Fidelity & Friendship In Politics, The Tambuwal-Ihedioha Example – By Ik Ogbonna
…We secure our friends not by accepting favors but by doing them – Thucydides
Friendship amongst politicians usually don’t last as they climb the political ladder and join different political parties with differing interests. The case of Hon Chukwuemeka Ihedioha and Gov. Tambuwal is worthy of emulation and commendation in this clime where friendship is sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and mobility. Interestingly, they they both started off as aides to lawmakers and joined the fray.
Emeka Ihedioha was born in 1965 while Tambuwal was born in 1966. Tambuwal is a lawyer by training while Ihedioha is a Food Scientist. Hon. Ihedioha started his political career as Press officer to Senate President Iyorcha Ayu in 1992, Gov. Tambuwal commenced his sojourn into politics as Personal Assistant on Legislative Affairs to Senator Abdullahi Wali in 1999.
Having worked within the precincts of the hallowed chambers of the legislature and appreciate the enormous responsibilities and impact legislators can make on their constituencies, both men threw their hats into the murky waters of Nigerian politics in 2003 when Tambuwal contested to represent Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency and won under the banner of All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP while Ihedioha similarly contested and won a seat in the Federal House of representatives to represent Aboh-Mbaise/Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency.
Gov. Tambuwal was re-elected like Hon Ihedioha back to the Green Chambers in 2007 where he (Tambuwal) emerged Deputy Chief Whip after defecting to the PDP and Ihedioha became his boss as Chief Whip. Their bond of friendship was cemented as both men worked harmoniously watching from close quarters the presiding officers and learning from them while bidding their time.
In June 2011, Gov. Tambuwal and Hon. Ihedioha defied their party, the PDP and jettisoned its zoning arrangement to get elected as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives respectively. This time, Tambuwal became Emeka’s boss and yet their friendship blossomed in rebellion. They set the template for the legislative coup Senator Bukola Saraki perfected in 2015 to become Senate President.
In 2015, Tambuwal was elected Governor of Sokoto, Ihedioha also contested to be governor of Imo state and lost to the APC candidate, Chief Ethelbert Anayo Okorocha. It was the great Cicero who was said, THE SHIFT OF FORTUNES TEST THE RELIABILITY OF FRIENDS but this was not the case with both gentlemen as the bond of their friendship grew inspite of Ihedioha’s electoral mishap. Their friendship was not affected or shaken by Ihedioha’s loss, it was a delight seeing Gov. Tambuwal in Imo state on official and private visits and Ihedioha as special guest in Sokoto commissioning projects executed by his bosom friend. Their ability to remain good friends not minding differences of tribes, political affiliation and personality shows their strength of character and pedigree. I commend them and believe they are inspiring many others.
In the current dispensation, Gov. Tambuwal is running to be president while Ihedioha still has his eyes on the guber laurel that eluded him over 3yrs ago. Will good fortune smile on them this time? Win or lose, their friendship hopefully will remain as solid as ever?
Ik Ogbonna is an Owerri based journalist and Media Consultant