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Tambuwal’s loans and the rest of us

For the five years that Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has been Governor of Sokoto State there have been vociferous misgivings about his leadership style. This growing disenchantment, especially on the part of Sokoto State electorate stemmed from the near-total lack of tangible development projects.

Close observers of Tambuwal’s governance style are united in the belief that the prospects of democratic gains in the state are quite dim. And here lies the Archilles heels that the government in Sokoto is currently struggling with.

The 2015 public perception of the power politics in the State is fast giving way to increased sense of disappointment. The governor, on the other hand, assumes that the people of the State are merely grappling with over-bloated expectations. This argument has, however, been shot down by keen watchers of his administration, who have severally rated his performance vis-a-vis the huge, unprecedented federal allocation to the State, internally-generated revenue and ancillary sources of funds for the State. Many of these keen observers are still asking the daunting question: where is Sokoto’s money going in the last five years? Tambuwal and his political foot soldiers cannot even hazard a guess, as a response to this daunting question. The reason for this is simple: There is no readily – available answer. Truth is, this question will continue reverberate across the political spectrum always and especially when it is time to elect new leaders.

As if to add insult to injury, Tambuwal has willy-nilly turned Sokoto into one of the biggest borrowers of unaccountable loans in this country. The widespread poverty, unemployment and poor healthcare services have combined to make the situation of Sokoto heartbreaking. Let us do a bit of Arithmetic on these controversial loans.

Apart from the N10 billion bailout from the Federal Government in 2015, Tambuwal has, on behalf of Sokoto state collected over N150 billion loan from various financial institutions and still counting. Gradually, the loans are building up and only the state government knows the exact figure, which will definitely be frightening to hear.

At the heart of this vogue of taking sundry loans in Sokoto State by the powers-that-be is the question: what exactly they intend to do with these loans, since the dividends of democracy are oscillating between smokescreen and uncertain future? While we frantically search for answers, it is difficult – if not impossible – to dismiss the political undercurrent of these loans. It is an open secret that Tambuwal is enamoured of the idea of becoming a President for Nigeria in 2023.

To become a President in today’s Nigeria, you need, among other things, good money to shoulder your logistic needs. There are your most – trusted lieutenants who would readily provide the totality of the budget for campaigns and elections. In the case of Sokoto, I won’t be surprised if the man has already received a tentative campaign, primary and secondary elections blueprint and following the plan accordingly. This is the most convincing reason for Tambuwal’s recent desperation for loans. The issue of cash to back his every move is as  crucial as the take-off of the plan itself. He is perhaps getting set to give his potential rivals a run for their money in 2023.

The struggle for absolute power is tied to the gospel of absolute materialism. Money gives power, power sustains money. They are like Siamese twins and Tambuwal, more than anyone understands this. Like the famous and late hip-hop American Musician – Tupac would say, “money rules the world” and Tambuwal cannot forget when he and his friends jumped over the National Assembly fence, like primary school kids, for the sake of power and money. He has no scruples about whatever could crop up, provided it would not tinker with his cherished dream of being called the President of Nigeria in three years time. Though some may see it as pipe dream, given the loss of appeal of Tambuwal in the nation’s political firmament, the man has since murdered sleep over this unbridled ambition.

It is now left to be seen whether the desperation for power can be equated to guaranteed victory. It is also left to be seen if a leader could look the other way on the suffering of his people, just in order to feather his political nest of wild presidential ambition. History, they say is the greatest teacher and the past, present and future are intertwined in cyclical dance. Only when the music finally stops will you know you have been chasing shadows and living in denial. Karma has a way of having its way and it does so with even greater ferocity.

 

Mansur Ibrahim Rigasa wrote from Rigasa, Kaduna.

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