Still on VP Sambo: The Responses

Still on VP Sambo: The Responses


Ibraheem A. Waziri

I have received a number of responses about my two parts essay, “VP Sambo and Politics in the North”, that graced these pages in the last two weeks.  I feel as I end the series, I will need to share with my readers some of the responses. It is important to mention, the print edition of this page on the LEADERSHIP Newspaper, last week, could not take the lot that was written about the VP’s achievements as a governor in Kaduna State due to space constraints. Please read the remaning piece (in italics) before reading the rejoinder by Mal. Ibrahim Abdulkadir:

He (Governor Namadi Sambo) launched an alternative power generation project for the whole state that was aimed at permanently solving the problems of power. He created a company for that purpose and empowered a world class professional, Mal. Mahmud Harande to lead and execute the project. Namadi’s efforts in providing free drugs and medical facilities for all, reached every corner of the state as much his providing free facilities for government owned primary schools to train our children. There was the Operations Yaki that kept the peace for all the period of his stewardship until the April 2011 post election violence. He saw the development of the framework to create new Kaduna city as housing estates were built for the benefits of civil servants in both Zaria and Kafanchan. 

Now the response to my piece by Malam Ibrahim Abdulkadir of the Ahmadu Bello university, Zaria:

“Salam Malam Ibraheem Waziri. Your piece “VP Namadi Sambo and Politics in the North II” predictably is quite interesting and as usual educating because there is always a thing or two to learn from your articles. Having said that I have hoped that you will tackle the issue from a more holistic view point of leadership itself and the interconnectivity between its various appendages vis a vis actions or inaction of our current leaders, the VP inclusive. My first comment was done in a rush and may not have explained my points clearly so permit me to try and make some brief clarifications.

1. His achievements as Governor of Kaduna state are a plus for him but they do not help the current situation because as you said the VP is by virtue of his position the leader of the North which is a much larger geographical space than Kaduna. People in Kano, Zamfara, Sokoto, Bauchi, Katsina etc may not have felt this impact of his that you mentioned and their judgment of his capabilities would be based on his current performance as VP. They would look at the problems I have pointed out (i.e insecurity, unemployment, poverty, illiteracy, Almajiranci e.t.c) and say well he is not attending to these problems that he simply does not want to attend to them or maybe he is not capable after all.

These would definitely influence people’s perception of the VP’s capabilities and his concern about their plight. This is exactly what I was trying to highlight earlier that the impression people have about their leaders is what counts, not what the leader really is. Yes he may not be empowered officially to tackle some of these challenges (e.g. for victims of insecurity) but that should not stop him from visiting these people just to show his concern and solidarity. Where he cannot visit immediately he can organize relief for the victims of such attacks (irrespective of government effort), send kind and soothing words to the affected which are the very poor people on the streets.

This is what I was trying to highlight when I mentioned Yobe and Kano. I do not remember hearing anything about his visit to Yobe, Kano Maiduguri or even Bauchi after those incidences of BH attacks to make the people feel his presence and his concern. I may be wrong but little things like this go a long way in reassuring people that their leader feels their pains. On the other problems, If the VP were to Initiate and lead a powerful Northern leaders response to tackle, say, the very persistent issue of almajiranci with a view to finding a lasting solution to the almajiri problem I can assure you he would have silenced those politicians who for whatever motives now want to castigate him as inept. Things like this I believe he can do without restrictions from the president.

2. We all want the VP to succeed like you have rightly pointed out as his failure would be tantamount to ours and this is why issues like this need to be raised from time to time so that his handlers can become aware of areas they need to improve upon.

3. The clock seems to tick twice as fast as it used to and we are being left behind, time is fast running out on us, our leaders need to be on the same track with us, understand our problems and be willing to tackle them head-on. They must realize that what we need now more than ever is a selfless, purposeful and responsive leadership that will call us all to act towards pulling ourselves out of these doldrums that we find ourselves today and I believe that our trusted public commentators will play a great role in creating this awareness.”