In Nigeria, nothing sells like unnecessary drama. Aminu Tambuwal who emerged from the clear blue and became the Speaker of the House of Representatives has decided, all on his own, to drop us in it again.
From the word go, Tambuwal was refused full fraternisation by the core Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Because he wasn’t the candidate of Obasanjo and of the PDP for the Speaker’s position, and because of the way he initially conducted himself, Tambuwal was never granted full access into the inner sanctum. The man never recovered from that slight. To get the attention of his mates, Tambuwal began flirting with other Parties and with the opposition. He was ignored. It is like your skinny girlfriend trying to get your attention by hanging around openly with other men. But Tambuwal was diligently scorned and that stung. So in the end, a few days ago, he finally jumped into the arms of the All Progressives Congress.
I know that our politics is still fairly rudimentary and, unfortunately, politicians here hop from one extreme end of the spectrum and from one political Party to the other with no firm principles our ideology. The word ‘Honourable’ is simply vacuously appended to names; it really means nothing. But even at that, certain behaviour at certain levels is beyond the pale. The Speakership of a Federal legislature is not something to trivialise. It appears some of our politicians don’t get embarrassed at all. There are prostitutes that behave better.
As per our current laws, we vote for political Parties and not individuals. Consequently, any elected official who crosses over to another Party ought to automatically resign or lose their post unless they can show cause that their action was necessitated by a merger of their original Party with another, or that their original Party fragmented or split. So, some of the governors who have switched Parties ought to have left their various State Houses but only God knows what our courts are doing these days.
Mr Tambuwal went into the House of Representatives by the grace of the PDP. He contested and was elected its Speaker as a PDP member. He of course has absolute right to decamp to any Party he so desires even if there is no split in the PDP. However, he must then do the ‘Honourable’ thing. He ought to have resigned the Speakership and his Membership of the House of Representatives.
If he had done that, Tambuwal would have been widely applauded and be held up as an example of a younger generation of truly honourable men, and his stock would have risen nationally. Instead, this short-sighted chap is doing what unprincipled politicians across Nigeria do; he is clinging inelegantly like a dying man to a seat he should have graciously vacated.
To compound matters, the Executive arm of the Federal Government also opted to join him in the illegality unpleasantness. They have, typically, chosen to steal defeat from the jaws of an easy victory.
Whilst it is true that the Executive arm is responsible for the provision of security details to sundry officials and persons and that the Police cannot wait every time for the courts to make formal pronouncements before it carries out its mandate of enforcing laws and obeying orders given it by the Executive, there is a clear case of jumping the gun here. Mr Tambuwal is still the Speaker of the House of Representatives until he formally resigns the post or his colleagues give him the heave-ho. Unless of course the police correctly read Tambuwal’s defection to another Party as an act of resignation from the House. In which case, the police need only to have said that the man’s security details were withdrawn because he had ceased to be a member of the House.
However, this wasn’t the case. Apparently, the Executive wants to force Tambuwal’s hand and make him uncomfortable enough to resign the Speakership. That is wrong. The Executive (and the PDP in general) cannot seem to get around its penchant for acting with impunity. Nigeria is littered with double standard. As I write, there’s a Speaker of the House in Ondo who has all security details intact despite having recently defected from the Labour Party to the PDP – although the Labour Party is going through a painful osmotic death.
Having said all that, I think Tambuwal has done himself no favours at all. Ministers and Commissioners who want to contest elective posts are made to first resign their appointments. Moreover, I gathered that Tambuwal wants to contest the governorship of Sokoto State under his new Party. Why then is he clinging on to the Speakership of the House like a suckling infant? I would imagine the demands of the Speakership would pretty much curtail his movements and make him stick around more in Abuja rather than free him up to pursue his dream in far away Sokoto.
I just don’t get it. What is Tambuwal trying to prove other than show that his thinking is manifestly sophomoric and flawed, and that his strategy is worse? Why selfishly lead a nation through another needless political imbroglio? This bloke’s move is thoughtless, immature and petty, and should be roundly condemned.
No sympathy for Tambuwal, none at all. He’s made his bed. What we have here is a small fall by another small man…