House of Representatives, and compared to other periods since the 1999 transition, the House of Representatives of the Tambuwal years has been far more consistently independent and has also taken far more pro-people stance on many of the issues of governance that face Nigeria today.
Maybe because of the way he emerged as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal has been obliged to make a determined effort to keep his colleagues on side in the face of the hostility of the PDP apparatchik that carries a very deep wound from the inability to force a leadership on the House of Representatives.
So a most interesting political scenario emerged where Tambuwal has kept a remarkable hold on the loyalty of members from both sides of the divide; while outside of parliament he walks a thin edge of suspicion with his PDP co-partymen, but an expansive and increasingly chummy relationship with the opposition.
If ever there is an individual able to hunt with the political pack and run with the herd of politics, that individual is Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. For all intents and purposes, there is no love lost between the House of Representatives of Aminu Tambuwal on the one hand, and the Jonathan Presidency and the PDP leadership. This cloak-and-dagger relationship has been the hallmark of the past few years in our political system.
And as we get closer to the 2015 elections, the situation becomes increasingly more complex, because while Tambuwal remains, officially a member of the ruling party, it is clear as daylight, that his heart and soul seem to have relocated into the opposition APC. There is a local dimension to Tambuwal’s unique position that must not be underrated, and that is located in the political landscape of Sokoto state.
Tambuwal is a very close confidante of the Sokoto state governor Aliyu Magartakada Wammako. Today, the governor is a leading member of the opposition APC and he is a most beloved grassroots politician in his state. Staying close to the governor offers a powerful and secure home base for Speaker Tambuwal.
Tambuwal is loyal to his political roots in Sokoto and that is one of the central reasons for his peculiar political position today. There are indications that Aminu Tambuwal represents a major force in the permutations for the 2015 elections and these permutations are in the context of the choices available to the opposition APC.
While the frontrunners remain the usual individuals: General Muhammadu Buhari; Atiku Abubakar; Governors Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano; Adams Oshiomhole of Edo and Rochas Okorocha of Imo; there are those working on the possibility of the emergence of the younger Aminu Tambuwal as an alternative rallying point. His adroit handling of the House of Representatives; the network of relationships he has built nationwide; his very careful ability to shield himself from the scandals of political life and his incredible humility and human warmth are cited as positive attributes that will stand him in good stead.
But if presidency becomes a bridge too far, there seems to be a fallback option of governorship in Sokoto for the new Mutawallen Sakwato, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
The fact that he is being mentioned in connection with some of the most important positions in the land, merely underscores the heights he has reached in Nigerian politics today. He has been able to learn the ropes and climb so high in a relatively short time. Nigerians recognized his abilities to the extent that his peers gave him a mandate to be their Speaker, much to the chagrin of the party apparatchik.
People are also mentioning his name in the same breath as other leading political heavyweights, in connection with Nigeria’s presidency. Last weekend, his people in Sokoto recognized his community relevance by turbanning him as Mutawallen Sokoto.
A few weeks can often change dramatically the whole basis of permutations in politics, because it is akin to sinking sand, with a pitiless cloak-and-dagger propensity. But wherever Tambuwal will go and the choices that he will make will certainly become clearer in the next couple of months, as the race for 2015 moves into an extra gear.
He will certainly be as entertaining and surprising as he has continued to be in the past few years on the Nigerian political scene. We can conclude with near certainty, that the last has not been heard of the political life Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. Congratulations, Honourable Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. Allah ya ja zamanin ka.