Namadi Sambo: A Leader And His Ordeal At 63
BY Ariyo-Dare Atoye
The political terrain of every nation comes with its own diverse challenges: and these challenges are capable of making or marring anyone. So, it is not out of place that only a few men and women of courage dare to tread this wobbling pathway. The interesting thing, however, about life is that, in totality, it is full of challenges and adventures for everyone, either in politics or in private enterprise.
Novelist, Richelle Goodrich said: “No one is without troubles, without personal hardships and genuine challenges. That fact may not be obvious because most people don’t advertise their woes and heartaches. But nobody, not even the purest heart, escapes life without suffering battle scars.” But what keeps great people going is the ability to see challenges as surmountable obstacles.
Silently and relatively unpronounced, Namadi Sambo is one of the most vilified personalities in Nigeria today, notwithstanding his status as a former vice president. He has been a man of a quiet mien; even as governor of Kaduna State (2007 to 2011). He is taciturn, not giving to self glorification; and, when he chooses to participate in public engagements, he abhors flippant innuendos and playing to the gallery. Apparently, his profession as an accomplished architect has also made him to place high premium on constructing his actions than verbally demonstrating them.
Until the curious, desperate and fifth invasion of his Kaduna residence by a combined team of anti-graft and other security agencies, Sambo had obviously kept his cool and prevailed on his aides and subjects from joining issues with them in the media. As a matter of fact, many Nigerians were unaware that there was an unwarranted siege laid to his properties. It was a sort of persecution embedded in a conspiratorial partitioned-search of his properties between the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) that was carrying out a constant encirclement of his Kaduna guest house and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which invaded his Abuja office, and carted away money and documents.
However, the last bursting of his Kaduna property had obviously made him to strongly suspect that a sinister plot could be unfolding. They had been on his trail for some undisclosed reasons. This disturbing trend consequently made his media aide, Umar Sani to issue a statement raising the alarm that: “The recent desperation exhibited by some security agencies in carrying out a raid on an unoccupied residence blocking all entry and exit points, in a commando-style and coming along with a bullion van speaks volume of the clandestine intention of the security operatives.
“It is therefore worrisome to note that the consistency with which the searches occurred and the intervals between them portray a desire of a fault-finding mission. We are apprehensive that a repeat of such episode will not be surprising if an incriminating object is planted in his residence in order to willfully and deliberately incriminate him.” Such suspicion is in order in a season where monies have been become ghost wanderers.
But being a democrat per excellence, he has been very meticulous in his disposition to the fact that no man should be above the law or bigger than any investigation in Nigeria, especially if such is conducted within the ambit of the law. Regardless of the intrusive desperation of the anti-graft agencies doing these illogical raids, he has however continued to maintain a decent posture as an elder-statesman– an encouraging indication that there should be no obstruction to lawful investigation of his past as a political office holder.
Read this:“At the end of the whole exercise, the officers, who carried out the search were satisfied that nothing incriminating was found. As a law-abiding citizen, the former Vice-President did not raise any alarm in the previous invasions in view of the fact that he has nothing to hide,” said his spokesperson. Unfortunately such raids are usually misconstrued by the public while the anti-graft agencies may never apologise. Many Nigerians have been unable to grapple with his ordeal, nay political oppression.
I have observed with keen interest that while he had been largely unperturbed by these indiscriminate ransacking of his properties in Kaduna and Abuja, he has also prevented his loyalists from staging a demonstration of any kind as is the norm in our political setting, to draw national and wider attention to his plight. He has not even commissioned a media attack or done some damage control.
I think he is a rare politician who has taken things very easy and not given to sensationalism. There is a lot to learn from his statesmanlike and easy-going lifestyle, which unarguably endeared him to former President Goodluck Jonathan and earned him a prime selection as vice president, when the demise of former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua changed the power equation of the then government.
Maybe, the former vice president could have more reasons in a Donald Trump to take everything in his strides. As a matter of fact, and arguably so, the most investigated and media-traumatised global political leader today, is also the most powerful man on earth and he is a sitting American President. While it remains to be seen if the fifth invasion of Sambo’s properties would be the last, it is however pertinent to advice the anti-graft agencies to drop this medieval and crude approach to investigation and learn from the clinical and meticulous scrutiny of some high profile Nigerians, carried out by the US Department of Justice.
As former Vice-President Sambo clocks 63 today, there should be hardly any political obstacle too big, to overwhelm him. According to Martin Luther King, Jr: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” While there may be a genuine need for him as a respected leader to communicate more to us, the younger ones, there is however no doubt that he has demonstrated intelligence in leadership, and there is much more to learn from his noiseless approach to politics. He is a leader of repute who deserves to be celebrated on a day as this.
He is not a man that could be ignored in the scheme of things either at the state level or national. Recently, he was the guest of the Kaduna State government at the commissioning of Zaria water project, which Sambo himself initiated as a sitting governor.
He was also at the Presidential villa to converse with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, apparently to share views. VP Sambo may have his shortcomings and imperfections, but we must come to terms with the axiom that “the gentility of a lion is not a symbol of cowardice.” There is time for everything – a period of ordeals and a period to rejoice. This is a day to celebrate you. Happy Birthday, Sir!
– Atoye contributed this piece from Abuja