Born on 10 Jan 1966, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal’s parents had a premonition that their son was destined to be a leader and counsellor to great men, so they named him Aminu meaning the trustworthy and dependable. That premonition has been the lot of RT Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR, incumbent Governor of Sokoto State and former Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Long before his birth, his family had maintained a strong voice in the palace of leaders, main reason they hold the title of “ Waziri” meaning Prime Minister or counsellors of great leaders. Trained as a lawyer at Usman Danfodio University Sokoto, this urbane and avid believer in the integrity of hard work and merit in public service, has lived a life of selflessness and sacrifice for the good of the greater society.
Aminu Waziri Tambuwal or AWT as he is fondly called by friends and associates is a highly detribalised Nigerian. He does not discriminate on the grounds of tribe, religion or geography. As Speaker of the House of Representatives this was very evident in his selection of his immediate aides and staff from all religions, cultures, ethnic groups and regions in the country.
As a young man, Tambuwal imbibed early the importance of knowledge and learning. It all began at the Tambuwal Primary School, Tambuwal, Sokoto State, where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1979. From there he proceeded to Government Teachers’ College, Dogon-Daji, Sokoto State, where he obtained a Teachers Grade 11 Certificate in 1984.
It was during a short stint as a teacher that Tambuwal caught the bug of the pervading ideology at that time, for an egalitarian society where the rule of law and education for all are critical elements. But he knew, albeit rightly, that if he was to play a significant role in its enthronement, he needed to be a lawyer. So he applied to read law at Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, and was admitted.
He graduated with an LLB (Hons) degree in 1991 and was called to the Nigerian Bar after completing his legal studies at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, a year later where he obtained his Barrister at Law, BL. To further the frontiers of his learning, Tambuwal also attended several specialist courses abroad which has helped shape and prepare him for the rigours and expectations of top public office. Some of the courses include Leadership in parliamentary oversight, University of Cambridge, Judge Business School, UK, May 2014; Managing Teams for Innovation and Success, Stanford University, San Fransisco, USA, June 2013; Strategic Leadership, University of Oxford, UK, May 2012. Other specialist training AWT availed himself of include; Telecoms Regulatory Master Class–Bath UK, 2004; Law making for the Communications Sectors –BMIT, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2004; Regulating a Competitive Industry-UK, Brussels, 2005; Tulane University – International Legislative Drafting, 2005; Stanford Graduate School of Business – Influence and Negotiation, 2008 and KSG Harvard – Infrastructure in Market Economy.
On graduation, Tambuwal emptied himself into private law practice. On the side, he was also a very active member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Sokoto State. It was not long before his leadership qualities were noticed and requested for by his colleagues.
He was by popular acclaim elected at several times to elective positions in the NBA in the State and at the national level. First it was as Public Relations Officer between 1996 and 1997. Sokoto State Branch Secretary (1997–1998), Member of the Constitution Review Committee of the NBA (1997–1998). Assistant National Financial Secretary (1998–2000) and from 2000 and 2002, he was Assistant National Secretary NBA.
Tambuwal also served and represented the NBA in several non – elective positions. He is a Life Member of the Body of Benchers, Nigeria; Member International Bar Association, and Member American Bar Association among others.
Tambuwal believes in a strong and independent Legislature. He favours a robust Legislature in a presidential system of government. He also believes in cooperation between the Legislature and the Executive to deliver good governance to the people. It was these beliefs that led to his decision to present himself for service as a member of the House of Representatives and was elected to represent Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal constituency of Sokoto State in 2003 on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP.
By 2004, he became the Minority Leader of the House, from which position he rallied and mobilised his colleagues into the strongest opposition movement the House of Representatives ever witnessed.
His rare leadership qualities were acknowledged by his colleagues as equal to none.
By this time the political situation in Sokoto State had changed dramatically. After wide range consultations with his constituents Tambuwal agreed to re-contest for the Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. He won.
Now no longer in the opposition in the House, Tambuwal was easily elected the Deputy Chief Whip of the House, which was the only Principal Officer position zoned to the North West at that time, allowing him to bring his vast legislative experience and leadership to bear on the management of the larger segment of the House.
In 2011, when Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal again stood for and won election to the House of Representatives, he had become one of the most experienced and ranking members of House. By then, Tambuwal’s integrity, knowledge of the rules and procedure of the House had made him an asset to his colleagues and the legislative activities of the House.
It was therefore not surprising that when the time came to elect a Speaker for the House, Tambuwal was the preferred candidate of his colleagues. His nationalistic vision, his leadership by consensus, and his popularity with people across party, religion and ethnic lines, had earned him their trust to lead the 7th House of Representatives as Speaker.
Undeterred by the rancour of the campaign that characterised his election as Speaker and the sometimes man made pits that were sponsored and dug by the leadership of his own party, Tambuwal went on to supervise a very successful House of Representatives, devoid of the controversies, corruption and jostling for power.
Tambuwal is a man of many parts who has been able to distinguish himself in all of them. Some of his other achievements include:
- Leader of the Nigerian Delegation to African, Caribbean, Pacific and European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly
- Leader of the Federal Government team to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding the controversial denial of visas to Nigerian female pilgrims
- Member, International Bar Association, Member, Nigerian bar Association
- Member, National Executive Committee Nigerian Bar Association
- Alumnus, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard, USA
- Alumnus, Oxford University
- Stanford Graduate School of Business, USA
- Alumnus, Tulane University, USA
- Alumnus, Usman Danfodio University Sokoto
- Alumnus, Nigerian Law School
- Regional Representative Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
- Variously State Organising Secretary and Legal Adviser of Political Parties
- Distinguished member of the highest professional decision making body of the Nigerian Legal Profession-The Body of Benchers
Tambuwal’s political and public life has been a harvest of awards of excellence and recognition. Even in Sokoto state where he has been governor for just three years, he has been recognised with the UNESCO 2018 Education Solution Stakeholders Award for his pursuits and service to the people in the field of education. While presenting the award at the United Nations headquarters Millennium hotel in New York, USA, Chairman of the award committee Dr Hul Hsu said the award is in recognition “of his selfless contribution to quality education in his state.”
The long list of other awards in his closet now include the following: Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR); Abdullahi Gwandu Leadership Award by Gwandu Emirate Council, Kebbi State; Leadership Newspaper’s Politician of the Year 2011; Sun Newspaper’s Man of the Year 2012; Best Performing Governor in Education in Nigeria by BUSINESS DAY and THE AUTHORITY Newspapers (2017); Honorary Doctorate Degree in Law from his alumnus, Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, December 2012; Honorary Doctorate Degree by the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu, 2013; Sokoto State Government Merit Award, 2012; Prise La Foundation 2013 by Crans Montana Forum on Africa and South-South Cooperation, Brussels, 2012; Zik Leadership Award in Public Service, among others.
In addition, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal holds important traditional titles from various Kingdoms, Chiefdoms and Emirates in Nigeria. Among such include, Osagie of Opoji Kingdom in Edo State, Obong Ufan of Akwa Ibom, Udonyi Oro of Oron nation also in Akwa Ibom, Bubagunwa of Ekiti in Ekiti State and Maidawakin Gashaka in Taraba State, Ikeoha Aba Ngwa by Ukwa/Ngwa Traditional Rulers Council, Abia state and Aridunnu of Ijero Kingdom in Ijero Ekiti. On Saturday, September 27, 2014, he was turbaned the Mutawalle of Sokoto Caliphate by Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III.
Many years after, reminiscing on his life and achievements in public service, his colleague in the House of Representatives then and now the Majority Leader of the House, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos) describes Tambuwal’s leadership as “exemplary and unparalleled” adding “he (Tambuwal) has an uncanny ability to be at 100 places at the same time. He is a bridge builder per excellence.”
Aminu Waziri Tambuwal Biography and Profile (Aminu Waziri Tambuwal)