Imam Imam, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
What kind of leader is Speaker Aminu Tambuwal?
He is a very courageous person and he’s a man who defines his politics based on his conviction. Anything he is fully convinced is for the benefit of the system or the people, he goes out fully for it.
There is this perception of him as an opposition politician in the ruling party?
It’s a mere allegation, and actually when he became Speaker he ran on what they called then as the “House Project.” The House project is a multi-platform movement, which sought to entrench the independence of the legislature. The movement was supposed to give the House of Representatives leaders chosen by the House. It was also to give all aspect of the legislative business a new focus. It was a movement for the survival of democracy. That was what the House project was about, and Aminu Tambuwal just happened at that time to be someone the House Project picked.
Have you had to manage scandals or any crisis for the Speaker in the media?
No, not one. The Speaker is not a scandalous person, and the House Project as a whole is not a scandalous project. Also the focus of the leaders of the House Project tends to project a new part of legislature, and they have largely succeeded in doing that.
There has not been any reported scandal involving Tambuwal unlike previous Speakers of the House. Does it mean the man is not corrupt or there is no corruption in the House?
Tambuwal is not corrupt, that is for sure. He is someone who runs the affairs of the House in the most transparent manner. Look at the history of crisis in the legislature and the House of Representatives in particular; it usually comes about when members feel they don’t belong; when they feel they are excluded. But the House under Tambuwal runs as a family; all decisions are taken collectively by the House-from individual members, committee members and the body of principal officers of the House. Each and every committee knows its roles and responsibilities and they all know their limitations. So if anyone doesn’t encroach on the right of the other, then you are bound to have this kind of peace and tranquility going on.
You have traveled with him to all parts of the country, who would you say are the people he sees as his role model?
There are political leaders that inspire him and he has said this openly. He is someone who is inspired by intellectuals in governance. He has mentioned someone like late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and late Ibrahim Waziri. He has also mentioned someone like late Sir Ahmadu Bello who plays the politics of generosity, the politics of respect for all shades of opinion. These are the kind of people that inspire the Speaker.
These are political leaders that are dead, what about those still living?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. A good idea doesn’t die. It is the idea; it is the kind of politics these people played that has inspired him. Anyone who professes those kinds of ideas today is certainly Tambuwal’s friend in governance.
What will you say is his political philosophy?
Number one is respect for all shades of opinion. He is not someone who will say because he is in the majority he will not respect the opinion of the minority. Secondly, he believes in the brand of politics that says political leaders must be above partisanship. He believes a true leader must be above partisanship. If you are holding public office, you must cater for the interest of every shade of opinion and interest. That is why in the House of Representatives, the interest of all parties and all members are covered in the decision making process, he believes in collective decision making.
What is his relationship with political elite in the North?
It is perfect. Tambuwal has perfect relationship with all former leaders of this country, either at the presidential level, cabinet level or legislative level.
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