opinionBy Emmanuel Onwubiko
Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the Speaker, House of Representatives and his deputy Mr. Emeka Ihedioha are two names that will surely enjoy generous mention when the elaborate history of the current democratic dispensation would be written.
They would be mentioned not because they hold some of the highest political offices in the nation but for a different but salient reason entirely. Put simply, the duo are democratic rebels who rode on the popular will of the majority against the formidable odds erected by the tiny partisan clique to emerge as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives.
They rode on the popular acclaim of the majority through a bipartsan measure unprecedented in the political annals of Nigeria to jettison and defeat the nocturnal partisan configuration and sharing of political offices erected by the tiny clique that controls the national machinery of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) - the political party in power at the national level.
Tambuwal, the young but eminently respected legal luminary from Sokoto State born January 10 1966, has so far proven his leadership qualities. A year and half ago, when he emerged as Speaker, he demonstrated to Nigerians that he is one political leader who came with prepared objectives on how best to truly transform Nigeria from a nation riddled with mass poverty, unemployment and insecurity to that of a polity whereby the human rights of all citizens are promoted, protected and ensured through qualitative legislative activities and other pro-democracy advocacy activities.
Tambuwal's first action as Speaker truly and graphically revealed a democratic rebel who in the words of the great philosopher Mr. Albert Camus, has decided to say 'no' to the business-as-usual tendency of politics but to lead by the power of personal example and patriotism.
In his widely acclaimed book 'The Rebel", Albert Camus asked the basic philosophical question of who is indeed a rebel and responded thus; "A man who says no; whose refusal does not imply a renunciation. A rebel is also a man (woman) who says yes as soon as he (she) begins to think for himself (herself)".
Tambuwal, realizing the enormity of the expectations of Nigerians from such high profile political office holder, had set out a workable agenda on the best ways to legislate for public good. In the legislative blueprint widely published by Speaker Tambuwal's leadership, Nigerians were told in black and white that the views of the ordinary people would no longer be sidelined by the National Assembly since the people are the real owners of the sovereignty from where public office holders derive legitimacy and authority.
His words; "The Seventh Session of the House of Representatives (2011-2015) is committed to honouring the faith and trust reposed in it by the Nigerian people and we are determined to chart a new course of legislative business for the benefit of our people". He assured the citizenry that over the next four years, the House will pursue an aggressive legislative agenda to reposition itself as a key branch of government able and determined to deliver on the key elements of governance.
If question is to be asked if the Speaker has kept to his own side of the bargain to the Nigerian people, the popular acclaim of the majority of Nigerians is that so far so good and the opinion of the majority of Nigerians is that the social contract between the Federal House of Representatives and the Nigerian people is a work in steady progress.
Before millions of Nigerians came out on the streets of major cities and towns to protest the increment in the pump price of petroleum products in January 2012 by the federal government, the Speaker did the unthinkable which till today sets his leadership apart from all others.
The House of representatives for the first time in over 50 years of Nigeria's existence sat on a Sunday to intervene on the side of the masses, urging the federal government to reverse the ill -informed decision to hike the pump price of petroleum products.
The House stood on the side of truth which tremendously put political pressure on the powers-that- be to reverse the evil policy of extreme hike in the purchasing price of petroleum products which had already generated large scale poverty and excruciating cost of living for millions of Nigerians.
Speaker Tambuwal by his action of convening the House to support the opinion of ordinary Nigerians, indeed demonstrated that politics is all about public good and doing everything to reduce the rate of poverty which in any case has skyrocketed even by the estimation given by a former vice president of the World Bank Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili who stated that the figures of the poor in Nigeria grew from 17.1 million in 1980, 34.5 million in 1985, 39.2 million in 1992, 67.1 million in 1996, to 68.7 million in 2004 and 112.47 million in 2010.
Lastly, Tambuwal should open up channels for constant engagement with the leadership of the credible civil society groups so to consistently get qualitative feed-back information on the yearnings, aspirations and dreams of the Nigerian people. Recently at a national dialogue session by the Trust Group of Newspapers, Tambuwal admitted that politicians abandon the electorate soon after elections. This is a statement of fact from a man who is actually serving the interest of Nigerians.