VP Namadi Sambo and Politics in the North (II)
Ibraheem A. Waziri
Oronto Natei Douglas is a human rights attorney with an exceptional record of selfless service, consistency in ideology and love for quality intellectual engagement. He is the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Research & Documentation. In some quarters he is dubbed the chief strategist of the President in matters of governance and politics. Recent newspaper reports associate him with leading a project that submitted a comprehensive assessment of VP Sambo as unpopular in the North and incapable of generating required support for Mr. President, come 2015.
This conclusion informs reflection about issues in politics and statesmanship that facilitate electoral fortune within known sievers in modern thought. The question asked is whether success or lack of it in context is truly as a result of individuals’ qualifications or rather overriding circumstances. This is between, say, the 18th Century Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle and 19th Century English’s Herbert Spencer respectively. A middle course is the 20th century Arab thinker, Majid Khadduri who concluded that for statesmen to succeed effectively they need most the favour of circumstance as much as qualification. Those who align with Tom Carlyle will easily agree with the outcome of the said project. Those who see more from Herbert Spencer’s will prefer to distance VP Sambo from these claims and blame all his seeming shortcomings or that of the President on the present circumstances. After all Mr. President himself secured the seat because of an earlier overriding circumstance in the Niger Delta region that led to the pressing need to appease the people and hence he was available amidst many other qualified (relative though) individuals as the rest is now history.
Those strategising for Mr. President should know that his future success in the North and Nigeria will largely depend on the kind of circumstances he is able to create with the abundant resources at his disposal. They must inform him that the security challenge and the way it is being handled are good pointers to the course of national politics.
Although conspiracy theorists think from the way the issues of the amnesty and JTF’s highhandedness are being politicised, the security challenge is another strategy to keep the North control in favour of Mr. President. If these theorists are right then for the strategist is another excellent book, William Polk’s, “Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism, and Guerrilla War, from the American Revolution to Iraq”(2008). Some may argue that the work is central to rebellion against foreign occupation, but the force of its lessons stand gross.Insurgencies against established state’s power, if not genuinely contained, eventually win no matter their seeming weakness. The former IG had to vacate his seat as much as the former NSA Andrew Azazi before his eventual death. The circumstance is seen as directly aiming at the President as the next casualty.
On the other part, upon my premise last week, many have waited for the details ofVP Sambo’s achievements that put him at par or even better than those from the North struggling to take up his seat. While I will want to remind my precious readers that my task are always premised upon contexts – another context certainly will make me appear critical of him – I will state what I can readily remember that in terms of effective stewardship, Kaduna State has not had a bolder and most visionary leader in the recent past if we take to mind that vision and work are not confined to road construction or rural electrification. His three years in office as a governor saw an administration that tried to create a circumstance where a general framework upon which all future infrastructural problems of the state will be permanently addressed save for only what subsequent administrations will maintain. He initiated the construction of 150 million litres per day water plant in Anchau that was intended to solve the pipe borne water problems of the entire senatorial zone one and parts of zone two composed of about ten local governments. He complimented that effort by bringing federal government project of the construction of Galma Dam that will boost the plant, generate about two megawatt hydropower for the service of the plant and environs.
The dam will also boost irrigation and business activities in the local governments. He 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.
One other virtue of Sambo remains his down to earth nature. Till this moment those he regards as his benefactors are people he sits on a floor before and as long as they sit on a chair. He is typical of a Northern Nigerian gentleman. He is patient enough to trust others and mentor to greater height as evident in the current Kaduna State governor. These are virtues we should do well to envy as President Goodluck Jonathan stands most to benefit for Al Mutannabi was right to have said: “In karimtal karima malaktahu, wa in karimtal na’ima tammarradah”, meaning, ‘you only control the noble hearted by being generous to him, but if you are generous to the evil hearted, he will revolt”.