Imagining Taraba State House of Assembly without Hon. Albasu
By Williams Ayooso
On the 20th March this year, the Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Hon. Joseph Albasu Kunini, was politely waylaid by some members of his domestic staff into a venue of a birthday ceremony. The day marked Hon Kunini’s birthday; and for those staff, nothing can be better considered than a surprised birthday bash for their boss. And when Hon Kunini stepped into the arena, excitement, fun and surprises took the centre stage. A golden fish, it is said, has no hiding place; one by one people came, mostly the Speakers political associates and it was a full house.
Aside from wining and dining and the ceremonial cutting of the birthday cake, no other agenda was on the table. But the organisers succumbed to pressure from the visitors to create time for goodwill messages and the messages came in torrents. Like the description by some wise blind men of an elephant, every message came with a different perception of the celebrant. Those who felt the law maker from the side of humility attested that, never before, did they meet such a political office holder of his status with such level of humility. For some, Hon Kunini is a political reformer and a colossus of political and leadership excellence in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. Yet, others attested to the content of his intellectualism; describing him as a great researcher and a doyen of academic excellence. The content of his entrepreneurship was also x-rayed, where some said he is an astute business mogul, whose investments across the country has generated employment for many people. A good number of people spoke enthusiastically on his philanthropist gesture, peace building and drive for community development.
To substantiate their testimonies, instances of the Speaker, going to the Taraba State University regularly, mixing up with students freely and taking up some classes for lectures, were brought up as living examples. And to prove that they are not praise singing, some people testified how they personally benefitted from the Speakers’ philanthropists gestures. A Professor, who was also a guest at the event described Hon. Joseph Albasu Kunini as the most intellectually vibrant House of Assembly Speaker in the entire Nigeria.
Before the event, which witnessed torrents of encomiums, Hon Albasu was already honoured by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The Award was for his humanitarian services and commitment to the wellbeing of refugees and other persons displaced in the Northeast. Before this honour, the Kunini youths, under the auspices of Kunini Youth Foundation, draped the Speaker with an award of Leadership Excellence.
The good news is that Hon Albasu is deploying those values for the common good of the state, using his present position as a catalyst.
Not long ago, Taraba State was on the precipice of a political crisis arising from the prolonged absence of the Executive Governor, His Excellency Architect Darius Ishaku. They were latent and patent divides along political and sectional bends. But the pressure was more on the Taraba State House of Assembly to activate its legislative and oversight powers to resolve the political imbroglio that hovered on the state’s political landscape. The opposition flank of the state expressly called for the impeachment of the Governor among other measures. But the Speaker invoked his political dexterity and leadership ingenuity to resolve what would have plunged the state into another political crisis. This left the good people of Taraba state imagining the political crisis that would have affect the state, if the Speaker had not applied caution and acted the way he did.
In his capacity as Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Joseph Albasu Kunini, has propounded a leadership theory that is prone to social justice and development. During his inaugural speech, the Speaker harped on a watered down version of the doctrine of separation of powers. Explicating his perceived version of the theory, the Speaker, in an exclusive interview, sometimes in March, told our reporter that the theory of Separation of Power will only be meaningful when the citizens are benefiting from the government; and since one cannot confront the government and get the best result, water tight separation of powers is not the solution.
“You can bear me witness that even the world powers these days are not talking about world war. They talk about cold war and they are taking about diplomacy, which means table discussion, which means even those super powers that have built military arsenals for them to kill human beings have decided that we should keep them aside and lets come and talk on round table, talk more of a democratic institution where people are been voted to come and serve.
“Therefore we cannot confront each other; instead we will have to look at the areas of common interest where when we explore, we will give our people the dividends of democracy.” He stated.
This principle, as perceived and explicated by the Speaker, has created a template for political stability which is the catalyst for development.
The Speaker have also succeeded in holding the Taraba State House of Assembly as one House, contrary to the permutations of the people that the house will be divided based on the circumstances that weaved around his emergence. This also did not come by happenstance. His creative thought process, as well as his inbuilt leadership charisma is the source of this noble and stable situation.
“As parliamentarians we have common rituals and the ritual is that, we are all one. For one to emerge as a speaker is nothing but just first among equals. Nobody has written an exam that he passed and it made him the speaker. Therefore, it is our duty to live as one…”
He told our reporter.
The Speaker is the lover of academics, and he doesn’t hide it.
“I took up the challenge to go to the House of Assembly and that’s why I contested elections and my people supported me to be here. However, my immediate constituency is the academic environment believing that politics can come and go but my certificate will remain with me. My immediate environment is the Taraba State University. After my PhD from the University of Leeds United Kingdom, where I earned my Masters Degree first and foremost, I felt that the highest career every academician can attain is to be a Professor and there’s no way you can be a Professor if you are not in the academia. Therefore, I decided to stay put in the academic environment so that I’ll be able to earn my assessments.” He said.
With a Speaker in the Taraba State House of Assembly, in the mould of Hon Joseph Albasu Kunini PhD, a stage is set for reforms and innovations that will guarantee peace and development, which is the hallmark of every responsive government.