by Amiru Adamu
Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal,speaker of the Nigerian house of Representatives has demonstrated courage,intelligence and goodwill towards the Nigerian masses through his actions and commitment regarding issues that affect Nigerians directly. This is not un-connected to the fact that he was elected by his colleagues independently without giving in to the will of the political Godfathers,who dictate who should be what in the Nigerian political arena.
The emergence of Hon. Aminu waziri as the speaker of the house of representatives was dramatic. This was because the PDP had already zoned the seat to the south west zone,in-line with its in-house zoning policy. But the then newly elected legislators decided to challenge the in-house arrangement by nominating and electing Hon. Aminu Waziri as their speaker despite political pressure from the supporters of zoning.
Hon. Tambuwal did not disappoint as he led the house to assert its independence and debate issues that affect the lives of Nigerian masses without the usual influence of the executive arm of government. One of such issues was the subsidy withdrawal debate,that sparked off protests all over the country in january.
Though the protest started while the house was on recess,the speaker decided to summon back its members,so as to weigh the issues at hand. This attempt to reconvene was viewed as a threat by political jobbers,who tried all sorts of tricks to stall the move to reconvene the house. At last, the house reconvened and held a passionate debate with most members lamenting the hardship Nigerians will go through due to fuel subsidy removal. The house then concluded the debate with a historic resolution rarely seen before Tambuwal’s reign,by asking the federal government to suspend the withdrawal of subsidy from fuel.
In its reaction to the outcome of the resolution of the house, the NLC in a press statement said “The House of representatives displayed exemplary leadership in not just cutting short its break,but also meeting on a sunday. If other arms of governance work with the exemplary speed,seriousness,sensitivity and patriotic zeal as the house of representatives did today;our country would be a far better place to live.”
The house also went further to establish an ad-hoc committee to verify and determine the actual subsidy requirements and monitor the implementation of the subsidy regime in Nigeria. The speaker appointed another patriotic and fearless Nigerian legislator,in person of Hon. Faruk lawan to chair the committee. The committee got down to business and held series of interviews,public hearings etc with stakeholders in the oil industry. After months of rigorous investigations and enquiries,the committee submitted its report back to the house.
The indication that the committee’s report would be revealing,prompted political jobbers to put pressure on the speaker in order to stop the report from seeing the daylight. But as always the speaker decided to put Nigeria first and make public the findings of the subsidy committee.
In his speech after receiving the report,the speaker said “The probe of the oil sector has raised so much dust from certain segments of the polity such that it became clear that the intention was to frustrate it. For those who regard the oil sector as a secret society or sacred cow,I wish to state without equivocation that it is not. All public agencies in the oil sector are the creation of acts of the National assembly and this honourable house has no powers to legislate for the creation of secret societies………”
The house of representatives has already forwarded the amended report to the president and other relevant government agencies for their information and necessary action. The exemplary conduct of the members of the house,signifies the end of an era of self representation,when members of the house took sides completely with the government abandoning the masses that elected them as representatives.
The Nigerian House of representatives today,is what a parliament should be like. We must give a thumbs up to its leadership for making it possible. The actions of the speaker and his colleagues gives Nigerians hope for a better tomorrow.
Right Honourable Aminu Waziri’s courage has earned him admiration and support among Nigerians,most especially in his state of origin sokoto,where many are considering pressurising him to contest for the governorship of the state come 2015.
I will like to use this medium to urge Mr speaker to keep up the good work,as history will judge his effort to sanitise the business of governance and uphold transparency in Nigeria.
Amiru Adamu is the publisher of Northern Wind Magazine