SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, has been preaching this message for a while – service to the people should be above partisan leanings. He has won few converts in his class.
The emphasis on party loyalty over service to the people who elected them is at the centre of the growing contests among the peoples of Nigeria and their representatives. Politicians think they are divined to be over Nigerians. They consider Nigerians irritants to be reluctantly faced during elections.
In the House of Representatives, there have been glimpses of possibilities of using politics to serve our peoples who have suffered neglects over the years. Politicians see politics as the veritable platform to place themselves above the people.
Our servant-leaders serve themselves; they disregard the dictates of democratic governments. The hang over of military governments remains.
Tambuwal at the birthday celebration of Edo State Deputy Governor, Dr Pius Odubu, said that concerns for the people were central to decisions of the House of Representatives. Tambuwal appears at events of opposition politicians.
On June 1, Tambuwal incurred new anger in his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, when he praised Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola during the launching of the IT-based educational aid for secondary school pupils. PDP thought he had no business eulogising the performance of an opposition party member.
His response then was that he was Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria, and not just PDP.
Party politics for all its importance to growth of democracy, has been a growing challenge, essentially as party officials hold self-serving positions on issues. The parties are less democratic than some authoritarian regimes. Nigerians’ interests are distant considerations for most of them.
“What concerns us as a House is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The moment you are elected a member, you are expected to serve and represent that particular constituency irrespective of which platform of the party you have contested the election and won.
Whatever we do in the House, we consider the federation of Nigeria as a basis of our decision,” Tambuwal told the gathering which personalities across political party lines attended.
Tambuwal’s antecedents make him a supporter of broader platforms for attaining national objectives. In June 2011, drawing from alliances in the House, he upturned PDP’s decision on the House.
The singular act has made him an anti-party man. He is often seen in the company of more politicians from other parties, and his absence at major party events casts him in opposition garbs.
It is convenient to see the messenger as a drowning politician seeking relevance. The point remains that service to the people is the essence of governance, our Constitution says so.