Much as Nigerians know, liberal politicians are very rare in Nigeria, but here is one in the Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. He is a politician who welcomes new ideas without unyielding reactions, cares for the democracy of the country and, not the democracy of political parties, and wants for Nigerians? civil rights and their civil liberties.
Not perturbed by the rain of defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last two months, where over 42 lawmakers in Nigeria?s National Assembly ? the Senate and the House of Representatives ? defected to various political parties, Tambuwal has shown that he is a democrat per excellent, not minding the comments from some quarters against him.
Believing in a relatively equal society, Tambuwal looked at the authorities of the PDP in the face and said that defection from one political party to the other is not wrong. This comment by Tambuwal, invariably, supports institutions that limit extremes of politics for rule of law to be fad and for many Nigerians to be liberals to a certain extent, by not abdicating conservatism, where deemed necessary.
Enlivened by his comment, Tambuwal has expressed that he is not a politician who could not learn from the past, unlike many in his caliber, who couldn’t stop living in the past. He has shown that while others are realigning themselves ahead of 2015 elections, he is repositioning the country with potent words, laced with unbiased perceptions.
While he is doing this, he is taking all sorts of abuse from his rivals in and outside politics and from political demagogues. But if he is not a democrat enough than a politician, he could have been using his supposedly great power to make the House a rubber stamp of the political party he is a member and the presidency.
On December 19 2013, Tambuwal reaffirmed the hope that many Nigerians had in him, when 37 lawmakers elected on the platform of the PDP defected to the APC and, the PDP told him to declare the seats of 37 defecting Reps vacant. There were speculations in Abuja, which argued that the 37 member were supposed to lose their seats, in what was taken as a thoughtless move in renouncing their memberships of the party.
But in his democratic wisdom, Tambuwal jumped and passed the seemingly trap, saying that it was not in his power to stop the defecting politicians. Tambuwal is thinking intelligently, whereas many are just goofing on a big issue such as defection, because of party. He has avoided being distracted by the comments of many eventually collapsing politicians, because it was long that the country has had a lot of promises from many politicians, without significant change transpiring.
Democracy is in danger when politicians turned parties? insurgents, derailing from the ideologically definition of democracy to parties? extremists, which is disdainful of the innate social and economic policy of democracy. Tambuwal sees as scornful the conventional misunderstanding of facts in democracy for parties? lucre. He has declined in many ways to declare a war against democracy.
Tambuwal has civic virtues and is more ideologically centered and diverse, open to incremental changes in positive policy.??Even if the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in section 68 (i) (g) reportedly clearly spells out the consequences of cross-carpeting when there is no division in any party, the rule of law is aptly better explained by the courts of competent jurisdiction and not by the House that its main occupation should be to bettering the lots of the different constituencies the members represent.
Evident is that it was not in the powers of Tambuwal to stop the defecting politicians. For instance, when the House of Representatives took over the functions of the Rivers State Assembly, following a protracted breakdown of order in Rivers State, a court nullified the move,???contrary to the provisions of the constitution, which empowers the House to do so.
Tambuwal did not shy away, but reaffirmed the House?s commitment to sort the nullification out at the Court of Appeal and possibly, the Supreme Court. He did not begin to abuse the court, for the reason that the House had such powers to oversee the functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly, as provided in the constitution.
As a wise politician and a respecter of the rule of law, the House leadership appealed against the court?s decision. The Senate also joined the House of Representatives in actually taking a similar decision. So, it was a National Assembly joint decision to take over the affairs of the Rivers State House of Assembly. But because the matter is subjudice, Tambuwal has refrained from commenting on the matter, pending the appellate court?s decision.
It has not been the same story as usual. Tambuwal did not only sought for appeal, he also was curious to liaise with Senator David Mark on how to provide security in Rivers State and across the country, without any personal interest attached in taking over the affairs of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
In earnest, democracy in Nigeria is not sliding from right to left in the House of Representatives that Tambuwal is the leader. He visibly cried for Nigerians on December 18, 2013, when he fingered that the Ministry of Finance and the Budget Office of the Federation were to be held responsible for the poor level of infrastructural development in the country, for depriving critical projects of necessary funding.
It could be recalled that his ire was misunderstood by some persons, who redirected his views to mean that there was a crack in the relationship between the Green Chamber and the Executive. The Presidency has hence thought that adding its voice by berating Tambuwal?s comments would stop the leadership of the House from further probes of President Goodluck Jonathan?s body language, which purportedly encourages corruption in the country.
It was not unfortunate that Tambuwal could say that, but unfortunate that the presidency has not risen to the occasion to demonstrate to the country that it was ready to fight corruption. Without politics of sentiment, it behooves on Nigerians to note that Tambuwal is a better fighter of injustice and corruption in the country, because he has always spoken out against such, but those opposed to his views are on a shoddy job against him of how much they can destroy his image before the public, than how much they can destroy corruption, which he is bent on fighting.
There is no sense that the fights of those against Tambuwal are for democracy, but for selfish reasons.??Let Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal continue to fight for the democracy of the country, but with an open conscience. He should continue to tell the Federal Government that Nigerians are very poor and hungry and wouldn?t know why it continues to say it?s saving money.
While many people are of the view that because Tambuwal is a member of the PDP so for that he should not be exhuming the ills of the government, they should also know that he is a man of freedom and progress. Alhaji Tambuwal should continue to fight whether the PDP or the APC and make sure that Nigeria becomes a place of sane government.
Nigerians want to know between the PDP or APC, which of them is a ?Party of freedom and progress?. As stated by a Frederick Douglass, and narrated by one Elbert Guillory, Douglass called the Republicans in America, ?Party of freedom and progress?. Alhaji Tambuwal should tell the PDP that Guillory said that the first Republican president was Abraham Lincoln, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Guillory reiterated that it was the Republicans in Congress who authored the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments giving former slaves citizenship, voting rights, and due process of law. The PDP is like the Democrats. According to Guillory on the other hand, Democrats were the Party of Jim Crow. Like the PDP, it was Democrats who defended the rights of slave owners. It was the Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who championed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, but it was Democrats in the Senate who filibustered the bill.
Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.