By Chika Onuora
Aminu Tambuwal, the turncoat Speaker of the House of Representatives, is
reported to have made disparaging remarks against his erstwhile political platform, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and President Goodluck Jonathan while asking voters in Kwara State to choose the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the PDP.
Tambuwal was quoted to have said: “They have nothing to offer. They have been lying all along in power. They have not done anything to improve the lives of the people.” Considering how much Tambuwal and his home state of Sokoto have benefitted from the Jonathan-led PDP Federal Government, this is the height of treachery.
Perhaps because Tambuwal is a man who jumps ship for personal gain at the slightest opportunity, it may be difficult for him to see the irony in his. He first jumped from the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) to the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) and then back to the ANPP, from where he jumped to the PDP. Now that he has jumped to the APC, he is accusing the PDP of “lying all along in power” when the whole country knows Tambuwal was the one lying all along to the Party he ostensibly belonged to.
Of greater importance is his charge that the Jonathan-led PDP Federal Government has “not done anything to improve the lives of the people.” This is a hollow charge that must not be allowed to stand and the only way to do so is to remind Nigerians of the facts that Tambuwal would prefer that they forget. A very specific example will suffice. On Tuesday, April 10, 2012, President Jonathan was in Tambuwal’s home state. He did not go there to attend some perfunctory ceremony. He went there to deliver on a campaign promise he had made to not only the people of Sokoto State, but also all the states in Northern Nigeria facing the seeming irresolvable Almajiri problem. On that day, flanked by the Governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wammako, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the Governor of Kebbi State, Saidu Dakingari, Jonathan commissioned the first of hundreds of purpose-built schools specifically designed to enable Almajiris acquire proper education.
The personalities mentioned here are, by the grace of God, still alive and in Nigeria today. So if anyone has any doubt, he should go to them and enquire if, indeed, Jonathan commissioned the school. Moreover, the school, a prototype of the Almajiri Model Boarding Primary School, is located at Gagi, Sokoto South Local Government Area in Sokoto State, and is still operational today as are many others.
Indeed, Tambuwal may wish to confirm from his fellow PDP defector, Atiku Abubakar, who is on record in 2012 as saying: “To the government’s credit, an ambitious Almajiri education scheme has been put in place. This year, the Federal Government built and handed over tens of Almajiri Model Schools to state governments. As part of this scheme there is a commendable focus on girl-child education.”
In commissioning the over N240 million primary school in Gagi, Jonathan personally registered 25 of the youths into the new model boarding school and said: “The Federal government has so far constructed 35 of this model schools. States with large populations of Almajiri will have both boarding and day schools.” According to the Nigerian Tribune, Jonathan also said that building the school “was in fulfillment of his campaign promise to northern states to modernise the Almajiri system by integrating it into the conventional system of education, with a view to providing education to all children who were of school age in the country.”
Much emphasis is being placed on this specific event in order to avoid the usual Nigerian pitfall of referring people to the archives that may not be readily available to all. However, it is important to also place on record that the Jonathan-led PDP Federal Government has made revolutionary progress in agriculture — the mainstay of not only Tambuwal’s Sokoto
economy, but that of the entire north. In this regard, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, Mohammed Monguno—who is from Borno State and happens to also be a member of the opposition APC—appraised Jonathan’s performance in agriculture in a televised broadcast and said, “I must say that the agricultural transformation agenda being pursued by your administration is unparalleled and unprecedented.”
Indeed, to cite but one example in the area of agriculture, the Jonathan administration has brought about a complete change in Nigeria’s fertilizer distribution system. Before then, for well over four decades, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development procured and purportedly distributed fertilisers to farmers. Under that system only 11 percent of Nigerian farmers received fertilisers. Today fertilisers are sold straight to the farmers—not to any government ministry and not to middlemen.
So when the turncoat Tambuwal says, “They have not done anything to improve the lives of the people,” he is clearly talking without thinking about facts. Lastly, one thing is true of turncoats; they can be trusted to betray the trust of anyone around them at any time. Tambuwal, who has
proved himself a veteran turncoat, will surely betray the APC; it is only a matter of time.
*Miss Onuora sent this piece from Asokoro, Abuja via